Welcome to PaulFranklin.ca
The official website of Paul Franklin: a father, veteran, activist, motivational speaker, and proud Canadian.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Moral Argument for the War in Afghanistan: Then and Now

The crux of the argument is that there is a moral argument for an invasion and occupation in Afghanistan.  The blog piece I’m posting is well written and although it is bleak it also showcases that a commitment to the Afghan people is something the world community will have to accept.  

The Afghan people deserve no less.  
The Afghan people also deserve to not have bombs dropped on schools, on wedding convoys and the innocent.

The $100 laptop.... no power required... wi fi access... and the potential of  freedom for the Afghan people.   MIT is working on a computer that costs $12 and imagine the access and imagine the possibilities... we may not need to be in Afghan for 100 years maybe we need to continue to help the Afghans help themselves.
Is it possible that something as simple as facebook and twitter could keep a totalitarian regime from coming back?
The cost is small... the benifit could be a free Afghanistan.

We must ensure that the Afghan boots on the ground as well as the NATO troops act in the most moral and law abiding way.   Also by supporting information flow through social media we can support the ideals of a free and independent Taliban state.   My hope is that the corrupt regime of Karzai will not get a third term and the Taliban will not return.... we need to support the Afghans as we support the Egyptians and the Tunisians.

The Moral Argument for the War in Afghanistan: Then and Now
Saturday, August 7
"The moral argument for the invasion and War in Afghanistan used to be that of liberal interventionism—the claim that intervening in the domestic politics of a country is justified if it delivered the people of that country from the clutches of illiberality and coercive governance. Further the claim went that if offered a chance, the people of that country would choose a liberal and free society, motivated by humane capabilities and free market trade and through their collective politics would deliver mutual advantage stability and security to the U.S. and its international allies, which would play well politically back home.
Hence, liberal interventionism was morally justified through the aid it provided deprived people and also politically– strategically– justified the costs borne by the invading country, through a positive feedback cycle that would trigger so-called positive externalities.
That muscular argument has slowly morphed into a mutant variant of itself over the last 9 years. The contemporary crux of the liberal interventionist moral argument has come to turn on an inter-temporal argument: comparing the number of individuals likely killed by the Taliban in the future after the ISAF leaves to the number killed and maimed, now, as a deterministic fact, in the war itself. The more we kill now, and make room for a sociological toward some substantive variant of (local) democracy, the less likely it is that the Taliban will return to power and kill off all those who collaborated with the ISAF. Some stripe of this Maxi-min game now justifies the long-standing intervention in Afghanistan. How did we get here?
Consider President George W. Bush’s overly ornate prescription for freedom abroad, a concept painted in thick context-free universalistic brushstrokes, with no resemblance to a modest, culturally contingent value. It included a strong mix of western styled-democracy, human dignity and widespread economic growth triggered by self-sufficient free-markets. The immediate intervention in Afghanistan, and only in Afghanistan, was justified in terms that then seemed to sit well with the public: the idea for 9/11 was hatched by Al Qaeda strong-holds in Afghanistan, so it makes sense that we attack there. The moral argument for intervention then did all the work, and the strategic consequences paid the debt of the lives lost. This heady recipe for freedom by intervention is barely restrained in President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address:
Was GW Bush right?... a frightening thought.
“After 60 years of trying to find stability through regimes that were not devoted to political liberty for their people, what we found is that we did not buy security of stability but rather frustration and pent-up emotions in a region that has fallen behind in terms of prosperity and in fact continues to produce ideologies of hatred.”   Condoleezza Rice
“America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere. No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture — but America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law … limits on the power of the state … respect for women … private property … free speech … equal justice … and religious tolerance.”

“America will take the side of brave men and women who advocate these values around the world — including the Islamic world — because we have a greater objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror.”
Social Media helped overthrow a dictator and its entirely possible that the same social media will ensure Afghan freedoms.... it also does't cost lives
Compare President Bush’s mighty rhetoric to President Obama’s placid discussion of Afghanistan during his first—and so far, only– State of the Union address:
“In Afghanistan, we are increasing our troops and training Afghan Security Forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. We will reward good governance, reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans – men and women alike. We are joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitment, and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead. But I am confident we will succeed.”
His words are empirical, action-oriented; none of the high-flying rhetoric: “reward good governance” and “reduce corruption”. President Obama’s proclaimed ambitions are reasonably aimed at adding to a measured and  commendable outcome already present in the field. Nine years in that field and billions of dollars spent reviving Afghan spirits have yielded furtive glances at a cooperative, un-coerced alliance. Otherwise, on its daily track, the structure of the U.S. alliance in the region is thoroughly non-cooperative, a prisoner’s dilemma where everyone chooses the suckers pay-off.
For nearly nine years out from the 2002 invasion it is now demonstrably the case that in village after village, police-station through garrison, in much of Afghanistan the Taliban are already back in power though, through their clients, in the garb of de facto puppet-master. Their model of clientelistic exchange through goods or bullet and shrapnel wounds seems a bona fide success. Apart from broad attempts at social development, the U.S. alliance is really defending Kabul’s writ in Kandahar, which so far, in all this time, is non-existent.
Consider that Kabul will fall some day. Unless the central government quickly becomes a credible protector of its people or manages to pay-off half the population of Afghanistan, in effect, after the ISAF combat ready troop deployment withdraws all those who hoped for more merciful days will perish under the Taliban. Consider that the trade-off the U.S. and NATO alliance face is to minimize damage in the future by trying to diminish the Taliban now. Trade off the number killed today versus the likelihood of the larger number killed in 5 years. However one can only get to the future number after we make assumptions on the facts that are likely to hold and prior mechanisms that are likely to obtain those facts.
The moral argument for intervention that Afghans will claim as their inherited mantle liberalism and humanitarian doctrines of dignity no longer has a leg to stand on. Afghans are more likely to tend to their fallow fields and their dying cattle than they are likely to be concerned about mutual respect. Liberal democracy based on social mutual advantage is not likely to develop in so small measure of time in Afghanistan, when its history of intransigence stretches back a thousand years. Without this socialization toward substantive democracy that might sustain a democratic equilibrium, the Taliban’s encroachment is not likely to face any obstacles. The Taliban could take over farms and homelands covertly by distributing public goods, like safety at night and private goods like water and tilling seeds. Otherwise, they can come back in their marauding numbers, overt rulers of small villages and jirgas. Kill as many Taliban as possible today; issue as many sorrowful notes of condolences to young mothers, for sons, chalked off as collateral damage in some fire fight or aerial bombing.Through it all, weakened, famished farmers will die at the hands of a scabbed and vengeful Talib.
MQ-9 Reaper
CIA spends approximately $1 million per drone attack
Consider then that compared to ever larger numbers of civilians that are now being killed, the tens of thousands Afghans, through drone strikes will not hamper the Taliban’s ready stride into Southern Afghanistan and, perhaps, its Northern volleys for real estate. If this is the case, the moral argument for the intervention in Afghanistan, must by necessity, begin to slip away.
In sum, support for intervention in Afghanistan must slide as one takes seriously both the value of the lives of Afghans and the likelihood that in no uncertain terms the Taliban will return to power if only because their model of private goods delivery is more robust than that of the central government. And nothing we do– short of paying for Afghan infrastructure of the next 100 years–will change that."

No comments:

Post a Comment