America’s Non-Sense Self Defense

19 May

Sarah Khan

John Wooden’s saying “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes” seems relevant to current US blame game especially against Pakistan. Whenever US policies have failed to produce desired results, it has always used the shoulder of a weaker ally to put the burden of failure of its flawed policies. This time again, as failure in Afghanistan with tremendous rise in violence and unrest haunts outgoing US/NATO forces, a leading daily in US media’s editorial board has tried to put all blame on Pakistan for sheer failure of US and its policies in Afghanistan. In 12 May edition, The New York Times, published another anti-Pakistan editorial titled, “Time to Put Squeeze on Pakistan”, alleging that “Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence services have for years given support to the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network”. It added that “Pakistan’s double game has long frustrated American officials”. Publishing anti-Pakistan rhetoric at whims of strong Indian lobby in America has now become a sustained campaign in US media to tarnish Pakistan’s international image. The above mentioned newspaper is the leading paper in US indulged in propagating anti-Pakistan narrative. In the said editorial, the writer has tried to put all blame on Pakistan for their failures in Afghanistan. Another op-ed published in February in the same newspaper i.e. The New York Times by Carlotta Gall titled, “Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad” alleged that Pakistan’s ISI has played a role in creation of ISIS.
US war in Afghanistan never achieved desired results, that is why US defense officials kept on changing their strategy in Afghanistan all the times. In 2010, President Obama announced tremendous surge in number of troops. In late May 2014, President Obama laid out a hasty timetable for withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Nearly all American troops were scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan by the time he left the White House at the end of 2016. Fewer than 1,000 US service members would remain in the country to staff a security liaison office in Kabul. There were 140,000 US/NATO forces in Afghanistan. Massive withdrawal took place in December 2014, with only 9,800 troops in war torn Afghanistan. After Afghan elections, President Ashraf Ghani was not able to bring stability in the country as Afghan forces trained by India were not able to ensure security in the country.
Last year saw the highest number of casualties and violence perpetrated by Taliban in Afghanistan, after massive withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in December 2014. Many policymakers in US administration had cautioned US administration well in advance that massive withdrawal from Afghanistan will only aggravate the turmoil in the country. Lisa Curtis in one of her opinion said that “after withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and surprise success of the Islamic State, which has put the future of Iraq in jeopardy, has prompted concern among US policymakers that, as US and coalition forces depart, Afghan forces could face a similar threat from the Taliban”. Similarly James Dobbins said, “But having invaded Iraq, having created a mess, having created the conditions that led to regional imbalance and increased radicalization, it was a mistake to have just walked away from it. Wars aren’t over because you say they’re over. ”
Pakistan has consistently cooperated with the US and coalition forces in sharing intelligence and decimating the terror outfits operating from the region. Since 2009, Pakistani forces have been engaged in incremental operations to clear the Pakistani soil from all the terrorist networks concentrated in this area because of the competing interests and mutual rivalries of the big powers. Pakistan is playing an instrumental role in Afghan reconciliation process. Various US officials have often recognized Pakistan’s positive role. A senior US general Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner, Deputy Chief of Staff for communication, Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan has praised efforts by Pakistan to put pressure on terrorists operating in the country and for the country’s support to push Taliban to join the peace process. “We have been pleased with Pakistan’s efforts in two ways: one, their pressure against the Taliban in Pakistan. And then also their agreement to put pressure on the Taliban to join the peace process”.
Foregoing in view, it may be concluded that Afghanistan and Iraq are sheer failures of US policies in these countries. US military engagements have only resulted in more chaos and turmoil. Presidents Bush and Obama have sent military power anywhere and everywhere, regardless of national boundaries and the resulting immense civilian casualties, in those tragic, blown-apart countries. The American people are entitled to know how all this military might and the trillions of dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, since 2003 and 2001 respectively, can produce such negative fallouts. Hence, instead of scapegoating weaker allies, US should concentrate on improving its flawed strategies and emphasizing on use of non-kinetics to achieve peace and stability in the devastated regions.
The writer can be reached at


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