Beware the peace that kills
November 18, 2001 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Beware the peace that kills A piece from the Guardian that does NOT have an anti-war sentiment.
posted by Oxydude (10 comments total)
"We had to fight this war - and we probably had to fight it in the way we did. And we certainly had to finish it quickly even if not prettily because it was beginning to widen in a way we could no longer control. The result, however, is that, though now we may be over the really dangerous bit, the really difficult bit is yet to come."

Wow. That's powerful stuff -- and exactly right, IMO. I'm grateful for well-reasoned arguments like this that urge us to commit ourselves to the long-term well-being of the countries we go into in a military capacity. I hope this turns into a chorus, and then our agenda (as I believe it to be already), and then a reality for Afghanistan.
posted by verdezza at 7:44 PM on November 18, 2001

Marshall plan! Marshall plan!
posted by Catch at 7:56 PM on November 18, 2001

The same old war horses, with the same old wonderful Denis Healey in the van, coming out of the same old shadows to shake their gory locks at us and say it would all end in disaster - just as they did in Bosnia and the Gulf War before.

Um... didn't the Gulf War sort of provoke the feelings that caused 9-11? We were pissing people off, and that led to disaster. Get ready for round two.

I'm not saying that anyone's anger at the US for having women in Saudi Arabia was/is justified, or anything... but you've gotta wonder when we're going to consider the possible results of our actions before taking them.
posted by SirNovember at 9:01 PM on November 18, 2001

I'll note that Paddy Ashdown a) is from Northern Ireland; b) served in the Special Boat Service; c) has spent a shitload of time working in the former Yugoslavia. And while I disagree about his contention that "we probably had to fight it in the way we did" I completely agree with him that "building peace after war requires as much effort, as much forethought, as much resource and as much political will as fighting the war itself." And I have to wonder whether the collective will is there, particularly from the US, which seems happy to work from the air and covertly, while letting the British and the French handle the problems of restoring infrastructure on the ground. Because once US troops are seen in a peacekeeping role, then it'll establish a precedent that the Bush administration seems very wary of following.
posted by holgate at 9:07 PM on November 18, 2001

My take on the extremely limited use of US ground forces thus far has been to ensure that the warriors, to the greatest extent possible, would be Afghans. I feel that we've conducted our bombing in a way to give them (the Northern Alliance) just the edge to do what they've been itching to do for a long time, largely on their own -- our emphasis being on their self-reliance. Anybody buying this?
posted by verdezza at 10:08 PM on November 18, 2001

Good in principle, but apparently less so in practice. Give a group of soldiers the taste of victory after long stalemate -- and remember, fighting has been a male vocation in Afghanistan since 1978 -- and they won't want to stop, let along surrender their spoils. And intoxicated by success, the United Front ground officers in Kabul seem quite prepared to threaten the safety of the advance British battallion securing the nearby airfield, because it challenges their authority. While I disagree strongly with Steven Den Beste on the conduct of the military operations, I suspect he's right in defining the Afghan ground forces as "warriors" mindful of their personal honour, and not professional "soldiers" with a task to perform. But this definition extends to those who conquered the Taliban as well, and it's that tiger that we're currently holding by the tail.
posted by holgate at 11:05 PM on November 18, 2001

The coalition's "fun" of dropping bombs is over; now comes the hard work: helping Afghanistan become a country, not just a collection of tribes.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:06 AM on November 19, 2001

... but wasn't that from the Observer?
posted by talos at 5:12 AM on November 19, 2001

Yes, but the Observer is owned by Guardian Newspapers and they share a website.
posted by Hogshead at 5:18 AM on November 19, 2001

Russia may have something to say about it.
posted by ferris at 8:02 AM on November 19, 2001

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