The Cycle of Violence in Afghanistan

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Last
week the National Bureau of Economic Research published a report
on the effect of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq that
confirmed what critics of our foreign policy have been saying for
years: the killing of civilians, although unintentional, angers
other civilians and prompts them to seek revenge. This should be
self-evident.

The Central
Intelligence Agency has long acknowledged and analyzed the concept
of blowback in our foreign policy. It still amazes me that so many
think that attacks against our soldiers occupying hostile foreign
lands are motivated by hatred toward our system of government at
home or by the religion of the attackers. In fact, most of the anger
towards us is rooted in reactions towards seeing their mothers,
fathers, sisters, brothers and other loved ones being killed by
a foreign army. No matter our intentions, the violence of our militarism
in foreign lands causes those residents to seek revenge if innocents
are killed. One does not have to be Muslim to react this way, just
human.

Our battle
in Afghanistan resembles the battle against the many-headed Hydra
monster in Greek mythology. According to Former General Stanley
McChrystal’s so-called insurgent math, for every insurgent
killed, 10 more insurgents are created by the collateral damage
to civilians. Every coalition attack leads to 6 retaliatory attacks
against our troops within the following six weeks, according to
the NBER report. These retaliatory attacks must then be acted on
by our troops, leading to still more attacks, and so it goes. Violence
begets more violence. Eventually more and more Afghanis will view
American troops with hostility and seek revenge for the death of
a loved one. Meanwhile, we are bleeding ourselves dry, militarily
and economically.

Some say if
we leave, the Taliban will be strengthened. However, those who make
that claim ignore the numerous ways our interventionist foreign
policy has strengthened groups like the Taliban over the years.
I’ve already pointed out how we serve as excellent recruiters
for them by killing civilians. Last week I pointed out how our foreign
aid, to Pakistan specifically, makes it into Taliban coffers. And
of course we provided the Taliban with aid and resources in the
1980s, when they were our strategic allies against the Soviet Union.
For example — our CIA supplied them with Stinger missiles to
use against the Soviets, which are strikingly similar to the ones
now allegedly used against us on the same battlefield, according
to those WikiLeaks documents. As usual, our friends have a funny
way of turning against us. Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein are
also prime examples. Yet Congress never seems to acknowledge the
blowback that results from our interventionism of the past.

Our war against
the Taliban is going about as well as our war on drugs, or our war
on poverty, or any of our government’s wars — they all
tend to create more of the thing they purport to eradicate, thereby
dodging any excuse to draw down and come to an end. It is hard to
imagine ever “winning” anything this way.

We have done
enough damage in Afghanistan, both to the Afghan people, and to
ourselves. It’s time to re-evaluate the situation. It’s
time to come home.

See
the Ron Paul File

August
10, 2010

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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