President Obama and senior military officials are working hard to address the angry and now violent reactions due to the burning of several copies of the Quran on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
Officials have apologized for the incident and call it a very unfortunate accident. But violent reactions have killed over 30 people, including two military advisers that were shot inside of a supposedly secure compound.
The increasingly violent reaction to the incident is showing why Afghanistan has been a military quagmire for every single fighting force that has ever fought in the country.
What makes this scenario unique is that the United States isn’t really fighting a war in Afghanistan any longer. It is an occupying force desperately in search of an exit strategy. And with this situation, the country of Afghanistan is even making that nearly impossible.
With diplomatic officials actually trying to work with the Taliban, it’s clear that military actions are now limited to hunting the occasional Al Qaeda leader and hoping to train local police to not hand power right back to the terrorists once U.S. forces leave.
It might be nice to feel like things have evolved since we first stepped foot into the country, but the current reaction, including car bombers and assassins, shows that the last ten years have done little to prepare the country to repel forces like Al Qaeda from taking over again.
Some officials in the United States are hoping to not leave Afghanistan before rights of women and certain civil liberties can be guaranteed. If that is truly the only acceptable qualification before we can leave Afghanistan, U.S. forces will never be able to leave.
A country that allows this kind of a reaction to this kind of an incident can in no way turn around and secure the rights for women or protect civil liberties. At this point, the country cannot even defend itself from car bombs, let alone guarantee the right to vote to a gender that is usually treated like property.
The only option for the U.S. that remains is the one the Obama is currently searching desperately for, a way out with the most dignity as possible without actually accomplishing any of the original mission goals.
New goals will be set and imaginary progress over the last ten years will be detailed. However, with every new protest over this incident, the reality is coming into sharper focus.
The United States must make a choice. We can either stay in Afghanistan another ten years in order to potentially make a difference, or leave now and accept that the last ten years of fighting and lives lost have not made a marked change in the future of Afghanistan.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, and I would love to be wrong, but officials being assassinated and bystanders losing lives at protests over an incident that was a clear mistake cannot be seen as anything but a dismal and harsh return to a reality that was there ten years ago.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.