U.S. and NATO leadership responded to Karzai’s warning to stop killing civilians by essentially saying, “Shut up, Hamid. Mind your own business.” Robert Gates’ condescending hollowness in response to Karzai’s criticism of the slaughter of innocent Afghans was truly pitiful:
“I think President Karzai is reflecting the pain and suffering that the Afghan people have had to endure,” Gates told reporters in Honolulu yesterday. “I think he also recognizes — and the Afghan people do — that we are their ally, we are their friend and we are trying to help them develop the capability to protect themselves.”
Can’t you understand Hamid? These crimes we’re committing on your people are for their own good!
Analysis of the war in Afghanistan, as with much else about America’s foreign policy, is approached by the political class as if its surgery, delicately considering the policy implications. Troop reductions (how many tens of thousands, in what province), “negotiations” (leverage, allies, tipping the balance), a little here, a little there, delicate snips, cautious moves, etc. Instead of treating this travesty like a trigonometry problem, the technocrats and policy wonks need to start calling it what it is: a humanitarian disaster.