Aside from being a war-monger, Senator Lindsey Graham has poor eyesight. No matter how much he squints, he has never seen fault in U.S. foreign policy (unless, of course, it hasn’t been sufficiently interventionist for him). But somehow circumstances have developed so that Graham can see the futility of the war in Afghanistan while managing to blame others, instead of the U.S.
“If the president of the country can’t understand how irrational it is to expect us to turn over prisoners and if he doesn’t understand that the night raids have been the biggest blow to the Taliban … then there is no hope of winning. None,” Graham said in the hallways of the Capitol Building just before entering the GOP caucus lunch.
“So if he insists that all the prisoners have to be turned over by March 9 and that we have to stop night raids, that means we will fail in Afghanistan and that means Lindsey Graham pulls the plug. It means that I no longer believe we can win and we might as well get out of there sooner rather than later.”
Whenever someone loses hope for war in Afghanistan, an angel gets his wings. Still, Graham’s words are probably just talk.
The background for his comments are the negotiations taking place between the U.S. and Afghan President Hamid Karzai right now. The Obama administration has been working on an agreement for what the U.S. role in Afghanistan will be once the U.S. withdraws the bulk of its occupation forces sometime in the next two years (ahem, it will be substantial). Karzai has demanded Afghan control of jails and an end to night raids on Afghan homes. The U.S. has consistently demanded they retain control of Afghanistan’s prisons and that they continue to perform night raids with Special Operations forces, who are supposed to take a leading role in terrorizing Afghanistan after the drawdown.
I’m in no position to guess the result of the impasse, but America’s untamed, occupied underlings have stood up against the imperialist agenda before. Note the precedent of Iraq. Back in 2007 Bush administration had drafted the first Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which detailed a prolonged and continued U.S. troop presence in Iraq with no specified limits and called for “facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments” and for US forces to work indefinitely to “deter foreign aggression against Iraq.” There were reports at the time about the impasse that had been reached due to the Iraqi government’s objections to the SOFA. They started demanding a firm withdrawal date of all U.S. forces and rejecting “long-term US military bases on its soil.” The Obama administration picked up the torch from the Bush administration and began again to push for a new agreement that would allow the continuation of the occupation beyond 2011. They eventually failed. And while U.S. dominion over Iraq is not gone, it is considerably reduced from what it might have been had the Iraqis simply accepted U.S. commands.
That is possible, even if unlikely, with Afghanistan as well. But I’m sure Lindsey Graham will have found fault with the American retreat by then.