“the coalition went around Afghan villages, burst into people’s homes and has been committing extraditional killings in our country.” A United Nations investigator made the same point in 2008, accusing the CIA and Special Forces “of conducting nighttime raids and killing civilians in Afghanistan with impunity.” Pakistan’s prime minister said the same years that “if America wants to see itself clean of terrorists, we also want that our villages and towns should not be bombed.” As a January 2009 report by the Carnegie Endowment concluded, “the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency’s momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban […] In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the levels of suffering are among the most extreme in the world, and from suffering, from having nothing to live for, comes the will to die for a cause.
United Nations recent development data places Afghanistan 173rd out of 178 countries; Pakistan is 136th. According to such estimates, about sixty percent of children in the Pashtun areas are “moderately” or “severely” stunted. In Afghanistan as a whole, such children will be spared miserable lives because the country has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. No more need be said.
As to the threat from al Qaeda, it is understandable that the president would define himself as an aggressive commander-in-chief. But he must wonder if our killing so many civilians and stunting so many children won’t result in yet another generation dying to hate us. He must wonder if he is squandering the good will of the world, including the Muslim world, by sending more Americans to kill and die in a quagmire. He must recognize that he is putting his eight-year presidency on the line. read on