Thursday, May 05, 2011

Who Really Won This Round?

The question that troubles me is who is going to have the last laugh?

In his first taped statement following the 9/11 attack, bed Linen outlined his strategy. His objective, he said, was to bankrupt America. His plan was to do something very dramatic (9/11) to which we'd have to react. He succeeded. He anticipated that we would over react. We did. We put an army in the field at great cost. Bed Linen must have been rolling with laughter when we invaded Iraq and opened a second war in a place that would be significantly more expensive to field an army that Afghanistan. That it had nothing to do with him and his 9/11 attack on us was frosting on the cake. A standing army in somebody else's country generally pi$$es of the people of that country (not to mention all of their friends). The invasion of Iraq a.) divided all those who supported us in our actions in Afghanistan to that point; b.) united our enemies in the Arab world and c.) provided an unimaginably fantastic recruiting tool for al Qaeda and their franchises throughout the world.

Now, with a war cost estimated by some to be on the order of $3T (economist Joseph Stiglitz [1],) including external war fighting, internal security and off budget, "emergency" funding .. we are finding that we are close to bankruptcy. Mission accomplished?

Bed Linen had a template and a proof of concept already in hand. The Soviet Union was tied up in Afghanistan for a decade and, as much as some of us like to think that Reagan telling Gorby to "tear down that wall" did the trick - it was Afghanistan that was the straw on the camels back that broke the Soviet Union. Their economy simply couldn't sustain an arms race with us and a never ending war in Afghanistan. One or the other, maybe ... but not both.

While we played checkers for the better part of a decade, bed Linen was playing chess. He's dead ... but we're close to bankrupt and running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to figure a way out of a dilemma we've created for ourselves by sending armies to do what a team of SEALS supported by good "police work" could have accomplished in the first place.

We got him! Yes!

But I don't think there's much to celebrate if, in the end, he accomplishes his mission anyway.

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