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Why We must win in Afghanistan

The West simply cannot afford to lose its war in Afghanistan. As the soldiers’ bodies come home in ever-increasing numbers, pressure will inevitably grow for a withdrawal. Already an unpopular war in continental Europe, it will become increasingly difficult for the American and British governments to keep their resolve if media and public pressure focus on the costs in terms of lives and money and there is little sign of real progress.

Unfortunately military experts anticipate 2-3 years of hard combat and several more years of Western military presence if the South of the country is to be stabilised. But, if we don’t pay those costs, then the Taliban are likely to take over government again in Kabul. It is thought that, in spite of their apparent significant defeat in the Swat Valley, their eyes are set next on Islamabad and the prize of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Even if Pakistan doesn’t fall, Afghanistan will continue to flood the West with heroin (in spite of the Taliban officially being against opium production!) and it will almost certainly go back to being a training camp for al-Qaeda terrorists.

What do we need – another 9/11 or 7/7 – to remind us what British and American troops are fighting and dying for?

Part of the problem: the nature of the Taliban
When the Americans smashed the Taliban in 2001, they were perceived by many Afghans to be liberators. The Taliban’s 5 year regime had been brutal, repressive (particularly for women and non-Muslims) and economically disastrous.

What should have been the opportunity for the West to be seen as helping the Afghans rebuild their shattered country was fumbled when George W Bush decided to bring down Saddam Hussein. American energy went into first of all justifying an assault and then pursuing a war that turned into a bitter, costly and lengthy occupation. Not only did the reconstruction of Afghanistan go very much on the back burner; but increasingly the war in Iraq was seen as an anti-Muslim war in most Muslim countries – with the result that many young Muslims from relatively moderate backgrounds were radicalised. The mess in Iraq helped breathe new life into the Taliban who began to creep back in force while the Americans were too busy trying to prevent outright civil war in Iraq.

What also helped the Taliban come back was that the government structure the West helped set up and is now trying to sustain is demonstrably corrupt – arguably from Hamid Karzai down. It needs to be remembered that many officials, especially in local government, were once the bandit leaders of the Northern Alliance which the Americans used as their ground troops in 2001. Using the Northern Alliance that way certainly saved thousands of American soldiers’ lives but it also opened the door into legitimate government for those who were ruthless robbers and murderers. In Gravesian, terms the RED vMEME was given the opportunity to use BLUE structures for its own ends – so all but inevitably it lined its own pockets! In the South of the country locals say they prefer to use Taliban judges rather than their government counterparts because they are more honest.

In the South (and across the border in Pakistan) the Taliban are increasingly becoming indistinguishable from the Pashtun people. The Pashtun tribes are a good home for the Taliban. For the most part, rural, poor and religious, the Pushtans have little in common with the urban elites of Kabul – looking to gain from the Westernisation of their country – or the other tribes from the North. The Pushtans are primarily dominated by PURPLE tribalism, undoubtedly led by leaders with strong RED while the mullahs peddle a RED-BLUE hardline form of Islamic zealotry. The BLUE-ORANGE-GREEN values the West wants to promote of respect for human rights, gender equality, religious moderation and one person/one (secret) vote Democracy simply don’t fit with the Taliban/Pushtan mindset. The values mismatch is huge.

When the Americans smashed the Taliban, they drove out what little BLUE culture there was in Afghanistan. As we know all too well, when BLUE goes, RED steps into the vacuum. No wonder Afghanistan is a violent and corrupt place! When the Taliban started to creep back, they offered some sense of order against the corruption and secularisation emanating from Kabul. If the Americans had hoped ORANGE-driven modernisation would take root in Kabul and spread from that centre, it was a clear lack of understanding that, for healthy ORANGE to grow, there needs to be foundation of strong, healthy BLUE. Although they were very different countries, the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Yugoslavia did not open the door to ORANGE’s MacDonaldisation strategies; instead the loss of that BLUE superstructure let loose RED gangsterism and PURPLE tribal enmities. If anyone in the White House or the Pentagon had thought it through, what has happened with the resurgence of the Taliban was, in fact, predictable.

The problem with the convergence of  ‘Taliban’ and ‘Pushtan’ is that the Pushtans comprise around 40% of Afghanistan’s population and are the largest single ethnic group. That’s an awful lot of people to fight.

Part of the problem: the West is confused
What do we want in Afghanistan – other than for our soldiers not to be killed and our much-needed money not to be haemorrhaging away? (It is estimated that the war will cost Britain £3.4 billion this year alone.) And once our objectives are clear, do we know what we have to do to achieve them?

Beyond ‘winning’ – presumably meaning breaking the Taliban for good? denying al-Qaeda the use of Afghanistan? – and getting out, it’s not entirely clear just what the objectives are. Certainly, as in Iraq, not enough thought has been given to the post-invasion reconstruction – and what thought has been given has been based on erroneous assumptions. Ie: that with a little money and a little effort, we can make them just like us – Capitalist consumers. It’s a mistake the West has been making repeatedly ever since Walt Rostow (1960) came up with his 5-stage Modernisation Theory for saving the Third World from Communism.

What the Gravesian approach shows us is that we have to work with where people are at – and, if the Pashtuns aren’t ready yet for gender equality, then we need to put that on the back burner until they’re ready to grow into it. Offending their values is just going to get them reaching for their AK47s.

Our objectives need to include helping develop an Afghanistan where the tribes can co-exist peacefully, where people can take pride in being Afghan, where there is respect for a universal and fairly-applied legal system. Gender equality and one person/one (secret) vote Democracy can come further down the line. What matters now is that people feel safe, have respect for themselves and others and there is confidence in the government and the law. And, of course, that law needs to be compatible with a form of Islam that emphasises charity, faith and order. Such an Afghanistan would be distinctly unappealing to the Taliban who feed on dissatisfaction.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg recognised some of this when he said NATO should not be over-ambitious “by trying to import overnight a Western-style democracy in a country that has never had a functional government” but instead should aim to stabilise Afghanistan “to provide a space for the state to grow.”

If we are clear on our objectives, then can we implement the strategies to achieve them?

Because it contributed significantly to the relative calming of Iraq, the concept of high visibility patrolling the streets with the overtly-stated aim of protecting the ordinary citizens from the insurgents (Taliban) is being tried now in Afghanistan. High visibility, of course, means easy target – and that’s one of the reasons the British casualties have increased. (Apart from the fact the troops claim to be significantly under-resourced – attributed by many commentators to be result of big cuts in defence spending. (A lack of big picture thinking in BLUE-ORANGE short-sighteness!)

Lord Paddy Ashdown, himself a former royal marine, thinks the protect-the-citizens strategy is an error – saying: “The army’s job in a war is to find and kill the enemy.”

Actually we need both strategies. Protectors of those who are reasonable and want to be safe and proud. Killers of those who are determined to kill us and cannot be reasoned with. But no more robot drones wiping out innocents at wedding parties! Thankfully, all of this – including avoiding civilian deaths – is endorsed by the new NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

We must find ways of removing the dissatisfaction that the Taliban feed off. Strong support in Afghanistan for an Islam that emphasises charity and justice for all. Rebuilding the physical infrastructure. Redeveloping the economy, including crops that are a viable alternative to opium poppies. Creating hope. Building a sense of national identity. Etc. Etc.

As part of building a national identity, we need to find ways to demerge ‘Taliban’ and ‘Pashtun’. As a people the Pashtuns have a proud and ancient heritage, their traditional Pashtunwali code of honour promoting self-respect, independence, justice, hospitality, love, forgiveness and tolerance. It’s a stain on that code that they allow the brutal and repressive ways of the Taliban to influence them to such an extent. Like many peoples in our troubled world, the Pashtuns need to rediscover themselves.

Some of what is needed in Afghanistan, I have mentioned above. But what is needed really is a full MeshWORK analysis, looking through 4Q/8L at the health of all the vMEMES in play and then deciding what needs to be done. Multiple strategies will need to be employed simultaneously so that nothing is missed. And, as much as possible, the decisions and actions need to be undertaken by Afghans – otherwise they are the work of an occupying force. And, if the decision-making isn’t ‘democratic’ but the Afghan way (tribal/feudal), then we Westerners need to allow them to be that way.

Yes, it will be hellishly expensive – in both money and lives – but we are in a war and wars are costly. The sooner Britain and the United States – and Europe, for that matter – accept we are at war, the better. Plus, it is a war we have to win. But it is a war of hearts and minds as well as bullets and bombs.

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11 Responses

  1. Rob Geurtsen says

    Too bad. I am still curious for you opinion on the issue Afghanistan. It seems you are not able or willing to expand on your original posting, with appropriate application of SD, etc.

    The theory in your book deserve application in an opinion on current matters. Now it is only talk and we can’t go nowhere with it.

    take care,
    Rob G.

  2. keitherice says

    Rob

    I answered your points in my first response.

    Keith

  3. Rob Geurtsen says

    Hi Keith

    There was some hesitation to build a dialogue. The reason was that your response to Reality and Replay did not show any internalization of what was offered. Sometimes we wish for wisdom through multiple perspectives. Wishin’ and a hopin’ is something else than walk this FS-talk.

    My response was meant to provide methodological reminders. Firt attempt failed. Let me try again.

    Whether or not Graves supported Beck or not in South Africa is irrelevant for the validity of general systems theory (Bertalanfy) or for newer science of emergence. It a metaphorical use of the model and the theory not even based on a hypothesis for which no data existed.
    How come the blessing of ‘an authority’ of Clare W. Graves evokes uncritically your opinion?

    According to you the application of Spiral Dynamics plus the 4Q model of Wilber at a cultural level is very effective for analyzing how individuals interact with groups and how groups interact with groups.
    Well I believe you – but I did not see evidence of this approach in your original posting.
    Indeed you suggest ‘similar actions mean they all have similar thoughts’. Your analysis contains information indiscriminately accepted from what your experience as ‘authoritative’ sources and on what media copy paste from biased sources. Next you transfer this information on the Spiral Dynamics model. You advocate the existence of anthropological and institutional phenomena exist because the press writes about ‘warlords’ and ‘tribal areas’. It is a jump of metaphorical and mythical nature to translate this into the aggressiveness of RED and tribalism of PURPLE (tribes and warlords). From media blurs and information through folks whose professional existence depend on warmongering and mingling in other people’s affairs you conclude similarity on a vMEME level.

    This is the failure of the analysis that is easily made. I wish you are willing to avoid or correct. Spiral Dynamics is worth it.

    The other point where you fail in the SD-analysis is easy to spot. Your response deals with it extensively but you don’t seem to see that it renders your analysis wholly un-SD. sorry to say Keith.
    You write:
    Assumptions about individuals thinking in the same way because of a cultural effect is inevitably something of a blunt instrument; but the sociological school of Symbolic Interactionism – which pretty well maps into both Memetics and the lower left quadrant – has been making these kind of assumptions and successfully identifying waves of thinking at a cultural level since the 1930s.

    You are completely right on spot. And I do hope you see where you gat off the SD-track. You are talking about memes and again not vMEMES.
    That provides the basic sorting of data, without which there is no useful Spiral Dynamics analysis of and situation.

    Where in your article is information that illustrates convincingly any Level of Existence. Neither in ways of thinking nor in Life Conditions. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to offer it?

    Cherio
    Rob

  4. keitherice says

    Good to hear from you, Rob, after so long – 2-3 years?

    I’m not quite sure where your criticism that I fail to differentiate between memes and vMEMES comes from. I know some on the ‘Integral’ side don’t always…I agree it’s sloppy and is one of my bugbears. But, if you’ve read my book or spent much time on my web site, you’ll be aware that not only do I differentiate between memes and vMEMES but I even differentiate between schemas (the internalised concepts on which we base our lives) and memes (concepts out there in the ether – books, movies, other people’s words and actions, etc). The interaction between incoming memes and existing schemas then allows you to look at that interplay in terms of Jean Piaget’s accommodation and assimilation ideas.

    As to applying Spiral Dynamics at a cultural level…yes, Graves was a psychologist and wrote as one. But he did support Don Beck in his early forays into South Africa – which project was applying Graves’ ideas on a massive scale. I know you’ve frequently expressed doubt about just how much Don contributed to the South African situation; but I had a personal experience with some South Africans which convinced me beyond all possible doubt. See http://www.integratedsociopsychology.net/global/don-beck-south-africa/

    While I’m no great fan of Ken Wilber’s writings – far too much labrynthine wordage for my RED! – I find the 4Q/8L model Beck developed from his work very effective for analysing how individuals interact with groups and how groups interact with groups. And I take a very simplistic view of culture – lower left quadrant of 4Q/8L. A cultural effect is when you have a group of people acting and speaking in a similar way. It is, of course, a jump to assume that similar actions mean they all have similar thoughts – and you rightly caution me about such assumptions, if that is your intention. Perhaps it would surprise you to know that Elza Maalouf, one of Beck’s must trusted confidantes, has cautioned me similarly…?

    Assumptions about individuals thinking in the same way because of a cultural effect is inevitably something of a blunt instrument; but the sociological school of Symbolic Interactionism – which pretty well maps into both Memetics and the lower left quadrant – has been making these kind of assumptions and successfully identifying waves of thinking at a cultural level since the 1930s.

    It’s good to take note of cautions; but we also need to act if we are ever to get things done…and action involves taking risks. So, the larger the group, the more room for error in interpreting individual thought from observing behaviour and speech in groups (cultural effects) – but we do it all the time, anyway. So the more we can use tools like Symbolic Interactionism and Spiral Dynamics-4Q/8L to improve our accuracy of interpretation, the better (in my view).

    As to Graves and 2nd Tier…. 5 years ago I moved beyond being any kind of stict Gravesian when I took the ‘integrated’ route. I wanted to see how putting SD at the centre of the behavioural sciences changed them. Inevitably, though, that process has pointed at certain limitations with SD – which I’m able to cover by using models such as Hans Eysenck’s Dimensions of Temperament.

    There are problems around the concept of 1st and 2nd Tier – and I understand the criticisms of ‘2nd Tier elitism’. But Graves thought there was a significant qualitative difference in thinking between F-S (GREEN) and G-T/A’-N’ (YELLOW) – ‘Mankind prepares for a Momentous Leap’, etc. In this respect, Graves was merely reflecting Maslow – equating G-T to Self-Actualisation (see ‘Levels of Existence’ p25, ‘Never Ending Quest’ p148). For a discussion on some of the inherent contradictions in the way the term ‘Self-Actualisation’ has been used down the years, see http://www.integratedsociopsychology.net/theory/vmemes/self-actualisationyellow/

    If you look at Maslow’s first descriptor on that page, it justifies the idea that you need to escape 1st Tier limitations to get “a more accurate perception of reality”. If that’s hierarchical or elitist, then so be – that’s the view of two much better psychologists than I’ll ever be, from using very different methods of research.

    By the way, Loevinger was a woman. Jane.

    Always stimulating to spar with you, Rob, but I can only give it so much time. Bye for now.

    Keith

  5. Rob Geurtsen says

    Dear Keith,

    Your article highly appreciated as you got the nerve to provide a SD-analysis of the situation in Afghanistan.

    As you refer to Bateson’s appreciation of multiple viewpoints and his belief that this variation could lead to wisdom and insight I took up the stick you threw into the war theatre of Afghanistan.
    It is quite a hot issue and can we let a Spiral Dynamics’ driven comment float along when in theat theatre the lives of many are being destroyd day in – day out? For myself I ansered this challenge with a strong NO.

    Then the next problem came up. How to respond to what?
    I hardly agree with the facts presented and the idea we must win, but as the reasoning leaves me no point of entry I decided to discuss on the applied methodology.

    It is a daring undertaking to try and provide an SD analysis on international matters.

    I have two points of critique from an theoretical point of view that I like to share. Your field-observations are your responsibility – I will not challenge them that is different topic altogether.

    Actually I have three, but the lack of differentiation between vMEMES and memes is too astonishing for me to dig into.

    The first point of critique is about how you project a theory about individuals to large groups or even nations and larger than nation-systems: cultures. You do not provide any argument for this, so I guess it is up to me to challenge your implicit projection of laws for individual human introspection and interaction on to large group dynamics.

    A theory built on data on individuals with a hypothesis lacking for social systems. As you are interested in Spiral Dynamics and have been reading discussion-lists at least you’ve heard about emergence and systems-theory. I assume you’ve read Clare W. Graves big book, If not, on what do you base your ideas? So the other thing to know and include is: Ludwig von Bertalanfy’s General. Systems Theory.

    Understanding ‘emergence’ and emerging systems only superficially gives us forever the insight that theories or laws on a molecular have not even a shadow of validity on the cellular level, let alone on the organ level or that of the whole body of a human being. Behavior on a cellular level cannot be projected with any validity on to the behavior of an individual human being. The same goes for the next step from the individual human being to the group, even large groups.
    How do you connect the dots from the individual behavior (dynamics) to group behavior (dynamics)?

    Bertalanfy provides mathematics for the various processes and steps from one system’s level to another. Graves explained his use of Bertalanfy’s theoretical constructs in his earliest article that is available on the website http://www.clarewgraves.com: An Emergent Theory of Ethical Behavior Based Upon an Epigenetic Model (1959) When Jane Loevinger discussed ‘Ego Development: Questions of methods and theory’ (1993) he included Clare W. Graves as well as Ludwig von Bertalanfy.

    I guess Clare W. Graves never even tried to analyse and explain from Bertalanfy’s perspective how to apply his theory about individuals to group dynamics. There are no data available – his projections on nations and groups seem to me merely (sorry for the word) metaphorical application of his own theory.

    Then however you have introduced in your SD-analyses of Afghanistan the entity nation/culture. How these are related to individual human beings (the level of the Gravesian point of view)

    I do know you are not the only one using SD on ‘large group’ scales. Still I wonder what is the model/theoretical rational and how did you get there?

    The second problem is that you sort of ignore everything that involves tension that occurs when people with different dominant LoE/colors meet and have to interact.
    The change factors that are an integral part of SD are left out of your equation.

    Am I right to assume you put all your bets almost religiously on the transcending everything qualities that are attributes to A’N’ – in other words the second tier?

    Based on the fundamental qualities of the earliest AN, how do you assume A’N’ is the start of the second tier? And why and how would that be the success factor in Afghanistan?
    The assumption of an overall validity of ‘effective hierarchy’, meaning the higher the better, shows confinement to the hierarchies within the DQ to ER band, of which I am not so sure even Loevinger was aware. (check the reason he quotes Clare W. Graves for in Loevinger’s article mentioned earlier)

    Good luck with your blog,
    RobG

  6. Jon Twigge says

    Great article Keith.

    I agree with the first comment in that we cannot win this “war”. If we regard this activity as a war then it is lost.

    The history of Afghanistan over recent decades is not pleasant. I believe that we are now seeing a different, and in the end far more productive, strategy. It is not for the US and UK to win a war. It is to contain the violence, that is now far worse than it might have been without the various historical interventions, until a semblance of security is established and beyond.

    Within that security a new Afghanistan will emerge, where it’s own people will start to live their lives again. Their lives and in their way – not ours. And from there, and maybe over some years, the radical elements will fall away.

    The cost of providing a safe and secure environment in Afghanistan will be large and take years. The cost to the world of failure would also be large and last for decades. We owe it to Afghanistan, and the world, to allow it to recover.

    Perhaps we should be asking the Russians to help.

    There have been, are right now, and will going forward continue to be many centres of human emergence in the world. Afghanistan needs to be one of them.

  7. Albert KLamt says

    Thanks Keith for this take on Afghanistan. Its a big challenge to get even a rough picture. As your blog entry is about the “we” I want to add a view from European Council on Foreign Relations. Founded in Nov 2007 in Berlin. I met there Daniel Korski from its UK Bureau. As Associate member of ECFR I would like to adress some global and local spiral perspectives to them. He has written this report for ECFR:

    Shaping Europe`a Afghanistan Surge

    http://www.ecfr.eu/content/entry/korski_afghanistan_surge_report

    “EU countries must acknowledge there can be no military solution to end the insurgency and launch a new strategy for Afghanistan, argues Daniel Korski, a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, in “Shaping Europe’s Afghan Surge”.

    Most importantly, the EU and the US should encourage the next Afghan government to negotiate with insurgent leaders willing to lay down arms and integrate the political process. While more troops continue to be needed, Europe’s emphasis must be on sending more civilian experts, says Korski, a former adviser to the Afghan government in Kabul. Police, administrative trainers and election observers are a particular priority.”

    One more Network with some relevance for Afghanistan and global security is the World Security Network:

    http://www.worldsecuritynetwork.com

    See letter from President and Founder Hubertus Hoffmann:

    http://www.worldsecuritynetwork.com/corp/index3.cfm

    To reach out to multiple and diverse stakeholders for a possible MeshWorks approach you described yourself with all its necessary criteria on your homepage. These agendas and strategies need support from Continental Europe too. And , of course, as REPLAY said far beyond the well meaning intentions of NGO`s.

  8. keitherice says

    Replay, if you’re not familiar with Spiral Dynamics, you should be! I hope I don’t sound patronising; but your thinking seems very much 2nd Tier on this. You describe and argue the ‘hearts and minds’ approach needed much better and in more detail than I did.

    However, I would still contend thar, in the shorter term, we also need a ‘bullets and bombs’ approach too. Those that are stuck in RED-BLUE zealotry we simply cannot afford to leave alone. The ACE model – see: http://www.integratedsociopsychology.net/theory/assimilation-contrast-effect/ – shows us clearly that the extremists will turn on even moderate Muslims – classifying them as heretics along with the West. Which is exactly what the Taliban did during their 5 years in power. Some of the massacres and neo-ethnic cleansing they carried out within Afghanistan’s borders were pretty horrific.

    So I believe we need a multiple-strategies approach. On the one hand, kill the out-and-out extremists. On the other…
    a) Win the hearts and minds of the moderates to minimise support for the Taliban and prevent radicalisation
    b)Work to address the Western practices and policies which serve to build up resentment and increase radicalisation

  9. REPLAY says

    Unfortunately reading the article and the comments by reality, I am taken back to Vietnam and all the same things were being said – couple of years of hard combat, the enemy had a global mission, the enemy operated from within another, neutral country, the locals should fight for their own freedom etc etc. This should tell us that we should go back and look at the lessons from Vietnam. You will not win this war by combat alone. You will not win the population over if you try and impose a foreign set of values on them – human rights, womens right and so on are great characteristics of our societies. We have taken hundreds of years to get there. These changes will not occur quickly in a society which is primitive in its thinking in regards democracy, human rights, freedom of information and so on. As the article states that precedes these commentaries, we should focus on some very basic essentials that will ultimately bring relative prosperity. This should include the construction of sewerage systems, clear water, medical centres providing basic care, schools, training of the public servants who will be required to manage an emerging state and so on. The construction of these facilities should be done by Afghans so that they have ownership – the Allies/Coalition partners should be facilitators. What Afghanistan does not need a large capital projects which are constructed by well meaning NGOs who are trying to satisfy their donors, or a number of well meaning countries, when the operating funds to run these facilities are not available or are not provided by a central government riddled by corruption. Schools that can’t use their computers because they don’t have the $US30 a day to buy the diesel required to run the generators to provide power. How stupid is that when over $200K was spent on the school or a beautiful new Justice building empty because of the lack of operating funds. Why put in place a military structure for the Army that when fully operational will require more operating funds than the country actually legally earns. A very dependent client state forever. I think the countries and NGOs involved should put agendas aside and work together on a strategy that has a long term chance of success. This agenda should not be dominated by the US and Britain as there are others that have experience in thses areas. Let us learn from the Vietnam experience. Put egos aside and focus on the outcome desired.

  10. Reality says

    You need a lesson in history, my friend. The USSR learned that Afghanistan is a morass that will cost more and more to fight in, without any real chance of victory. The Taliban is an organization of the U.S.’s own making; the product of a flawed anti-Soviet policy that drove us to train and arm the Mujahadin, which took over Afghanistan as soon as the Soviets withdrew and created an Islamist state. As they did with the Soviets, they will draw the U.S. and other Western nations in and bog them down with endless, sub-combat conflict. There is nothing for the U.S. to win there and everything to lose. It is senseless for our troops to be dying for a people who will not stand up for their freedom, but allow radicals to take over as soon as a real military force exits. If the Afghanis want freedom, they have to obtain it themselves. We cannot do it for them.

  11. keitherice says

    Actually, Reality, I was a Historian before I became a SocioPsychologist.

    Thus, I can vouch for the accuracy of sentences 2 and 3. And I can go so far as to agree with you that sentence 4 is the big risk…the one to be avoided. (But we’re not there yet.)

    I’ll point out that the Mujahadin-turned-into-the-Taliban is as much a product of Wstern imperialist dreams as the West arming Saddam’s Iraq in its war with Iran.

    And I’ve seen the argument spelled out very clearly that, if we were able to close Afghanistan down, al-Qaeda would still continue to operate out the dozen or so countries where the government allows it to act with impunity.

    But, if we allow the Taliban unrestricted control of Afghanistan, then we’re back to 9/11.

    And the people of Afghanistan are not seasoned democrats who will make up their own minds which way to vote in a fair election (depending on whether they read ‘The Sun’ or ‘Daily Mirror’). For the most part they are tribespeople who will do whatever the tribal elders tell them to do. Which is why BLUE/ORANGE/GREEN values are next to useless in a place like Afghanistan. We need to talk to them – those that can be talked to – in terms of the concerns of PURPLE and RED.

    As for those that can’t be talked to,kill them. Because, if we don’t kill them, they will do their utmost to kill us. See my Article – ‘Killing the Terrorists’ http://www.integratedsociopsychology.net/global/killing-the-terrorists/ for an elaboration on this theme.