I'm reaching the limits of the comment system so I'm posting my response to swerdloff's comments on this here.
How can you say we have enough troups in Afghanistan? I'll quote the Washington Post on April 17:
The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.
Of course, this really begs the question of whether we've done anything about 9/11 at all. No one has ever presented evidence to the public that anyone involved in the plot is still alive -- that we know who was involved other than the 19 hijackers. Even the "20th" hijacker prosecution lacks evidence that would stand up in a normal court of law. Merely telling us that there is evidence and even the courts can't see it is not acceptable. How do we know the funders weren't members of the Saudi royal family rather than Bin Laden and Al Quaeda?
It's not surprising to read articles that ask whether this was as much about controlling Central Asian oil as it was about "revenge". Who employed Karzai and many members of his government before 9/11? Unocal.
We also have not provided enought troops to actually regain civilian control of areas of Afghanistan outside of Kabul. They are once again controlled by the warlords of the pre-Taliban era. Remember Laura Bush, et al, talking about how this was a war about liberating women? When Karzai announced his cabinet 2 weeks ago, the minister for women's affairs was not filled. It may not ever be, either because it's too dangerous, or because of the opposition of religious conservatives. Remember a member of the government has already been assassinated.
Regarding Yugoslavia, I'll quote the Tony Judt article I talked about in another post:
Earlier this year the US ambassador for human rights called for the early dismissal of the ad hoc tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia -- even though these are integral to any serious war on international terror and the US itself spent millions of dollars to bribe Belgrade into handing Slobodan Milosevic over to the Hague tribunal.
Of 45,000 peace-keeping troops in the world, 700 are American, although we have troops stationed in approximately 150 countries. I refuse to count military advisers in places like Indonesia and the Philippines as peace-keepers. We have also announced that any country receiving aid from the U.S. will have to certify that it considers U.S. troops immune from prosecution of the International Criminal Court. It's rather difficult to argue that we are a force for justice and peace in the world at this point. Why anyone should believe that our military might exist except to provide us with cheap oil and an inordinate proportion of the world's resources is beyond me.
Regarding the NY Times: I read a lot of news sources, ranging from The Economist (not very liberal), to the Guardian, Ha'aretz, the BBC, etc. because I don't trust one source for news. The Times is a pretty good paper, but it's a centrist establishment paper, and I wouldn't confuse it with a "liberal" news source any day.
In the end, I think the thing that frustrates me the most is that what we're doing isn't even particularly effective. Even if I were a Kissinger-style "realpolitik" thinker, I wouldn't think the Bush Administration policies make sense. They really only make sense in the context of enriching defense companies and oil companies. We are spending a fortune, even before Iraq, and it's not making it any safer for Americans overseas or in their own country. We are devoting more and more resources to military spending while the rest of the world is realizing that it's not economically effective to do so. We are risking our own economic well-being, whether we care about anyone else in the world or not.