What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Steve Coll quote of the day

At last, I'm reading Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. I'm enjoying it just as much as I expected. I'm at page 60 right now, and this is from the last two paragraphs I've read, posted below:
"For many in the CIA the Afghan jihad was about killing Soviets, first and last. (...) Langley's D.O. leaders did not want to organise exiled Afghan political parties on Pakistani soil. They did not want to build a provisional anticommunitst Afghan government. They did not even like to help choose winners and losers among the jihad's guerrilla leaders. Let the Pakistanis fuss over Afghan politics to the extent that it was necessary at all.
The indirect approach was beginning to work, Hart believed. Yet as the mujahedin resistance grew and stiffened, the agency's passivity about who led the Afghan rebels - who got the most guns, the most money, the most power - helped ensure that Zia-ul-Haq's political and religious agenda in Afghanistan gradually became the CIA's own."
No, don't be afraid. I'm not starting here another meme chain. I'm quoting all this because it's highly relevant up till today. (Check out the news from Afghanistan, if you have no clue what this blog is about, and why I'm claiming such relevance for the quote.) And also to mention my point about "savages and barbarians in the fog of war" again, from a long piece I've written a couple of days ago as part of a discussion we were having with William S. McCallister. Scroll down for the just mentioned sub-title in the sea of text belonging to that lengthy post.
The main difference, I guess, is that back then some of the "savages" were actually turned into "barbarians" to more effectively fight the other "barbarians." If you have no clue what I'm saying here, and about what perspective the savages vs. barbarians coding is reflective of, that may be one more reason for you to go check the mentioned post.
Btw, if you haven't yet seen it, this is the book you're now looking for.
P.S. Charlie Wilson's War was a funny movie. That's what it was.

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