Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
In the post below, I mentioned that I'm currently reading Steve Coll's Ghost Wars. I'm roughly a third of the way into the book, but here are my early impressions. The book deals with the secret history of CIA support for the Afghan militias that fought against the Soviets. A few notes.

- We didn't fund Usama bin Laden. We didn't train him. We knew about him, but we didn't know much. The Michael Moores of the world should put the theory to rest.

- It was pretty doggone important to keep an eye on the situation in Southeast Asia. The region was extremely unstable by the late 1970s. The Soviet invasion made matters worse, but it was imperative that the U.S. keep our cards in the game..

- At the same time, we didn't keep enough of an eye on the area. By the late 1980s, the radical Islamic factions of the Afghan resistance - typically Arab fighters on a crusade - had taken control of the fight against the Soviets. Coll maintains that Gorbachev was aware of the danger posed by the Islamists, while most in the Reagan administration simply overlooked the threat, viewing all anti-Soviet fighters as a good thing. I'm not quick to give Gorby any more credit in that area; I'd like to see further proof of his theory. It is clear, however, that the Reagan administration dropped the ball in dealing with the Islamist threat.

Now, I'm not singling out the Reaganites for blame, but just pointing out the dangers of the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" way of thinking. I'm not opposed to it, mind you, but this is perhaps the best example in recent history of the potential troubles brought about by that particular line of thought.
8:37 AM :: ::
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