Who are we really fighting in Afghanistan?

Updated
Let me finish tonight with a big, fat question about this country’s war policy. We are at war in Afghanistan? Okay. Who are we fighting? Are we fighting the people who don’t like the government we’re backing there, the one led by Karzai? But aren’t we told that Karzai is corrupt? That he stole the election? Okay, he’s corrupt. He stole the election. We’re backing him even though he’s corrupt and stole the election because we don’t want the Taliban to take over Afghanistan because that would mean they might threaten Pakistan? But don’t we hear that the Pakistani people like the Taliban? Don’t they think the Karzai is their enemy, that he favors India over Pakistan? Okay, we’re backing Karzai even though he’s corrupt, he stole the election and he’s seen as the enemy by the people we’re actually trying to protect, Pakistan? But isn’t the word out there that Karzai may cut a deal with the Taliban? Okay, so we’re backing Karzai even though he’s corrupt, stole the election, and our allies, the Pakistanis, don’t trust him and we’re learning that Karzai may be working to cut a deal with the Taliban? But aren’t our troops in Afghanistan fighting a war of counter-insurgency, operating under rules of engagement aimed at preventing them from inflicting civilian casualties? This in a land where anyone without a rifle actually “shooting” at us that moment is considered a civilian, and the second they start shooting at us may be our soldier’s last? Okay, so we’re really fighting in Afghanistan for a stalemate between Karzai, whom we don’t trust, and the Taliban who are cheered on by our number one ally, the Pakistanis? And we’re doing it without shooting any Taliban unless he’s got a rifle actually aimed at us? If it’s hard to explain, much less defend, why we’re fighting over there, isn’t this why the American people are having a such a hard time getting excited about “victory?” Is victory even a useful word in Afghanistan right now unless we leave and it’s what the Taliban and Al-Qaida get to claim? As Thomas Friedman of The New York Times put it this week, “You know you’re in trouble when you’re in a war in which the only party whose objectives are clear, whose rhetoric is consistent and whose will to fight never seems to diminish is your enemy: the Taliban.”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thomas Friedman and Pakistan

Who are we really fighting in Afghanistan?

Updated