Stossel; to say that al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden gained power in Afghanistan because the US funded rebels fighting the Soviets is akin to saying the US won WWII because the French supported us in our revolution against Briton. The period following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan was a mixed bag of periods where certain parts of the country came together and nearly established a peaceful democracy, repeatedly interrupted by multiple Islamist factions, supported by outside sovereign interests such as Pakistan, Iran and the Saudis, reigned terror and bedlam on certain parts of the country. Only the Clinton administrations absolute incompetence in Afghan foreign policy and neglect/rejection of our only ally in Afghanistan, Massoud, allowed them to be completely successful in their endeavor to turn Afghanistan into a Sharia totalitarian state. The U.S., at that time, had decided to assist the Taliban by convincing Massoud and the northern tribes to assent to the Islamist Emirate of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. How quaint. About this time al-Qaida training camps began to appear in satellite imagery, though the Brits had to tell us who was running them and who was funding them. The ISI and the Saudis. The Taliban, with the able assistance of Pakistan's armed forces and funding from the Saudis, had Massoud and the norther alliance on the run at this point. On September 9, 2011, the Lion of Panjshir was assassinated by operatives under the command of Osama bin Laden. So it may have been people we had previously supported. But not all of them. And, in fact, it was people we knew better than to support even while we needed them to help win the cold war. In the final analysis, the success of al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden in 2011 can be attributed directly to an incoherent and ill considered foreign policy directed by people who really didn't understand, and didn't care or try to understand, who our allies were in Afghanistan in the late 90's, and who really didn't understand the consequences. A very very similar situation is unfolding in Syria right now. It's not whether we bomb in retaliation for WMDs. It's not whether we oppose Assad. It's who we support that matters. What they believe. Right now Obama has surrendered any opportunity to control the outcome to Iran and Russia. Socialist = economic and foreign policy incompetence on a grand scale.
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