Cause for doubts

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The mess that the Obama administration is trying to untangle in Afghanistan is a perfect example of why recent national polls show that Americans increasingly do not trust their government. In the case of Afghanistan, the United States is not only talking out of both sides of its mouth, but it faces the likelihood that all of its sacrifices since the expulsion of the Taliban will have been for nothing.

News reports over the weekend indicated that, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the United States is trying to get Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, to help broker peace in Afghanistan — only weeks after United States officials blasted the ISI for supporting terrorism in Afghanistan. The likelihood that the ISI or Pakistan’s leadership is going to provide any significant help would seem to be nearly zero, given the way American leaders have bounced back and forth on their official position about Pakistan.

It’s a matter of some urgency, because violence in Afghanistan has not abated, and some 330,000 American troops are scheduled to leave the country soon. Official predictions that the now nearly completed “surge” would leave Afghanistan peaceful and democratic seem completely unfounded. No wonder that more and more Americans can’t bring themselves to believe their government’s pronouncements.

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Because its leaders lacks a clear direction or an apparent sense of right and wrong, our government is at risk of losing all credibility. The cures, while obvious — stop pandering for votes as a priority, put an end to grandstanding political rhetoric — don’t seem palatable to our leaders. Which leaves us to wonder how obvious the signs will have to be before they will change their ways.