Here is a good article regarding the stories we tell ourselves. Who are the villains in the story? Who is the Taliban? We are so used to simplifying a broad category: Al Qaeda, that we are completely willing to accept a simplistic subset: The Taliban. But who are the Taliban? This article claims that what we consider 'The Taliban', is actually the 'Neo-Taliban', headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, one of those strange Islamic names that we think is meaningful but really isn't, just a placeholder for, "Evil Cobra (Taliban) Leader." He's either Cobra Commander, Serpentor, or Destro, regardless of his actual identity, he's evil, we know that much, and that's all we need to know.
What is their story? Who are they? And why do we care whether they attack the ISI? Well, we support the ISI, that's the simple version right? But we also support the Afghani government, just like we used to support the Northern Alliance. Then again who in our government supports which faction? Who supports the Northern Alliance? Who supports the Taliban? Oh wait they are the enemy, they are Al Qaeda, what huh? I am so confused. I can't keep straight who is one what side. Just tell me who the OSS/CIA favors and I'll think about the 'why' later.
The problem here is one of characterization. Who is the Taliban? We support the ISI, so who is the Taliban that the ISI supports? Do we support the ISI's Taliban even though we don't support the Taliban? What the fuck? Who are we? We are the Americans. Are we liberal or conservative? Are we progressive or Evangelical? We are American, but who do we support?
I hope people who have any influence have more definitive answers than I do. I hope they can see more granularly than i can, but based on the relationship of Hollywood production to the properties I love, and my experience with them, I highly doubt it's any different. I am close to leftist wannabe revolutionaries, and Evangelical theologians, and no one has ever given me a satisfactory answer as to how they can divine who is one which side. They just know it 'when they see it.'
I really hope our intelligence services have a more granular response than that, but based on my experience with people who 'claim' big relationships to whatever and thus and so, I kind of doubt it.
This is one of those places where I agree with George W. Bush about our favorite philosopher. Jesus warned us about things of this world. I am uncertain about some things, this being one of them, and whether or not 5:30 AM is morning or still night. It's pretty bright right now, but it might be dark if we were in November.
The basic reality is that war is as granular as individual piques and grudges. I know I am an American, and I love America and I hope that some grand Egregor is guiding us toward Pax Americana, but I also hope that people are thinking this granularly as it impacts our foreign policy. At the same time, I am afraid they are lost in minutiae, unsure of who is who, and what is what, and defaulting to broader spectrum of 'enemy' versus 'ally'.
Richelieu, Mazarin, Machiavelli, look over us, because this is really fucking complicated.