I try to avoid linking to people like Ann Coulter, as they are provocative precisely because it gets them more attention, even if it is mostly outrage. Coulter brings nothing to the table in terms of a national conversation, and she is barely coherent, but the sad truth is that a lot of people on the far right read her and The New York Observer saw fit to lavish more attention on her. Anyway, I couldn't skip this challenge:
"I’m thinking about putting up a reward on my Web page for any liberal who will mention either Afghanistan or the Kurds," she said. "I mean, 85 percent of Iraq is free, it’s beautiful—we have about 300 troops patrolling the entire Kurdish area. These poor beleaguered Kurds are free, are happy, are dancing in the streets, and liberals simply won’t mention them. I certainly thought Afghanistan was going to be a tougher nut to crack than Iraq—the Russians couldn’t take Afghanistan! They’ve basically been at war for a hundred years—even when nobody’s there, they’re at war with one another. We took Afghanistan in a month, and now they’ve had elections and women vote, and they didn’t vote for some crazy lunatic mullahs. So that’s a pretty good year."
During this "good year," the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit published a book called Imperial Hubris, and let's see what he thought about the U.S. tactics in Afghanistan 2001-2004:
Ignoring reality, Secretary Rumsfeld -- with the Taleban and al Qaeda intact, Karzai's writ fading, and guerilla warfare flaring -- went to Kabul in May, 2003 to declare victory. Mr. Rumsfeld, to be charitable, is ill-informed; America's Afghan war is still in its infancy.
Sadly, firsthand experience [of previous wars in Afghanistan] and sage advice were ignored. In the face of this reality, U.S. government leaders, generals, media, and experts nonetheless have spoken as if our endeavors had brought forth a budding mini-America in Afghanistan.
As noted in Chapter 2, the conduct of the Afghan war approaches perfection -- in the sense of perfectly inept.
If Coulter wants to argue that the situation in Afghanistan is better than we could have hoped, fine; but to suggest that our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq have been so positive as to be beyond criticism is nuts. So what's the reward she's offering, I wonder?
While we're at it, here are a few more gems from the Observer interview:
The Iraqi people didn’t seem to have that great a Christmas.
"That’s right! But they’ll be opening Christmas presents soon enough," she said. "And then they’ll be happy. We’ll see, but things are going pretty well, and in most cases better than expected. We’re going to transform the Middle East by the time Bush leaves office, or it will be within shouting distance of there. I think Arabs flying planes into our skyscrapers will be as likely as a Japanese kamikaze pilot."
Yep, that's our real goal: get Iraqis to celebrate Christmas.
"I’m getting a little fed up with hearing about, oh, civilian casualties. I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning."
Nuke North Korea?
"Right—and this is tied to my point that, in Iraq, let the Marines do their job. There may be some civilian casualties—that’s known as war. Americans can live with that. And when did we become the guardian of the world to prevent all civilian casualties, ever—how about our civilians?"
What should we remember about Bill Clinton?
"Well, he was a very good rapist. I think that should not be forgotten."