November 17, 2002
DOES ANYONE EDIT THE NYRB?:Pakistan on the Edge (Ahmed Rashid, October 10, 2002, NY Review of Books)
September 11 was a defining moment throughout the world, but all the more so in South and Central Asia. While the US and its allies can claim success in their quick military victory against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan and in the creation of a new government in Kabul, the Western coalition has been much less successful in dealing with the problems that afflict the region today.
Afghanistan is still a dangerous place. On September 5, there was an attempt to assassinate President Hamid Karzai in Kandahar a few hours after an explosion in Kabul that killed at least twenty-five people. The Taliban and al-Qaeda were among the suspects in both cases. Sporadic terrorist attacks on US forces in the country continue. Nine months after he took office last December, President Karzai is still unable to extend his authority across the country; and he has not been able to control the warlords outside the capital, who grow stronger and more defiant of central authority day by day. Donald Rumsfeld reflected the strangely disconnected attitude of the Bush administration when he described the situation as getting better but admitted that it is still "untidy," and that it "will take time and effort for the government to find its sea legs." That Afghanistan is landlocked and most Afghans have never seen the sea does not seem to have occurred to him.
Mr. Rashid's point here is worse than petty and pedantic, it's asinine. The implication is that it would be factually correct to speak of a new government in Iceland, which is an island and where most have seen the Atlantic, as finding its "sea legs", as if the nation were adrift and rocking in the waves. Nitwit. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 17, 2002 11:22 AM