The U.S. foreign policy crowd, from Sandy Berger to John Bolton, worries that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will come unglued over Afghanistan, so reports David Paul Kuhn.

The irony, says Kuhn, is that earlier in the decade Afghanistan was seen as a new frontier for NATO. The member states came to the defense of an ally, waging its first land war in a new era of asymmetrical warfare — so the conventional thinking goes. So what went wrong? Kuhn contends:

The terrorist attacks of 2001 seemed however to clarify NATO’s role and briefly offer the alliance renewed raison d’etre.That glue has already faded. Europeans lack the sustained will in Afghanistan, for no reason more than the 9-11 attack was on U.S. soil.

Okay, get that? Europeans don’t care about attacks on America. Shorter: Europe hates America. Die, America, die, sniff the European elite. Another take: Europe is happy to let America fight its wars for it, but lacks the stomach to step up to the plate.

I know, it’s one sentence in a long article. But it sticks out like a sore thumb. Kuhn expresses a canard found in U.S. media war mongering reporting. “We do the dirty work of keeping them safe while they criticize us from their precious lofty, soft ideals of human rights and anti-violence and other weak-kneed shit.” That’s the underlying sentiment of Kuhn’s statement and of reports that NATO is not committing enough troops to the war effort.

Yet it’s subtext without context. Europeans lacked the “sustained will”? It’s as if the U.S. invasion of Iraq had never happened. As if the BushAdmin had not begun redeploying U.S. troops from Afghanistan for the invasion of Iraq in early 2002, before stabilizing the country or completing its mission of rooting out al-Qaeda (a dubious one, to be sure.) As if NATO has not been in Afghanistan for the last 8 years while the U.S. fought an illegal war in another country. As if the Europeans had suffered no losses.

It’s a lie, of course. And it’s bullying. It bullies the Europeans into committing more lives and money to a war with no clear exit strategy. And it bullies Americans, too, increasing numbers of whom oppose escalating war in Afghanistan while their own country falls apart.

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