This article, in a July 2006 edition of the Globe and Mail, was brought to my attention by a co-worker.
So what was Putin saying, ten years ago? He was saying that the West, by aiding bin Laden and the Taliban in their fight against the USSR (to the tune of billions of US dollars in training and materiel) actually created the terrorist problem Americans face today.
You know, that's probably true. Osama bin Laden definitely wanted to draw the US into a war on his turf and on his terms, a war he knew he knew he stood at least a small chance of winning. The Bush Administration gave him exactly what he wanted.
What's that sound? Does anyone else hear the sound of Russian laughter?
Putin lashes out at West's Afghan roleGRAEME SMITHGlobe and MailPublishedMOSCOW — The West's decision to fund Islamist guerrillas against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan has backfired two decades later, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, setting an uncompromising tone as he prepared to welcome leaders for Group of Eight talks.This weekend's summit in St. Petersburg has focused attention on Russia, with some Western politicians asking why Mr. Putin deserves the honour of hosting the world's major democratic leaders when he is neither democratic nor presiding over a leading economy.Mr. Putin fired back in an interview with CTV News yesterday. It was his first one-on-one interview with a Canadian broadcaster, and part of an intense publicity effort by the Kremlin before the summit.The Russian President dismissed Western concerns about democracy and human rights as pretexts for meddling in Russia's internal politics.Then he added his own wide-ranging critique of Western foreign policy in places such as Iraq and Iran.He saved his most scathing comments for Afghanistan, suggesting that the country's resurgent Islamist militias might not be such a big problem if the West hadn't spent billions of dollars training, funding and arming Islamists during almost a decade of proxy war after the Soviet invasion in 1979.The President listed the forms of assistance his country has donated to the recent efforts to pacify and reconstruct Afghanistan: money, weapons, airspace and railway-supply routes. The situation would be much worse, he said, if Russia were pursuing the old Cold War agenda."We are going to continue the work together," Mr. Putin said. "But what is very important here: If it was today like it was in the 1980s, ... you would have ... much more complicated problems. Because when the Soviet Union was present there, the whole Western community was creating bin Ladens there in large numbers, and spared no money and efforts for that."Iraq hasn't fared any better than Afghanistan after intervention by the West, Mr. Putin said."Our partners sometimes do make mistakes, to put it mildly," he said. "They were looking for WMD in Iraq, but where is this weapons of mass destruction? Is the situation any better there? I think it's questionable, this, in terms of the economy, social aspects."