Afghanistan Is 'Faking Us Out' We're stuck in a region that's taking us for a ride, writes Maureen Dowd By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Nov 24, 2010 10:03 AM CST 7 comments Comments In this Sept. 29, 2010 photograph, passing children watch U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Seth Little, 22, of Georgia, as he takes temporary cover in a ditch during a patrol in Marjah, southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Todd Pitman) (Newser) – Considering the fact that the billions we've spent on intelligence hasn't enabled us to distinguish between an impostor and an actual Taliban leader, it’s no wonder the war in Afghanistan is a mess. “The tragedy has descended into farce,” writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. We’re “trying to do the right thing,” but the trouble is, we’re embroiled in a conflict in a region where “we’re clueless about the culture.” “Sometimes it feels as if the entire region is taking us for a ride. Everybody is lining up for Western cash, treating America, the British and NATO like suckers." Meanwhile, we’re even confusing ourselves: When are we leaving? 2011? 2014? "Just as with Saddam and WMD, or groping and the TSA, we get no satisfaction for the $80 billion a year we spend on intelligence." Perhaps, Dowd speculates, “we’ve been dealing with bin Laden all along.” It would be easy enough for him to come and go under different names. After all, "as far as our intelligence experts are concerned, a turban and beard are just a turban and beard."