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Hunkering Down In Afghanistan, Watching 'nato Bleed To Death

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Hunkering down in Afghanistan, watching 'NATO bleed to death on the Afghan plains'

By Mike Whitney

Online Journal Contributing Writer

 

 

Jul 7, 2008, 00:19

 

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Afghanistan was supposed to be the "good war"; a "just response" to the attacks of September 11. It was supposed to bring Bin Laden to justice and quash the threat of terrorism where it originated. Ninety-five percent of the American people supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Now less than half think the U.S. will prevail.

 

The war was promoted as a way to replace a repressive fundamentalist regime with a democratic government based on western ideals. Bush promised to rebuild war-torn country, transform its feudal system into a free market economy, and liberate its women from the oppression of Islamic extremism. But none of the promises have been kept and none of the goals have been achieved. The "good war" has turned out to be what Tariq Ali calls "a brutal war of revenge."

 

After seven years of fighting, the country is in ruins and its future is more uncertain than ever. The Taliban have regrouped and taken over strategically vital areas in the south. They have launched attacks on US supply lines coming from Pakistan and taken control of Khost. Presently, they are inching their way north and a battle for the capital appears to be inevitable.

 

The US does not have the manpower to establish security in Afghanistan, so it has stepped up its bombing campaign making 2008 the most deadly year on record. Civilian casualties have skyrocketed and millions of Afghans have become refugees. The careless killing of civilians has only strengthened the Taliban and swollen their ranks. The US has lost the struggle for hearts and minds; the Afghans have grown tired of foreign occupation.

 

Michael Scheuer: "We are closer to defeat in Afghanistan than Iraq at the moment."

 

At a recent conference at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, Michael Scheuer, former CIA chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station, made this statement: "Afghanistan is lost for the United States and its allies. To use Kipling's term, 'We are watching NATO bleed to death on the Afghan plains.' But what are we going to do? There are 20 million Pashtuns; are we going to invade? We don't have enough troops to even form a constabulary that would control the country. The disaster occurred at the beginning. The fools that run our country thought that a few hundreds CIA officers and a few hundred special forces officers could take a country the size of Texas and hold it, were quite literally fools. And now we are paying the price."

 

Scheuer is right. The violence is only getting worse and the prospects for success are nil. The US is just digging a deeper hole by staying. The problem is more ideological than it is strategic. War is not an instrument for positive social change; it's about killing people and blowing up things. Dolling-up military aggression and calling it "preemption" can work for a while, but eventually the truth comes out. Democracy and modernity don't come from the barrel of a gun.

 

Scheuer's pessimism is more widespread among military and political elites than many realize. The situation on the ground is hopeless. The Afghan resistance is getting stronger while the US is getting more desperate. A recent article in the Toronto Globe and Mail pointed out that the rising popularity of the Taliban has nothing to do with an "allegiance to Mullah Omar or the Taliban leadership." The people are simply fed up with "the presence of western troops" and the "deaths of relatives or neighbors". This raises the question of whether the occupation is in fact breeding more jihadis than they are killing.

 

By every objective standard, conditions are worse now than they were before the invasion in 2001. The economy is in shambles, unemployment is soaring, reconstruction is minimal, security is non-existent and malnutrition is at levels that rival sub-Saharan Africa. Afghanistan is not safer, more prosperous, or freer. The vast majority of Afghans are still living in grinding poverty exacerbated by the constant threat of violence. The Karzai government has no popular mandate nor any power beyond the capital. The regime is a sham maintained by a small army of foreign mercenaries and a collaborative media which promotes it as a sign of budding democracy. But there is no democracy or sovereignty. Afghanistan is occupied by foreign troops.

 

According to The Senlis Council's report, "Stumbling into Chaos: Afghanistan on the brink": "The security situation in Afghanistan has reached crisis proportions. The Taliban's ability to establish a presence throughout the country is now proven beyond doubt; 54 percent of Afghanistan’s landmass hosts a permanent Taliban presence, primarily in southern Afghanistan.

 

"The Taliban are the de facto governing authority in significant portions of territory in the south and east, and are starting to control parts of the local economy and key infrastructure such as roads and energy supply. The insurgency also exercises a significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change."

 

It is not even clear that women are better off now than they were under the Taliban.

 

According to Afghan Parliament member, Malalai Joya, "Every month dozens of women commit self-immolation to end their desolation. . . . The American war on terror is a mockery and so is the US support of the present government in Afghanistan which is dominated by Northern Alliance terrorists. . . . Far more civilians have been killed by the US military in Afghanistan than were killed in the US in the tragedy of September 11. More Afghan civilians have been killed by the US than were ever killed by the Taliban . . . The US should withdrawal as soon as possible. We need liberation not occupation." ("The War on Terror is a Mockery", Elsa Rassbach, Z Magazine Nov 2007)

 

The Taliban had effectively eradicated poppy cultivation before the invasion in 2001. Now, after six years of war, the opium trade is back with a vengeance and Afghanistan accounts for 93 percent of world's heroin production. 2007 was a particularly good year yielding 20 percent more opium than a year before. Heroin is now Afghanistan's number one export; the nation has become a US narco-colony.

 

Bush could care less about drug trafficking. What matters to him is stabilizing Afghanistan so that the myriad US bases that are built along pipeline corridors can provide a safe channel for oil and natural gas heading to markets in the Far East. The administration has staked America's future on a risky strategy to establish a foothold in Central Asia in order to control the flow of energy from the Caspian to China and India.

 

But US policymakers are no longer confident of victory in Afghanistan. In fact, according to a Pentagon report released last week, the Taliban have "coalesced into a resilient insurgency" and security conditions are expected to "deteriorate sharply" in the near future. As the situation becomes direr, Bush will have to decide whether to move more troops from Iraq or face growing losses in Afghanistan. (For the second month in a row, the number of combat troops killed in Afghanistan has exceeded Iraq.) Pentagon warlords now believe the only way they can defeat the Taliban is by striking at bases in Pakistan. But it's a reckless plan that could inflame passions in Pakistan and trigger a region-wide conflict. Gradually, the US is being lured into a bigger quagmire.

 

Obama to the rescue?

 

Presidential candidate Barak Obama supports a stronger commitment to the war in Afghanistan and has proposed "sending at least two additional combat brigades -- or 7,000 to 10,000 troops -- to Afghanistan, while deploying more Special Operations forces to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He has also proposed increasing non-military aid to Afghanistan by at least $1 billion per year." [Wall Street Journal] Obama, backed by Brzezinski and other Clinton foreign policy advisers, has focused his attention on the "war on terror," that dismal public relations coup which conceals America's desire to become a major player in the Great Game, the battle for supremacy on the Asian continent. Obama appears to be even more eager to repeat history than McCain.

 

Since neither of the two presidential candidates support the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the killing will likely persist and the country will slip further and further into chaos. The end however, is not in doubt. As Scheuer assures us, the occupation of Afghanistan will end as it did for "the British, the Soviets, and Alexander 400 years before Christ."

 

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at fergiewhitney[at]msn(contact admin if its a beneficial link).

 

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PropellerAds

Good news about the US-Iraqi agreement to withdraw US troops, though, isn't it?

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My dear innocent packham,

 

This is the real problem, US had less soldiers in Afghanistan, and Taliban regrouped and now US is at the brink of shame full defeat, if they (US) move soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan, the alqaeda will regroup in Iraq. Learn lesson from recent history innocent packham..

It is a matter of time when Pakistan will be in a wider conflict with the US over the situation of Tribal areas of Pakistan..

All Pentagon and western reports reported that when alqaeda felt that the situation in Afghanistan is good for them , they shifted to Afghanistan..You will move your army from Iraq, and the arab fighters will back.

So sing with me

Oh idiot America

Oh idiot America

What will you do?

What will you do?

Taliban will kill you

Taliban will kill you

Oh idiot America

What will you do?

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So sing with me

Oh idiot America

Oh idiot America

What will you do?

What will you do?

Taliban will kill you

Taliban will kill you

Oh idiot America

What will you do?

beautiful song ...

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