"A Crude War Of
Tariq Ali on Afghanistan
By Mike Whitney
-- -- -The United States is on its way to losing the war in
Afghanistan. The eventual defeat will be political not military.
Public sentiment is shifting in Europe. The people have had
enough. They want to get out. When European troops withdrawal
from Afghanistan; NATO will gradually unravel and the
Transatlantic Alliance will collapse. That will be a disaster
for America. The US will again be isolated by two great oceans.
But not by choice. America's days as an empire will be over.
That's why the US perseveres in Afghanistan even though there is
nothing to gain. Pipelines corridors will continue to be blocked
by enemy fighters for the foreseeable future. The guerrilla war
will intensify. American fatalities will mount. Political
opposition at home will grow.
The Taliban can't be beaten. They've already taken over more
than half the country and they are steadily advancing on the
Capital. By next spring, there'll be fighting in the
neighborhoods of Kabul, just like there is now in Baghdad.
American troops will be barricaded in little Greenzones spread
across the countryside. Karzai will be locked away in the
Presidential Palace surrounded by American mercenaries. There'll
be no more foolish talk about "democracy" and "women's rights".
The air war will escalate causing more and more civilian
casualties. Protests will break out in the cities and tribal
leaders will call for an end to the occupation. Politicians in
Germany and France will demand a timetable for withdrawal. Most
of these things are already happening.
There's no policy in Afghanistan and there never has been.
Reconstruction is a myth and security is non-existent. The
country is a failed, narco-state governed by warlords and drug
kingpins. Women are nearly as bad off as under the Taliban.
"Every month dozens of women commit self-immolation to end their
desolation," says Afghan Parliament member, Malalai Joya. Bush
didn't invade Afghanistan to liberate women anyway. It was all a
hoax. Bush believed that Taliban would recognize America's
superior firepower and run for the hills. They did. But now
they're back. And the tide has turned. The Taliban have
regrouped, filled their ranks with new recruits, and now they're
stronger than ever. Morale is high. The world's best-equipped,
high-tech war machine is being beaten by a ragtag collection of
medieval-minded fundamentalists armed with muskets and sabers.
It's a bigger fiasco than Iraq.
The war in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, is a failure
of ideology. The Bush Doctrine, the National Security Strategy,
and the New World Order are all in ruins. The apologists for
"preemption" on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal have
suddenly fallen silent. They've lost their voice. The bravado
and chest-thumping has stopped. The Afghan resistance has
succeeded where Congress, the UN and 10 million protesters
failed. They stopped Bush's army in its tracks. In time, the
Americans will leave as did the Russians before them. The war is
Democracy doesn't come from the barrel of an M-16 and it can't
be dropped from 30,000 ft like a Daisy Cutter. The Bush war in
Afghanistan has brought only suffering and devastation.
Thousands have been killed or displaced. Vast swathes of the
countryside have been contaminated with radioactive dust that
collects in clouds and sweeps across the interior-plains
poisoning the groundwater and spreading cancer; another tragic
memento of the US occupation that will last for decades.
Afghanistan was supposed to be "the Good War". Originally, 95%
of the American people supported the invasion as the proper
response to the attacks of September 11. Liberals and
conservatives alike joined the rush to war. The world needed to
see America's iron-fisted wrath. It was "payback time".
Tariq Ali called it, "A crude war of revenge". He was right.
The buildup to the war was all glitz and showmanship; a real
public relations extravaganza. The media unfurled the flags and
pounded the war drums every day until the Bombay-doors opened
and the plumes of black smoke began rising everywhere across
Bush promised to bring them back "Dead or Alive". We were going
to "smoke them out of their caves".
No one talks about caves anymore-or smoke. The pre-war zeal is
gone. Vanished. The "hearts and minds" campaign is lost, too.
"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," says Malalai Joya.
"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 Bush administration has reneged on every commitment it made
to the Afghan people. There was never any attempt to provide
security beyond the capital. Never. The US handed over the
countryside to the warlords who run their fiefdoms like Mafia
Dons. There's no freedom. There's no safety. There's no rule of
law. It's all a fabrication---another made-for-TV invasion
that's 99% fiction.
Last week the Senlis Council released a report saying that,
"Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis in which millions
face severe hardship comparable with sub-Saharan Africa".The
vast majority of Afghans are still living in grinding poverty
exacerbated by the constant threat of violence. Civilian
casualties are soaring and the "The security situation has
reached crisis proportion."
The Senlis Report adds that the Taliban are "gaining more and
more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who
have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change."
The US has worn out its welcome. A number of independent
journalists confirm that the Taliban has garnered substantial
support in the South from disenchanted Afghans who're tired of
the broken promises, the lack of employment and reconstruction,
and the random bombing of innocent civilians.
Last year,there were four times as many air strikes by
international forces in Afghanistan than in Iraq. The rising
death toll has shocked the public and turned the people against
the occupying army. On Monday, 14 engineers and laborers were
killed by NATO air strikes in Nuristan Province. The workers,
WHO WERE HIRED BY THE US MILITARY TO BUILD A ROAD THROUGH THE
MOUNTAINS WERE SLEEPING IN THEIR TENTS WHEN THEY WERE KILLED.
"All of our workers have been killed", said Sayed Jalili. (UK
And so it goes. The US is steadily losing its grip while the
tidal wave of resistance continues to grow. Another year of
frustration, and the European allies will "pack it in". NATO be
Tariq Ali explained why the United States would eventually fail
in Afghanistan in a recent interview with Sherry Wolf of the
"Far from being a "good war", Afghanistan is turning out to be a
nasty, unpleasant war, and there's no way the US or other
Western forces are going to be able to stay there for too
long....The situation is a total mess. The US can never win that
war, and the main reason is that the Afghans don't like being
occupied. They kicked out the British in the 19th century, the
Russians in the 20th century, and , now, they're fighting
against the US and its NATO allies." ("Afghanistan Today: six
years of a war on Terror, Sherry Wolf, znet)
They don't like being occupied. So leave.
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