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"A Crude War Of Revenge"

Tariq Ali on Afghanistan

By Mike Whitney

11/29/07 "ICH" -- -- -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 lost.

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 Afghanistan.

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 Guardian)

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 damned.

Tariq Ali explained why the United States would eventually fail in Afghanistan in a recent interview with Sherry Wolf of the Socialist Worker:

"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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