Thursday, July 2, 2009

U.S. War On Afghanistan: Who Is The Enemy? What Is The Goal?

The United States declared war against Afghanistan, and began bombing them, sent troops in to invade the country, destroyed much of the country, killed many people, beginning in October of 2001, almost eight years ago. Not only are we still there, but we are now escalating the war in that country, sending in more troops, conducting raids and sweeps of isolated areas and murdering anyone who is considered an "insurgent," whatever that means. It's beginning to sound like the "free-fire" zones of Vietnam, where the U.S. sent in troops with instructions that they should assume everyone is the enemy, and they should shoot anything that moves. Or, in common parlance, a slaughter.

Afghanistan is a small and very poor country which was torn apart in the 1980s when the U.S. decided to use front groups to fight against the Soviet Union, which had invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. funded, supported and armed jihadist anti-western fanatical Muslim groups to fight against the Soviet Union. Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi who was also aligned with and supportive of the fanatics, came out looking like a heroic figure to the people in the region, because many believed that he and his small group of Muslim fighters had overwhelmed the mighty Soviet military on their own. That's because the U.S. lied to the world while it conducted a secret war against the Soviet Union.

Osama bin Laden remained very popular in Afghanistan, beloved by the people, and welcomed by its leaders. Because the country was devastated due to wars and a lack of assistance from the rest of the world, the uber-religious Taliban group gained power and ruled over the people's lives with an iron fist.

When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the excuse used was that bin Laden and al Queda were using Afghanistan as a training ground, and we wanted to go find bin Laden and punish him and his group, and prevent them from conducting anymore attacks.

Eight years have passed, and the U.S. has made almost no effort to find bin Laden. It appears that George W. Bush decided to let bin Laden escape when he was in danger of being caught. The motive is unclear, but nonetheless, eight years down the road, the U.S. has done almost nothing to capture or kill bin Laden. We've even heard such silly comments as well, we know where he is, in Pakistan, but "nobody" can go in there because it is the "tribal" region. Yeah. So is there a no-bombing rule for the tribal region? We have been hands-off with bin Laden and there is no reason to believe that has changed.

So why are we still in Afghanistan? There is little evidence of any al Queda stronghold within that country. The governing group which was in control before 9/11, the Taliban, was always acceptable to the U.S. government. They were even invited to Texas for the oil corporations to wine and dine them before 9/11, trying to get an agreement to let the oil corporations run and operate a pipeline across their country. In fact some people say the refusal of the Taliban to let the western oil corporations run a pipeline through Afghanistan is the real reason for this war. The story goes that the U.S. met bin Laden in July of 2001 and gave him an ultimatum: either he approved, and got the Taliban to approve the pipeline, or the U.S. was going to come in and take it by other means.

So why are we still in Afghanistan? It's not because we want to help the women. We've done nothing to help the women. Waging war is not "help."

Why is the puppet head of the country, Karzai, an oil-corporation executive himself? What does the U.S. really want from Afghanistan?

A pipeline. A pipeline to run oil. And no interference from the locals. Just like in Iraq, where the troops have vacated the cities but retreated to the military bases built near -- the oil fields. We will steal the oil from Iraq, run it through pipelines in Afghanistan. It's all so very clear.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like the Taliban. But I also don't like the U.S. military waging these never-ending wars on behalf of corporations. The expansive empire is bankrupting our country. Our people as individuals are in many cases broke: they've lost their jobs, their wages have been slashed, they can no longer afford healthcare, the public education system is being destroyed, the public treasury is exhausted with war spending and soon will no longer even provide police or fire protection, no water service. That is the cost of Empire: all the money is taken from the people and given to the Military Defense Industry, the Halliburtons, the oil corporations, Blackwater, while their owners put millions in their pockets of money stolen from the people.

The cost of empire eventually destroys the people at home. Our government devotes all its energies and resources to waging wars and expanding the Empire, and leaves the economy to be run by a criminal cartel on Wall Street which has stolen all the money from the nation. Between the Defense Industry and the Wall Street Criminals, they've picked our bones bare.

I read an article this morning about the Marines invading some isolated area of Afghanistan, with the new big-shot (General Custer?) flying overhead in a helicopter overseeing the slaughter. Of "insurgents." How do they know someone is an insurgent? I thought we were at war with al Queda. Who is an insurgent? Somebody who fights against the military from some other country that has invaded their town and is killing their people? Are we really just killing all the males, ages 14-70, just like we did in Fallujah? Is this a collective punishment situation where we will slaughter all the men as a "warning" to other areas: don't mess with the Marines. They're brutal.

What the heck happened? I thought Obama was going to end the wars. Now it looks like he's just escalating everything. Like his commitment to the oil corporations is even stronger than was that of Bush and Cheney. So when he peered closely at the Bush regime, we thought he was appalled. But maybe he was really just admiring them. What change?

"Thousands Of Marines Push Into Taliban Territory"
AP, July 2, 2009 ·

"Thousands of U.S. Marines poured from helicopters and armored vehicles into Taliban-controlled villages in southern Afghanistan on Thursday in the first major operation under President Obama's strategy to stabilize the country."

"The offensive was launched shortly after 4:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold and the world's largest opium poppy-producing area. The goal is to clear insurgents from the hotly contested region before the nation's Aug. 20 presidential election.
The Marines have not suffered any serious casualties and have seen only a sporadic resistance, said Lt. Abe Sipe, a spokesman for the unit."


"The enemy has chosen to withdraw rather than engage for the most part," Sipe said. "We had a couple of heat casualties, but not deemed serious in nature at this time."

"Officials described the offensive — dubbed Khanjar or "Strike of the Sword" — as the largest and fastest-moving of the war's new phase and the biggest Marine offensive since one in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004. It involves nearly 4,000 newly arrived Marines plus 650 Afghan forces. British forces last week led similar, but smaller, missions to clear out insurgents in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar province."

"Where we go, we will stay. And where we stay, we will hold, build and work toward transition of all security responsibilities to Afghan forces," Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson said in a statement."


"The Pentagon is deploying 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in time for the elections and expects the total number of U.S. forces there to reach 68,000 by year's end. That is double the number of troops in Afghanistan in 2008 but still half as many as are now in Iraq."

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