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Is it US Strategy to Wage Perpetual War in Afghanistan?

By       Message Sherwood Ross       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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The disclosure by McClatchy News Service Nov. 9th that President Barack
Obama is "walking away" from his pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. forces
from Afghanistan in July, 2011, comes as no surprise. The Pentagon's
tactics seem hardly designed to put a prompt end to the struggle but
instead to inspire rebellion -- prolonging the war. If those tactics were
not chosen to achieve that end, they have certainly backfired! The
bombings that have killed so many civilians, like the midnight raids on
private homes, are only inflaming Afghan resistance. But their impact
will be to brace record Pentagon spending, generate further billions in
windfall profits for military-industrial arms dealers and outsourcing
firms, and push oil prices ever higher.

Please don't take my word for the claim that the Pentagon's strategy is
all wrong. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, America's good friend, told
The Washington Post November 13th the U.S. "must reduce the visibility
and intensity of its military operations, especially night raids that
fuel anti-American sentiment and could embolden Taliban insurgents,"
according to a summary of the Post's story by the Associated Press. "The
time has come to reduce military operations...to reduce the presence
of...boots in Afghanistan...to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily
Afghan life." Karzai further told the Post that the nine-year-old war
has taken too high a toll on the people of Afghanistan. He said the
Taliban leaders also feel "the same as we do here -- that too many people
are suffering for no reason." Karzai wants U.S. troops off the roads
and out of Afghan homes: "I don't like it in any manner and the Afghan
people don't like these raids in any manner." He also said, "the
long-term presence of so many foreign soldiers will only make the war

Let's remember the U.S. has no right to war on Afghans in the first
place. In an interview with the Sri Lanka Guardian on Feb. 11, 2009,
activist philosopher Noam Chomsky termed the invasion "a major crime."
It came after the U.S. demanded the Afghans hand over Osama Bin
Laden -- or else. When Kabul asked for evidence of Obama's involvement in
9/11, the Bush regime couldn't provide any and the FBI later conceded
there just wasn't any. President Bush attacked anyway. "I think Obama
looks more aggressive and violent than Bush," Chomsky said. "The first
acts to occur under his administration were attacks on Afghanistan and
in Pakistan, both of which killed many civilians and are building up
support for the Taliban and terror." In short, the Pentagon's bruising
assaults only make a horrific situation worse. As The Nation magazine
editorialized Nov. 15th, "The offensive creates more enemies than it
kills. And despite the tripling Of US forces since 2009, it's clearer
than ever that the war can't be won militarily. In fact, Taliban control
over vast areas of Afghanistan has increased since Obama ordered the
escalation." The liberal magazine urged President Obama "to declare a
cease-fire on US and NATO combat operations, halt the night raids by US
Special Forces and stop the drone-fired missile attacks throughout the
Afghanistan-Pakistan theater."

But who cares if Karzai wants to reduce U.S. troops? Not Defense Secy.
Robert Gates. He said the Taliban are "going to be very surprised come
August, September, October and November (of 2011) when most American
forces are still there and still coming after them." Not Vice President
Joe Biden, who told author Jonathan Alter in "The Promise" that "In July
of 2011 you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out. Bet on
it." Now Biden tells ABC News "It could be as few as a couple thousand
troops. It could be more but there will be a transition." (If you bet
you lost.)

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Not Mark Sedwill, NATO's senior civilian representative, who
told reporters that 2011 would be only the start of the troop drawdown
but the real date was 2014. "We would expect by then to have none or at
least very few international forces out on the streets in combat
operational roles," he said. And The New York Times reported that the
2014 date has also surfaced in remarks by both Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff. All have climbed on the bandwagon headed for at least three more
years of fighting past 2011. "Implicit in their message," The New York
Times reported November 11th, "...was that the United States would be
fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for at least four more years."

What's more, if you examine Mr. Sedwill's comments, please notice he
states NATO and the U.S. are going to keep a military presence in
Afghanistan after 2014 in non-combat roles. Leslie Gelb, president
emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, told AP's Deb Riechmann
Nov. 11, "NATO emissaries are still bargaining over exactly how many
troops will remain after departure day and for what purposes. Details
aside, the devastating truth is that U.S. forces will be fighting in
Afghanistan for at least four more years."

If the war-weary American public is disheartened by President Obama's
new deadline for departure, imagine the emotions of Afghans. The Project
on Defense Alternatives, of Cambridge, Mass., estimated that in a
3-month period between October 7, 2001 and January 1, 2002, at least
1,000-1,300 civilians were directly killed in the rain of U.S. bombs.
The UK Guardian newspaper estimated that as many as 20,000 Afghans died
in 2001 alone as an indirect result of the initial U.S. bombing and
ground invasion. And McClatchy News cites a United Nations report this
past August that showed civilian casualties rose 31 percent during the
first half of the year compared with 2009. President Obama, who calls
himself an admirer of the Rev. Martin Luther King, has their blood on
his hands. There is no doubt, however, that Rev. King would have opposed
U.S. fighting in today's illegal wars as he outspokenly opposed the war
in Viet Nam.

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Americans must consider the possibility that when candidate Obama
conveyed the impression he favored withdrawing U.S. troops in 2011 that
that perhaps was never his real intention at all. This president may not
be a captive of the CIA but he is a former CIA employee and enables the
CIA's role in the Middle East. The CIA has long worked hand-in-glove
with U.S. and British oil firm interests in the region, dating back to
its 1953 overthrow of an Iranian president who nationalized his
country's oil industry. Mr. Obama, it should be recalled, worked as an
employee for a CIA "front" organization in 1983, the Business
International Corp., and a report (still unrefuted) in The Rock Creek
Free Press of Washington, D.C., has established that both the
president's parents, as well as a grandmother, were all CIA employees.
Moreover, Mr. Obama's Justice Department declines to prosecute CIA
employees who tortured Arab prisoners and obstructed justice when they
destroyed filmed evidence of those crimes. Additionally, in retaining
Mr. Gates as Secretary of Defense, the president has in that powerful
post a counselor who formerly headed the CIA itself. In sum, if the
president is not listening to the voice of the American people who
believe the Afghan war was a mistake and who want out, and if he is not
listening to the president of Afghanistan, "Who is he listening to?",
and "Why?"


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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)

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