Whatever trust there was between the U.S. and the Afghan people has been broken, and "there is nothing for the United States to do now but to leave in the most responsible way it can," "The Nation" magazine said in a recent editorial.
"Following repeated U.S. bombings of wedding parties, countless dead civilians as a result of night raids and drone strikes, atrocities by the notorious "kill team' in 2010 and, in 2012, the digitally recorded image of US troops urinating on dead Afghans and the burning of Korans, the United States is far from success in its longest-running imperial misadventure," the magazine declares.
Even though the reason given for the U.S. invasion---to render the forces of Al Qaeda impotent---was achieved long ago, 90,000 American troops remain in the country "in a vain attempt at nation-building," the liberal weekly says. After 10 years of warfare, it adds, "the government of Afghanistan is virtually nonexistent outside its shaky grip on Kabul."
Worse for the U.S., its occupation "has empowered warlords, fueled ethnic and tribal differences, and enriched a corrupt officialdom" so that the Taliban has rebounded. "In the past six months things have taken a poisonous turn, as the long-building mutual resentment between the Afghan people and the U.S. military has broken out into the open," "The Nation" asserts.
It goes on to say that "The much-touted White House plan to hand over security to a rebuilt Afghan army and police force is widely ridiculed, and the recent atrocities have vastly complicated the already troubled negotiations between Washington and Kabul on a status of forces agreement."
While the UN recently put the number of Afghan civilians killed at 3,021 and those wounded at 4,507, other sources have indicated the actual figures may be far higher. Wikipedia notes thousands of Afghan civilians may have died "as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, (and) crime and lawlessness resulting from the war."
The people of Afghanistan are paying a terrible price for the U.S. attempt to destroy Al Qaeda. The American nation that defeated industrial powers Germany, Japan and Italy in less than four years during World War Two is having surprising difficulty in overcoming its enemies in agrarian and poorly-defended Afghanistan in 10 years. This raises the suspicion that the purpose of "Operation Enduring Freedom," as President George W. Bush called it, was not so much to win a "victory" as to provide an excuse to perpetuate the expanding military budgets that are feeding the military-industrial complex. The war also allows the Pentagon to deploy and test new weapons as the pilotless drone aerial attack planes. Is that what President Bush knew when he predicted, "This war is going to take a while"?
Now, "The New York Times" says, the Obama administration is considering ending its combat role next year apart from the use of Special Forces to train Afghan troops and conduct raids. But "The Nation" editorial says, "that's not good enough" and it isn't. This is a senseless, unjust war whose victims largely are the civilians the U.S. purports to help, as well as a war opposed by a majority of Americans. And it is a naked crime against humanity in violation of the UN Charter and should be terminated immediately. Now. #
(Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant who also writes on military and political topics ). #