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U.S. Employs Afghan War To Build Global NATO

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U.S. Employs Afghan War To Build Global NATO
Rick Rozoff

In an article entitled "How Afghanistan Became a War for NATO," American journalist Gareth Porter argued that, contrary to the official position that an estimated 52,000 non-American troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and assorted partnership programs are in Afghanistan to in any manner protect their respective homelands, "NATO's role in Afghanistan is more about NATO than it is about Afghanistan," citing an unnamed U.S. military officer.

In relation to turning the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the overwhelming majority of foreign troops in the nation (currently 120,000 of 152,000) over to NATO command, the same official was quoted as stating, "You have to understand that the NATO lobbyists are very prominent in the Pentagon -" both in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff."

Porter reminded readers that while serving as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 2003-2006 Marine General James Jones (until recently the Obama administration's National Security Advisor) "sold (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld on turning Afghanistan over to NATO," according to the above-mentioned source.

In testimony before the U.S. Congress in 2007, Karl Eikenberry - at the time commanding general of the Pentagon's Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, shortly afterward deputy commander of NATO's 28-nation Military Committee and currently American ambassador to Afghanistan - argued that "the policy of turning Afghanistan over to NATO was really about the future of NATO rather than about that could 'make' the alliance. The long view of the Afghanistan campaign is that it is a means to continue the transformation of the alliance." [1]

Rather than "reinventing" NATO to make it "relevant" and to gratuitously preserve a Cold War relic, although doing only that allows the U.S. to retain air and naval bases and nuclear weapons on the European continent as well as extending its global missile shield and cyber warfare command there, transforming NATO means in the first place expanding it into a global military force, one able to wage wars like that in Afghanistan and others modeled after it.

It is worth noting that while making his case for NATO control of all Western military operations in Afghanistan in February of 2007, then-Lieutenant General Eikenberry was in command of 12,000 U.S. troops in the Afghan war theater. Less than four years later there are 100,000 American service members there.

The Porter article also asserts that the George W. Bush administration promoted a NATO role in Afghanistan in part to free up American forces for the invasion and occupation of Iraq which began in March of 2003.

However, as noted above, there were only 12,000 U.S. troops and a far smaller amount of non-U.S. NATO forces in Afghanistan four years after the launching of Operation Iraqi Freedom; a negligible number in relation to the 140,000 American troops in Iraq in early 2007.

In fact both Iraq and Afghanistan - previously the Balkans and since Africa - have been used by Washington to integrate the armed forces of scores of nations around the world into a global expeditionary military formation complementing the NATO Response Force.

Between 2003 and 2006 there were troop contingents from over forty nations in the Multi-National Force -" Iraq, including ones from 21 of 28 current NATO member states and from the military bloc's Partnership for Peace integration program. The Polish-led Multinational Division Central-South was supported by NATO since its creation in December of 2003.

Of today's 28 NATO states, only seven - France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Greece and Turkey - did not deploy troops to Iraq, although all 28 are now supporting the NATO Training Mission-Iraq and Turkey permitted the stationing of three Dutch Patriot missile batteries on its soil shortly before the invasion of Iraq after all NATO members but France - at the time still outside Alliance military structures - approved the deployments under NATO's Article 4 provisions.

Starting in earnest in 2006 troops from NATO member and partner states were withdrawn from Iraq and redeployed to Afghanistan.

The following 33 nations supplied the U.S. with troops for the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Tonga and Ukraine.

Most of the above nations also provided troops for the NATO missions in Bosnia starting in 1995, Kosovo in 1999 and Macedonia in 2001, the last beginning only months before the invasion of Afghanistan. Late last month the NATO senior military representative to Macedonia handed control over a military camp to Macedonian Defense Minister Zoran Konjanovski, who stated on the occasion that "the act symbolized Macedonia's maturity and readiness, as well as the country's principled partnership with NATO, which has been proven in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq." [2] NATO intervened in Macedonia in 2001 as an alleged mediator between the government and armed insurgents operating out of NATO-occupied Kosovo, members of the so-called Albanian National Army, to enforce a power sharing arrangement between the country's legitimate, elected authorities and a force of armed invaders spawned by the Kosovo Liberation Army.

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at:
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