By Leah Bolger and David Swanson
"We did not choose this war. This war came to us on 9/11. We don't go looking for a fight. But when we see our homeland violated, when we see our fellow citizens killed, then we understand what we have to do."
These are the words that President Obama used on Tuesday to describe the Afghanistan war, but they would have been more appropriately said by any Afghan citizen.
Coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States, these words are nothing more than nationalistic propaganda -- designed to justify an aggressive war of choice launched against a sovereign nation. Somebody chose this war, and it certainly wasn't the Afghan people -- 92% of whom have never even heard of the events of 9/11.
The Afghan people have responded just as almost any would to an attack. They have seen their "homeland violated" and their "fellow citizens killed," and they are reacting in self-defense. Because they are fighting back, we label them "insurgents" and call them the enemy. Then we label violence caused by the enemy "terrorism," and somehow use this rhetoric to justify killing innocent people " collateral damage we call it. This is a vicious cycle that cannot resolve itself, except by the removal of the occupying army.
What do you think the Afghan people call the violence that we impose on them? How can we as Americans be so callous, so blinded by our own misplaced righteousness, that we can't see that we are guilty of the very thing that we claim to be fighting? Perhaps to some extent we do see it. A majority of people in the United States tell pollsters they want the war ended. We forget we're a majority because nobody ever mentions us on television.
It is hard to believe that Obama has any understanding of the consequences of war when he makes no mention of its effect on the Afghan people. Not one word was spent acknowledging the ramifications of our war of choice from the other side. If you didn't know better, you would think that Americans are the only ones who have sacrificed or suffered in the Afghanistan war.
Does Obama not realize how petty and uncaring he sounds when he consoles U.S. troops because they missed a birthday or a soccer game, while his war has killed thousands of Afghan and Pakistani children? He says that as President, "nothing is more wrenching than signing a letter to a family of the fallen, or looking in the eyes of a child who will grow up without a mother or father." But of course, he means a fallen American soldier, and the eyes of an American child.
Everything that Obama said about Afghanistan was framed in U.S. terms:
"I recognize that many Americans are tired of war."
Seriously?! Hell yes, we're tired of it. What about the Afghans? Think they might be getting a little weary? It's not about us being "tired." It's about the immorality and illegality of waging war.
"We must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly."
Was this "job" started or waged responsibly? Who decides what "responsible" means?
"More than 500,000 of our sons and daughters have sacrificed to protect our country."
"our sons and daughters, our country.
"Some of your buddies are going to get injured, and some of your buddies may get killed."