The war in Afghanistan that U.S., NATO, and other troop forces continue to perpetrate enters its tenth year today. A quick search reveals the pundits of television news can barely bring themselves to open a conversation on this anniversary. The midterm elections are far more important, what with the vibrancy of the Tea Party candidates who may or may not create huge losses for the Democrats on November 2.
The New York Times suggested in July of this year that Afghanistan is an "afterthought" for Americans. Jobs, the economy, and immigration are the key issues to political leaders running for election because Americans' chief concerns are unemployment, foreclosures, and increased costs of living.
Concerned citizens have tried to open up meaningful conversations. Many activists worked hard to get a peace message into a "One Nation Working Together" rally that was held on October 2nd on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They pushed to get speakers into the program for the major rally, but in the end, push back from organizers worried about alienating unions with members employed by corporations, which happen to be part of the military industrial-complex, prevented the peace and justice movement from getting much needed attention to the wars the Obama Administration have continued and escalated.
Much of the motivation for peace and justice organizers getting involved in the planning of the "One Nation" event was to have the connection made that funding war has had a detrimental impact on the economy and has contributed to a lack of investment in jobs here at home. It was to make a statement that money that could have been spent on funding human needs has been put into wars for the securing of American interests in the Middle East instead. Sadly, that message did not resonate with the organizers enough to take the risk that speaker after speaker would get up on stage and express dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration and Democrats who need activists to appear enthusiastic so they can stave off significant losses in November.
An opening presented itself when Wikileaks had Der Spiegel, The Guardian and The New York Times release the "Afghan War Diaries"--over seventy thousand incident reports detailing the realities of the war in Afghanistan and providing justification for opening up investigations of war crimes committed in Afghanistan--during the summer. The documents provided information on a US-assassination squad in Afghanistan operating with a "kill-and-capture list," drones prone to system failures, Pakistan's arming of the Taliban, the CIA's expansion of paramilitary operations, unreporting and underreporting of civilian deaths by forces, US cover-up of Taliban activity, and intelligence operations awash in data analysts involved don't know what to do with.
Salient parts of the "diaries," however, did not lead to increased grassroots activity to end the war. The revelations were drowned in rhetoric about the nature of the Wikileaks operation and its threat to U.S. military operations. President Obama, generals, and political leaders brushed aside revelations while simultaneously reminding Americans decisions about the Afghanistan War had already been made and the war would continue regardless of whatever truths were in the leaked documents.
In the past months, a documentary, "The Tillman Story," on how Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan was a friendly-fire incident covered up by the military and how the incident was transformed into propaganda for the war effort in Afghanistan has been released. A book, "The Case for Withdrawal from Afghnistan," featuring authors like Tariq Ali, Andrew J. Bacevich, Juan Cole, Chalmers Johnson, and Malalai Joya, was recently released providing historical context and ample argument for ending the war. And, Brave New Films' documentary project,"Rethink Afghanistan," continues to produce media that challenges the official storyline the U.S. government is trying to promote on the Afghanistan War.