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Afghanistan is No One's War: "All Foreigners Are Our Enemy"
by Counterpunch (reposted)
Sunday Jul 9th, 2006 1:37 PM
A summary of events leading to the invasion of Afghanistan is helpful.

Following 9/11, the Taleban government said it would extradite Osama bin Laden if the U.S. could produce evidence against him. This is the approach taken by the courts of every Western country when extradition is requested.

The U.S. either could not or would not produce any evidence, yet it insisted the Taleban was behaving in bad faith and harboring criminals.

To this day, the public has not been given one genuine piece of evidence that ties bin Laden to 9/11. I'm not saying he's innocent, only that there was no proof at the time Bush used him as an excuse to invade Afghanistan.

Bin Laden certainly did not like the United States, but was he in any way responsible for a great crime? How would his apparent happiness with events distinguish him from the group of Israeli spies in the New York area who were photographed, reported to police, and arrested (later being quietly deported) after dancing and shouting atop a truck as the World Trade Center billowed into flames? To this day, the FBI wanted-notice for bin Laden does not mention 9/11.

I am sure that with a real campaign of pressure - diplomatic, legal, and economic - America could have secured bin Laden's extradition. Bush's government didn't really try. Invasion was an attractive option for many reasons. These include satisfying the bellowing, belly-over-the-belt types that are Bush's natural constituency, doing something for Bush's missing leadership credentials, gaining new influence over a nuclear and uncooperative Pakistan, building a long-planned trans-Afghanistan pipeline, and, importantly, preparing the way for an invasion of Iraq, something discussed and advocated for years before in Bush's Neo-con crowd.

Afghanistan is an ancient, backward civilization with an average life expectancy of 45 years. Those who really know a lot about the country tended to say from the beginning that it was unrealistic for the U.S. to expect to make meaningful change there. This interpretation agrees with generally accepted principles of economic development, in particular the principle that social and political changes only come gradually with steady economic growth. One is tempted to say that the U.S. could have brought more genuine, positive change in Afghanistan and Iraq by dropping planeloads of dollar bills rather than bombs.

Although American military destruction in Afghanistan appears to have been less than in Iraq, this largely reflects the fact that there was little infrastructure in Afghanistan to start with, especially when compared with what existed in Iraq, once the Arab world's most advanced country. Still, relative terms are what count here, and destruction in Afghanistan was considerable. Now that the financial costs of the two wars and the instability and risk of the occupations have proved much greater than anticipated, Bush is not able to execute even rushed, poorly-made plans for reconstruction. This is not a formula for long-term success even if you are a Neo-con visionary.


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by CJ Stone
(chris [at] Monday Jul 10th, 2006 11:23 PM
There is a political phenomenon known as “blowback”. It represents the unintended consequences of foreign policy actions. For example, the United States and Great Britain overthrew a functioning democracy in Iran in 1953. Then, after years of extreme repression under the Western-backed Shah, the Iranian people finally rose up and installed an Islamic regime fundamentally hostile to the West.

We are living with the consequences to this day.

A similar process is going on in Afghanistan right now.

Afghanistan was always a wild and a lawless country, and there have been numerous attempts over the centuries to tame it. The British had a go in the 19th century. So did the Russians more recently.

In the years of the Russian occupation the West supported Al Qaeda and the narco-trafficking Afghan warlords. After the Soviet withdrawal we allowed that poor, dry, opium-ridden country to go back to its lawless ways.

The Afghans have been fighting each other for over thirty years. The irony here is that it was the Taliban who finally brought order and peace to the land in the mid nineties. It was the Taliban who stopped the heroin trade.

Now we are fighting the Taliban again, heroin is on the rise, and British troops are being killed in some obscure corner of the world that most of us never even knew existed. How many of you had heard of Helmand Province before the latest troop deployments?

It is worth asking who the Taliban are. On film they look like some ragged ghostly army haunting the dusty mountain wildernesses between Afghanistan and Pakistan, like vengeful warriors from a medieval past.

Well I can tell you EXACTLY who the they are. They are not ghosts. They have a history. They are the orphaned sons of thirty years of the Afghan wars, brought up in the madrassa schools of Pakistan, funded by our great “ally” Saudi Arabia.

The Taliban are oppressive to women because they have never known women. They have never known mothers or aunts or sisters or wives. They have had a peculiar, violent, repressive form of Islam whipped into them for endless years. That’s how they grew up. In other words, this is an army made up almost entirely of abused children.

This is what I mean by “blowback”. The Taliban are the unintended result of Western foreign policy, the creation of those two Islamic allies in the war on terror, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and of years of shameful neglect. We allowed them to fight our wars for us during the Cold War era, taking on the might of the Soviet Empire, and then left them to rot.

Tell me: why should we expect them to be grateful now?