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Obama Surge War Porn

by fairleft Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 06:06:31 PM EST


The Nobel War is Peace Prize

U.S. soldier lives are less precious than Afghan civilian lives

Obama is irrelevant

An escalation nightmare survey, some of it maybe leading to deep background understanding of what the hell is going on

Big Tent Democrat (Armando at DailyKos) recites his careerist/loyalty oath to the Obamascalation, which includes this irresponsible and wrong statement:

Whatever happens going forward, I think it is irresponsible and wrong to argue the United States is there because it has imperial designs on Afghanistan.

Little me, not that this stuff isn't too f-ing easy, talks back to duh man:

it is irresponsible and wrong
by fairleft on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 12:30:01 PM EST

to pretend the United States is there because it doesn't have imperial designs on Afghanistan. Heck, forget designs, we're there, we're running the show, that's imperialism. Imperialism is the fact, why we're establishing an imperialist outpost in Afghanistan is the unanswered question, imho. None of the reasons we're there offered by Obama make sense: (1) to give time to Afghan army to get its act together (not going to happen, we know that); (2) nukes in Pakistan (they're in the hands of the non-Pashtun majority and that won't change); (3) chasing al qaeda (we're in Afghanistan in the tens of thousands, fighting the Taliban, in order to catch 100 members of Al Qaeda?).

Another good comment at Armando's diary:

Yep (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by DancingOpossum on Wed Dec 02, 2009 at 10:43:09 AM EST

Nothing Obama is doing or saying is a surprise, on neither the domestic nor the foreign-policy front.

Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghani parliament, says that in announcing the new surge, Obama

will be making something worse than a mistake. It is a continuation of a war crime against the suffering people of my country.

I have said before that by installing warlords and drug traffickers in power in Kabul, the US and Nato have pushed us from the frying pan to the fire. Now Obama is pouring fuel on these flames, and this week's announcement of upwards of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will have tragic consequences.

Also, Al Jazeera had a poll up finding that among the Afghani people, the U.S. enjoys a hefty 20% popularity rating (Karzai's is over 60%). But what does it matter what they think, it's only their country, right?

Oh and then there's the little matter of massive defections from the Afghan army.

Whatever you think of its Trotskyist politics, WSWS makes a superior to pwoggieland, reality-based and moderate assessment:

Obama's invocation of the attacks of September 11, 2001 to portray the war as a defense against terrorism is a fraud. The real reason for the occupation of Afghanistan--widely discussed within the foreign policy establishment--is to maintain a dominant position in oil-rich Central Asia in the interests of the global strategy of American imperialism.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which then-president Jimmy Carter denounced as an illegal act of international aggression. What was not widely known at the time is that the US deliberately provoked Moscow to undertake its military adventure by financing and arming Mujahedeen guerrillas opposed to the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. Among those on the CIA payroll were Osama bin Laden and current leaders of the Taliban.

The result of this imperialist policy, authored by then-national security adviser and current foreign policy adviser to Obama, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has been three decades of war, civil war and social devastation. The Obama administration is intensifying this colonialist enterprise.

I agree with WSWS that the U.S war on Afghanistan is, on its face as the lawyers say, a neocolonial/imperial operation. I only disagree whether its objectives can confidently be stated. Sheer inertia of the military imperialist bureaucracy seems more the likely cause of the 'decision' to escalate. Those who benefit from war have controlling power over our two political parties, therefore war in Afghanistan is continued, the escalation a prudent step to prevent defeat.

Chris Floyd offers a good survey of informed opinion, including Juan Cole's. Here's Floyd:

Expanding the dirty war in Pakistan -- where the overwhelming majority of the people are incensed by the American military and CIA presence in their country -- is absolute madness...if what you really want to do is cure the "cancer" of extremism in the region, or "unleash the great potential" of the Pakistani people. Only an idiot could genuinely believe that murdering civilians and conducting "black ops" all over the country could somehow establish "security and prosperity" in Pakistan; and Obama is no idiot. But he, like all the mandarins of our ruling class, is counting on the fact that you are an idiot. . . .

So Obama's plan is to follow a strategy that has been proven over and over again to enflame Pashtun resistance and intensify violent ethnic conflict across Afghanistan. Again, only an idiot could actually believe such a policy would be an effective step toward achieving the goals mouthed by Obama in his speech. Perhaps the only thing that does Obama even a modicum of credit, relatively speaking, was the dull, glazed delivery of his address to the cadets; somewhere deep inside him, there was an actual human being who could not wholly hide the fact that he was speaking murderous bullshit . . .

And Glenn Greenwald can write some devastating paragraph (though trust he'll never commit the final act of War Party (D) disloyality):

Independent of motive, it is also quite unlikely that helping Afghans will be the unintended result of our ongoing war there.  Just as was true in Iraq -- where we bribed and befriended religious extremists and others we spent years demonizing as "Terrorists," and now protect a government that is extremely oppressive to women, Christians and gays, and brutally violative of human rights in general -- we will do whatever benefits us and serves our interests in Afghanistan, even if that means empowering brutal, oppressive and misogynistic fanatics as long as they are willing to carry out our geopolitical directives.  Many of the warlords and other local religious extremists on whom we're already relying and will now use even more are hardly distinguishable from the Taliban on human rights issues. . . .

I've written many times before why, on security grounds alone, I oppose escalation and even ongoing occupation.  The greatest cause of Terrorism is our endless wars, invasions, bombings, occupations and other means of interfering in the Muslim world, and our escalation will only fuel the anti-American hatred and resentment that -- as even our own Government has recognized -- is the primary fuel of the threat we're supposedly trying to arrest.

M. Shahid Alam describes the in-country servants (in Pakistan) that the imperial West relies on to carry out its "giant sucking sound" economics on all third world nations. Uses nice Franz Fanon quotes:

In the closing years of the colonial era, the nationalists had kept a watchful eye on native informers. In recent decades, as their power has grown several fold, this treasonous class has received little attention from left circles. Post-colonial critics continue to produce learned books and essays on the language, structures, tools, intricacies and even the arcana of Orientalism, but they pay scant attention to native Orientalism. These critics prefer to concentrate their firepower on the `far enemy,' the Western protagonists of Orientalism. Perhaps, they imagine that the native Orientalists, the `near enemy,' will vanish once the `far enemy' has been discredited. In truth, the `near enemy' has grown enormously even as the `far enemy' treads more cautiously.

Quite early, writing in the 1950s, Franz Fanon, in The Wretched of the Earth, had sounded the alarm about the treachery latent in the `national bourgeoisie' poised to step into the shoes of the white colonials and settlers in Africa. About this underdeveloped bourgeoisie, he writes, "its mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation; it consists, prosaically,  of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged, which today puts on the mask of neocolonialism."

"Because it is bereft of ideas," Fanon writes, "because it lives to itself and cuts itself off from the people, undermined by its hereditary incapacity to think in terms of all the problems of the nation as seen from point of view of the whole of that nation, the national middle class will have nothing better to do than to take on the role of manager for Western enterprise . . ."

It's useful to read Anand Gopal in tandem with the above. Gopal discusses our Afghan puppets:

The problems of the government are more than just corruption or ineffectiveness--they go back to its very founding. The Bonn Conference, which laid the foundation upon which the current government is built, was deeply flawed. It included every major warlord, criminal and human rights abuser except for two--the Taliban  and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. It should come as little surprise then that these are the two that are fighting against the Americans today.  Across the country, many warlords and commanders that committed atrocities during the nineties were put back into power, and in many cases they treated the local population poorly. We are still seeing the repercussions of that today.

Many Afghans say that they would like to see the whole thing go back to the drawing board--negotiate with the Taliban, form a national  unity government, rewrite the constitution, etc. Short of that, they  say that the current government can never really be representative and inspire loyalty throughout the country.

[The resistance] haven't proposed a serious peace plan that I am aware of, short of demanding that the foreign troops leave the country. There was a sort of "roadmap to peace" that was being talked about between some senior Taliban leaders and their interlocutors in Kabul (former Taliban officials who have made their peace with Karzai's government). It included a number of proposals: In the first step, the Taliban would stop impeding development efforts if the U.S. stops house raids and releases prisoners. In the next step, the two sides would negotiate directly over the the nature of future unity  government. Finally, the two sides would negotiate a timetable for withdrawal of troops. But this proposal never really got off the ground; it was stymied by the simple fact that the key party who would have to agree to all this--the U.S.--was never involved.  Moreover, when Obama announced a troop escalation this past spring, it sent the message to the Taliban leadership and their backers in Pakistan that this was not the time to negotiate but rather to bunker down and fight.

The above points out that the only reality-based resolution of the Afghanistan conflict will involve all the major Afghan parties to the war getting together and the U.S. butting out. This is what will eventually be done; the U.S. military is primarily there for awhile longer to collect paychecks and produce profits for campaign-donation heavy hitters. Again, not exactly secretive Machiavellian-level imperialism, but imperialism nonetheless.

Finally, well, as if we needed to know the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan history and that only an idiot would believe the U.S. will be 'successful' in Afghanistan by continuing to do what we're doing. But, read Zoltan Grossman for more of that analysis, well done:

By attacking U.S. embassies and eventually American cities, Bin Laden felt he could provoke another superpower to retaliate by occupying Afghanistan, and getting bogged down in the same futile war that the Soviets had lost. A few days before 9/11, Al Qaeda assassinated the only mujahedin leader who had unified the Northern Alliance, so the U.S. invaders would not be able to find a strong puppet ruler.

Two days after 9/11, Fisk published an article warning that "Retaliation is a Trap," but few Americans listened to his prediction. After the U.S. quickly drove the Taliban from Kabul with a high-tech war, it seemed that his prediction was even ludicrous. Now, Fisk looks downright prophetic, as the Americans are blindly following the path toward eventual stalemate and defeat.

So far the Americans are following the same script as the Soviets in Afghanistan. They believe that control over Kabul is control over the country, even though the insurgents run most of the countryside. They believe that aerial strikes by jets and drones (like the Soviets' HIND helicopters) would defeat the insurgents, when the bombing only alienated more civilians. They believed that torture would help to crack the insurgency, when it only legitimized Afghans' hatred of foreign rule. They believed that driving insurgents into Pakistan counted as victory, only to have created a border safe haven for the insurgency. They were also manipulated by tribal leaders to attack their rivals, driving the (previously neutral) rivals into the hands of the insurgency.

Finally finally, as if we need to be re-reminded by Eugene Robinson:

It is somewhat amazing the positive reception that the Obama speech is being given. We are a nation with near depression level unemployment, record debt, declining standard of living and severe economic problems. The administration wants to expand a war that has been at best a stalemate for eight years. A war half way around the world against an enemy that can operate in any country in the region.

I haven't noticed that positive reception, Eugene, but I'm not glued to inside-the-beltway ass-kissing -- I mean mainstream media pseudo-analysis -- so what do I know? Seriously, stop reading and listening to the usual laissez-faire corporate globalization suspects if you want to get any kind of understanding of the ugly reality the U.S. is foisting on the world. Afghanistan is a tiny corner but sure, you can start peeling back the happy face label there.

The Afghanistan journey with CODEPINK is quite a trip! | PINKtank
It's hard to believe the access and diversity of meetings that our 9-person delegation has had in the past few days! Little wonder our heads are spinning. We met with heads of women's organizations and women who are learning new skills from literacy to business classes. We were briefed by UN reps and international NGOs. We met with local groups researching conflict zones and participation in elections. We visited internal refugees living in makeshift tents, doctors in a maternity hospital, recovering drug addicts at their rehab center, artisans in their studios and businessmen in their sumptuous homes. We've interviewed journalists and been interview by journalists.


Our meetings have covered all kinds of topics, from military strategy to women's rights to opium policy. We've learned about the need to not only train Afghan soldiers and police, but pay them a living wage (their $200 salaries can't cover the basics for a family). We discussed the pros and cons of U.S. troops, and to our surprise, found very few people who would like the troops out now. Most say that the country would collapse into civil war or be taken over by the Taliban if the US troops were to leave. But that doesn't mean they want MORE troops. In fact, most want to see a phased out withdrawal of foreign troops, accompanied by a reconciliation process. We've had endless talks about what that process should look like, and who should be at the table (including women so their rights don't get further compromised!!!).

A Feminist Case for War? | The American Prospect

Women for Afghan Women (WAW), a nongovernmental organization  that runs women's shelters, schools, and counseling centers in three cities in Afghanistan, has watched with alarm as American opinion has turned against the occupation. An American withdrawal, its board members say, would be catastrophic for the women they work with. "Every woman who we have talked to in Afghanistan, all the Afghan women in the NGOs, in the government, say the United States and the peacekeeping troops and NATO must stay, they must not leave until the Afghan army is able to take over," says Esther Hyneman, a WAW board member who recently returned from six months in Kabul.

In fact WAW, which has over 100 staffers in Afghanistan and four in New York, is, with some reluctance, calling for a troop increase. "Women for Afghan Women deeply regrets having a position in favor of maintaining, even increasing troops," it said in a recent statement. "We are not advocates for war, and conditions did not have to reach this dire point, but we believe that withdrawing troops means abandoning 15 million women and children to madmen who will sacrifice them to their lust for power."

Wazhma Frogh - An Afghan Pullout Would Be a Rights Disaster - washingtonpost.com

As an Afghan woman who for many years lived a life deprived of the most basic human rights, I find unbearable the thought of what will happen to the women of my country if it once again falls under the control of the insurgents and militants who now threaten it.


Have people forgotten that it was the Taliban that put the lives of millions of Afghans at risk for the sole purpose of protecting Osama bin Laden -- thus making it clear that their loyalty was to him alone? What is to stop this from happening again under Taliban rule?

Afghans understand the need for international assistance, both for the country's development and for the strengthening of its military.


At this time of violence and anxiety, it is important for the international community and the United States to reaffirm their commitment to Afghanistan rather than questioning whether it is worth defending an entire people against those who would install another brutally repressive regime under which women cannot be educated or seek to improve their lot, where "justice" is meted out in mass public executions, where repression is the rule -- and where new terrorist plots will inevitably be hatched to attack the United States and its allies.

The people of Afghanistan, and most fervently its women, desire a long-term and consistent relationship with the United States and European democracies. We do not want to become another Vietnam. We want to be an example of the success of global commitment to making the world a better and safer place for everyone, from New York to London to Helmand.

The writer is a graduate student at Warwick University in Britain and has been active in human rights work in her country. She is the recipient of the U.S. State Department's 2009 International Women of Courage Award for Afghanistan.

La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'Úveillera, le monde tremblera.
by marco on Fri Dec 4th, 2009 at 01:17:27 AM EST
Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghani parliament, says that in announcing the new surge, Obama

will be making something worse than a mistake. It is a continuation of a war crime against the suffering people of my country.
I have said before that by installing warlords and drug traffickers in power in Kabul, the US and Nato have pushed us from the frying pan to the fire. Now Obama is pouring fuel on these flames, and this week's announcement of upwards of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will have tragic consequences.

Also, Al Jazeera had a poll up finding that among the Afghani people, the U.S. enjoys a hefty 20% popularity rating (Karzai's is over 60%). But what does it matter what they think, it's only their country, right?

Oh and then there's the little matter of massive defections from the Afghan army.

CodePink never left Kabul. I'd trust the opinion polls and the massive defections from the Afghan Army. And I think Joya's RAWA is the feminist group with the longstanding credibility, not WAW.


by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 06:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there is a problem that, because america doesn't see itself as an imperial power (which is bad, indeed it sees itself as a force for good in the world, american politicians believe that anything that america does must be for the betterment of the people to whom it is done.

So, feeling that they have the "white man's burden" of civilising the dusky tribes, they interfere because it's with the best intentions. To do otherwise is to shirk their responsibility.

We can see that the Afghanistan intervention is stupid and counter-productive, but that's not how the elites see it. And they are surrounded by courtiers and flatterers who benefit from the policy and allow no opportunity for dissent to be honestly expressed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 02:22:30 PM EST
The hard job of telling Americans the truth, that their country is not a nice guy most of the time internationally when it employs it army, is not one I'd expect politicians or politicos to find appealing. That job falls to the rest of us, perhaps on blogs, to tell.

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 06:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Countries are not nice guys most of the time internationally they employ armies.

That's the point of armies.

No need to single out the US, except that it seems to be employing armies internationally a lot more than most countries.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Dec 7th, 2009 at 04:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That realization alone would help people -- especially young potential cannon fodder -- understand my country in a way that might do some good. Especially if young people are shown the direct impact of uninvited invasion and occupation in the imperial target.

I think theorizing on the motivations, and then saying 'our motivations are good so it must not be imperialism', is the wrong way of arguing the issue. We have no idea what U.S. rulers' motivations are.

(this might be more a response to the previous comment than to you).


by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 05:28:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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