A primer on the war in Afghanistan

January 14, 2010 at 12:22 am (Global Issues, Politics) (, , , )


By John Chuckman

Recently unemployed terrorists, let go without pension

The most fundamental realities of the war in Afghanistan include the following.

The Taleban is not an invading guerrilla force. The word “insurgents” nicely hides the fact that they are natives of the land we have invaded.

Moreover, they are a substantial portion of the population, not a small group.

And they attacked no one.

The 9/11 bunch were mainly Saudis, almost certainly on a secret CIA training program in the U.S. that went very sour (they had valid American visas, and they were being followed closely by Mossad).

Osama bin Laden has been dead since the horrific bombing of Tora Bora. The extent of that bombing has been kept secret, but it was earth-shattering by first-hand accounts.

Al Qaeda, as a former British Foreign Secretary admitted a few years ago, does not exist. It is a Pentagon nickname to cover a group of disparate fundamentalist Muslims who hate American policy. The word means toilet.

America has worked to keep alive the idea of both bin Laden and Al Qaeda because they serve as focuses for the lunatic “war on terror.”

You cannot have a war on a technique or a set of attitudes; it’s a pure nonsense, rather like Israel’s mantra about there being no such thing as a Palestinian people.

America went to Afghanistan, dragging others along, for vengeance, which it got in spades. Now, it does not know what to do.

In a sense, it is the victim of its own propaganda. As well, there are now huge entrenched interests in the Afghanistan effort, everything from Blackwater Corporation (renamed Xe Services LLC) to the manufacturers of Hellfire missiles. America’s Israel apologists, too, never saw a war against Muslims they didn’t like: put them in their place, so to speak.

A very great assembly of forces for a newcomer like Obama to oppose, and, truth be told, he has already buckled.

But he cannot win his war. Absolutely, he cannot hold down a huge country of 30 million people, a land of mountains and deserts and sweltering heat and hardscrabble poverty; moreover, a place where millions deeply resent America’s arrogance and brutality.

One hopes that Obama intends only to make a show and to reach a compromise with the Taleban from a position of increased strength and then get out with a shred of dignity. It is starting a system of payoffs — successful short-term in Iraq — hundreds of millions for opponents to lay down their arms temporarily.

But I am not optimistic. The Afghans are some of the toughest, hardest people on earth, largely because they live in an extreme part of the world with almost no wealth. 

The most fundamental realities of the war in Afghanistan include the following.

The Taleban is not an invading guerrilla force. The word “insurgents” nicely hides the fact that they are natives of the land we have invaded.

Moreover, they are a substantial portion of the population, not a small group.

And they attacked no one.

The 9/11 bunch were mainly Saudis, almost certainly on a secret CIA training program in the U.S. that went very sour (they had valid American visas, and they were being followed closely by Mossad).

Osama bin Laden has been dead since the horrific bombing of Tora Bora. The extent of that bombing has been kept secret, but it was earth-shattering by first-hand accounts.

Al Qaeda, as a former British Foreign Secretary admitted a few years ago, does not exist. It is a Pentagon nickname to cover a group of disparate fundamentalist Muslims who hate American policy. The word means toilet.

America has worked to keep alive the idea of both bin Laden and Al Qaeda because they serve as focuses for the lunatic “war on terror.”

You cannot have a war on a technique or a set of attitudes; it’s a pure nonsense, rather like Israel’s mantra about there being no such thing as a Palestinian people.

America went to Afghanistan, dragging others along, for vengeance, which it got in spades. Now, it does not know what to do.

In a sense, it is the victim of its own propaganda. As well, there are now huge entrenched interests in the Afghanistan effort, everything from Blackwater Corporation (renamed Xe Services LLC) to the manufacturers of Hellfire missiles. America’s Israel apologists, too, never saw a war against Muslims they didn’t like: put them in their place, so to speak.

A very great assembly of forces for a newcomer like Obama to oppose, and, truth be told, he has already buckled.

But he cannot win his war. Absolutely, he cannot hold down a huge country of 30 million people, a land of mountains and deserts and sweltering heat and hardscrabble poverty; moreover, a place where millions deeply resent America’s arrogance and brutality.

One hopes that Obama intends only to make a show and to reach a compromise with the Taleban from a position of increased strength and then get out with a shred of dignity. It is starting a system of payoffs — successful short-term in Iraq — hundreds of millions for opponents to lay down their arms temporarily.

But I am not optimistic. The Afghans are some of the toughest, hardest people on earth, largely because they live in an extreme part of the world with almost no wealth.

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