FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rebuilding Afghanistan?

by William Blum

“U.S. Meeting Envisions Rebuilding Afghanistan” read the headline in the Washington Post of November 21. After a one-day meeting in Washington of leaders from two dozen nations and international organizations, US and Japanese officials said they had developed an “action program” for the long-term rebuilding of the war-ravaged country.

This should throw another log on the feel-good-about-America fire that’s been warming the frazzled citizenry since September 11. But like much of that fuel, there’s likely a lot more propaganda here than substance.

It’s a remarkable pattern. The United States has a long record of bombing nations, reducing entire neighborhoods, and much of cities, to rubble, wrecking the infrastructure, ruining the lives of those the bombs didn’t kill. And afterward doing nothing to repair the damage.

On January 27, 1973, in Paris, the United States signed the “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam”. Among the principles to which the United States agreed was the one stated in Article 21: “In pursuance of its traditional policy [sic], the United States will contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam [North Vietnam] and throughout Indochina.”

Five days later, President Nixon sent a message to the Prime Minister of North Vietnam in which he stipulated the following:

“(1)The Government of the United States of America will contribute to postwar reconstruction in North Vietnam without any political conditions. (2)Preliminary United States studies indicate that the appropriate programs for the United States contribution to postwar reconstruction will fall in the range of $3.25 billion of grant aid over 5 years.”

Nothing of the promised reconstruction aid was ever paid. Or ever will be.

During the same period, Laos and Cambodia were devastated by US bombing as unrelentlessly as was Vietnam. After the Indochina wars were over, these nations, too, qualified to become beneficiaries of the America’s “traditional policy” of zero reconstruction.

Then came the American bombings of Grenada and Panama in the 1980s.

There goes our neighborhood. Hundreds of Panamanians petitioned the Washington-controlled Organization of American States as well as American courts, all the way up to the US Supreme Court, for “just compensation” for the damage caused by Operation Just Cause (this being the not-tongue-in-cheek name given to the American invasion and bombing). They got just nothing, as did the people of Grenada.

It was Iraq’s turn next, in 1991: 40 days and nights of relentless bombing; destruction of power, water and sanitation systems and everything else that goes into the making of a modern society. We all know how much the United States has done to help rebuild Iraq.

In 1998, Washington in its grand wisdom fired more than a dozen cruise missiles into a building in Sudan which it claimed was producing chemical and biological weapons. The completely destroyed building was actually a pharmaceutical plant which was producing about 90 percent of the drugs used to treat the most deadly illnesses in this desperately poor country. The United States effectively admitted its mistake by unfreezing the assets of the plant’s owner it had frozen. Surely now it was compensation time. But as of October 2001, nothing had been paid to the owner, the government, or those injured in the bombing.

The following year we had the case of Yugoslavia; 78 days of round-the-clock bombing, transforming an advanced state into virtually a pre-industrial one; the reconstruction needs were breathtaking. Two years later, June 2001, after the Serbs had obediently followed Washington’s wishes to oust Slobodan Milosevic and turn him over to the kangaroo court in the Hague that the US had pushed through the Security Council, a “donor’s conference” was convened by the European Commission and the World Bank, supposedly concerned with Yugoslavia’s reconstruction. It turned out to be a conference concerned with Yugoslavia’s debts more than anything else.

Serbian premier Zoran Djindjic, regarded as highly pro-Western, said, in a July interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, that he felt betrayed by the West.

“It would have been better if the donors-conference had not taken place and instead we had been given 50 million DM in cash. … In August we should be getting the first installment, 300 million Euro. Suddenly we are being told, that 225 million Euro will be withheld for the repayment of old debts which in part were accumulated during Tito’s time. Two thirds of that sum are fines and interests, accrued because Milosevic refused for ten years to pay back these credits. We shall get the remaining 75 million Euro in November at the earliest. Such are the principles in the West, we are being told. This means: A seriously ill person is to be given medicine after he is dead. Our critical months will be July, August and September.”

It’s been more than two years since Yugoslavian bridges fell into the Danube, the country’s factories and homes destroyed, its roads made unusable. As of yet, the country has not received any funds for reconstruction from the architect and leading perpetrator of the bombing campaign, the United States.

Whoever winds up ruling Afghanistan will be conspicuously unable to block the establishment of US military bases, electronic listening posts, oil and gas piplelines, or whatever else Washington would like to build there. As to the United States doing some building for the Afghan people, they may have a long wait.

William Blum is the author of “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” and “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” Portions of the books can be read at: http://members.aol.com/superogue/homepage.htm (with a link to Killing Hope)

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians to the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
Rivera Sun
Accountability: An Abandoned American Value
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
Robert Koehler
The Heart of Order
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
August 25, 2016
Mike Whitney
The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance
John W. Whitehead
Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State
Lewis Evans
Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana
Daniel Kovalik
Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads
Sam Husseini
How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear
Ramzy Baroud
Punishing the Messenger: Israel’s War on NGOs Takes a Worrying Turn
Norman Pollack
Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race
Simon Wood
Where are the Child Victims of the West?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail