FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Afghanistan’s Highway to Nowhere

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

Every major newspaper in the country reported this week in glowing terms on the completion of the road between Kabul to Kandahar. It is being lauded by the media as Afghanistan’s “Highway to the Future”. It should be called the Highway to Re-election, since that is Mr. Bush’s solitary purpose in pursuing the project.

It is astonishing, however, to see how uniformly the “free press” lends itself to the self-serving interests of the executive. Most of the articles are so absurdly biased, they read as though they were written by an understudy of Donald Rumsfeld in the Pentagon.

Are we really expected to believe that progress is being made in Afghanistan because a road is finished?

Afghanistan is a mess. The Bush Administration has minimized its involvement from the very beginning, keeping its promise to party loyalists who disparage the wastefulness of “nation building”. Now, we are left with the affects of that neglect. The countryside is controlled by the regional warlords and narco-trafficers, and factional fighting is steadily increasing. The security vacuum the war has precipitated has left the prospect of any democratic form of government extremely remote if not impossible.

Never the less, as long as the Bush camp can control the narrative in the American media, it seems unlikely that these failures will reflect poorly on the President or hurt his chances for re-election. It’s critical that the President demonstrates that we are making headway in Afghanistan and not simply generating the type of anger and anti-Americanism that our limited involvement has in fact caused. The Bush “Marshal Plan” for reconstruction has been a major letdown and a prescription for anarchy. Well placed cadres in the media are expected to dress up this conspicuous disaster by elevating highway construction to a level of genuine progress. It is not.

One of the many ironies of the Kabul-Kandahar Highway is that UN aid workers are only allowed to access 40 miles of the entire 300 mile route. In other words, security is so abysmal that safe passage on the newly minted Bush Autobahn cannot be guaranteed. Is there a more poignant indication of flawed logic then an administration that provides roads when people have no dependable sanctuary?

At three hundred miles in length we are also reminded of the estimated 3000 innocent Afghanis who died in the war. According to the Bush Calculus, that translates into ten lives per mile, a bargain by current standards. Perhaps, we can use this as a benchmark for other paving projects in Muslim countries? It may well be that the White House is looking for just such a reliable yardstick to measure the human suffering it is causing. This cost-benefits analysis is entirely consistent with the business-like manner in which the administration likes to conduct its depredations.

We should expect to see a great deal more of our “amazing progress” in Afghanistan now that the election cycle is upon us. The Bush Administration has allocated an additional $700 million to this end. We’ll undoubtedly see the pet projects that are dreamed up by Karl Rove and his mentors on Madison Ave (Home of the Public relations industry) put on full display for a compliant and adoring media. This should suffice in illustrating the profound commitment of the President to reconstruction, while noting his many accomplishments so far.

As for the “Highway to the Future”, it will probably be employed by the growing numbers of the Taliban, who are promising to restore order to a fractured country.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail