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.

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail