Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. These were Cockburn’s rules for how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, CounterPunch will get a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC (This photo of Alexander Cockburn and Jasper, on the couch that launched 1000 columns, was taken in Petrolia by Tao Ruspoli)
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Europeans Don't Follow Their Leader

The Afghan Folly

by TARIQ ALI

Italian, British and German soldiers are being returned from Afghanistan to their countries in coffins. Why? Through no fault of their own but because politicians of centre-right/centre-left despatched them to fight an imperial war on behalf of Washington. In Italy, to its eternal shame, Rifondazione voted to continue the Italian presence in the Hindu Kush. Die Linke in Germany was far more principled, in a country where 80 percent are not in favor, albeit ignored by mainstream politicians. In Britain and Italy, too, there are large sections of the population opposed to the war. Their voices remain unheard in the corridors of power: Brown and Berlusconi have become blood-brothers.      

When European politicians justify the slaughter of Afghans and the death of their own soldiers by mouthing mantras to the effect that this is necessary to safeguard Italian/German/British citizens, they speak falsely and the lies are deliberate for they have no other answer. Nor has Washington. At a time when US and European intelligence agencies continue to repeat that al-Qaida is no longer a threat, but terrorism remains a problem they never explain in public that the longer the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan continue, the more young people will be attracted to terrorist-type solutions.  

Obama’s decision to expand the war by sending more troops to Afghanistan and treating Islamabad as if it were Baghdad is an extremely serious error.
Disaster stares him in the face and no amount of rhetoric, sweet-talk, PR initiatives will solve the problem. Washington needs an exit strategy from that country but the longer it delays the greater the chance that no serious exit strategy will work and that one day, finally, US troops will have to be withdrawn Saigon-style leaving behind them a country in ruins.

The Afghan ‘Taliban’ is now an umbrella underneath which Pashtuns of various political hues have assembled to resist and drive out the invader. Obviously this means that Washington is constantly trying to negotiate with and split the Taliban as they did the resistance in Iraq, but here they have met with total failure. The Pashtun nationalists are difficult to defeat via religion since the overwhelming bulk of them are Sunni. They are difficult to defeat ideologically since they believe their cause is just and the absolute failure to rebuild and re-equip the country has meant that more and more people agree with them, not that social reforms necessarily work as the Russians discovered to their enormous cost in the 1980s.

The EU is a gutless and useless entity on the political level. It cannot speak with one voice, but its citizens must learn not to emulate their weak and pathetic politicians but demand with increasing vigor a withdrawal of all European troops from Afghanistan.      

TARIQ ALI’s latest book, The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom and other Essays,  has just been published by Verso.