FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rebuilding Afghanistan?

“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:
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science – Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail