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

 

More articles by:

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.

November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohamed bin Salman
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail