FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A War Without Logic

“All we have to do is send two mujahedeen [warriors] to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth saying ‘al-Qa’ida’ in order to make generals race there, and we cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses – without their achieving anything of note!”

–Osama bin Laden, November 1, 2004, CNN

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,…but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

–Former Foreign Service officer and Marine Captain Matthew Hoh, Washington Post, October 27, 2009

President Obama can leave, reduce, maintain or increase troop strength. Escalation proponents omit Bush’s original mission: to get bin Laden. Then he talked himself into war in Iraq and forgot bin Laden.

Max Boot banged war drums then. Now he wants more war in Afghanistan. Boot wants to escalate because “Afghanistan’s corruption problem, like its security problem, can be best addressed by additional troops.” Marines bayoneting corruption in Kabul?

“Only by sending more personnel, military and civilian,” he concludes, “can President Obama improve the Afghan government’s performance, reverse the Taliban’s gains and prevent Al Qaeda’s allies from regaining the ground they lost after 9/11.” (NY Times, Oct. 21, 2009) Wow! How about using the Air Force to fight global warming?

Boot omits the original Bush myths justifying invading Afghanistan. The Taliban government did house al-Qaida’s training camps, as Bush claimed, and Al-Qaida operatives perpetrated the 9/11 deeds. But these facts did not relate to the actual 9/11 deeds. Bush’s impulse to make war in Afghanistan quickly turned to actual zeal in March 2003. Iraq became his focus of the terror war. Most Tallies had escaped to the safety of neighboring Pakistan – a loyal U.S. ally.

The 9/11 fanatics, however, conspired in apartments in Germany and used U.S. flight schools to learn how to steer large aircraft into larger buildings. Box cutters cut throats as well as cardboard. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists were Saudis; no Afghanis. Jihadists later hit Spain, France and England, their countries of residence. The July 7, 2005, bombers of the British public transportation system learned their “skills” on the web, not in Afghan training camps.

By 2009, no more that 100 suicidal jihadists remained in Afghanistan, according to National Security Advisor General Jim Jones. “As we disrupt [al-Qa’ida], they will seek other safe havens,” explained CIA Chief Leon Panetta. “Somalia and Yemen are potential al-Qa’ida bases in the future.” Imagine the headlines: “U.S. troops to Somalia and Yemen; deficit mushrooms.”

Boot and other escalation advocates equate Afghan Taliban fighters with al-Qaida. A U.S. intelligence study, however, concluded that 90 per cent of the Taliban belong to “a tribal insurgency.” “Their opposition derives from the U.S. ‘as an occupying power’,” wrote Bryan Bender. According tothe intelligence report, the Afghan Tallies have no cross-border ambitions. (Boston Globe October 9, 2009)

Those proposing escalation on human rights grounds have invented their own Afghanistan. In the 1980s, the CIA paid warlords to fight the Soviets – because they represented Western culture. Some of these brutes now support President Karzai, who turned election fraud into comic opera. Karzai’s brother, a suspected narcotrafficker, is reported to be on the CIA payroll (NY Times, Oct 28). Do we commit to such “democratic” allies in Kabul?

More humanitarian aid — schools and hospitals — at a time when the U.S. can’t take care of its own needs? Such incongruities inspired Nick Meo: “trying to defeat al-Qa’ida with hundreds of thousands of occupying troops and Predator jets is like trying to treat cancer with a blowtorch.” (Telegraph, Oct. 18, 2009)

After eight years of war, bin Laden remains free. Drones have killed supposed chiefs and number twos along with countless innocents. Their deaths dramatize the obvious downside of occupying armies.

Since 1945, the U.S. armed forces have failed to prevail in conflicts where locals resist. Washington gossip indicates Obama leaning toward advice from NY Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman.

“A strong, healthy and self-confident America,” wrote Friedman, “holds the world together and on a decent path. A weak America would be a disaster for us and the world.”

He despairs over the U.S. military’s projection “that stabilizing Afghanistan and removing it as a threat requires rebuilding that whole country… a 20-year project at best, and we can’t afford it.” Friedman understands that “nation-building at home” does not coincide with the $4 billion a month Afghan cost — $1.3 million per soldier. (Congressional Research Service, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article23808.htm#)

Friedman doesn’t follow his own logic and advise Obama to “quit.” Instead, he proposes “shrinking down in Afghanistan.” This “will create new threats, but expanding there will, too. I’d rather deal with the new threats with a stronger America.” (NY Times, October 28) The cojones problem again?

SAUL LANDAU won Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins award for human rights. Counterpunch published his A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD. He is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films on DVD are available. (roundworldproductions@gmail.com)

More articles by:

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail