FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Endless War: 15 Years and Counting in Afghanistan

by

To hear Sonali Kolhatkar, the founding director of the U.S.-based solidarity organization Afghan Women’s Mission, is much like being wakened from a nightmare, only to realize that there is much truth in the demons of the night.

Kolhatkar recently appeared on The Real News Network in the segment “Afghanistan War at 15th Year Without End in Sight,” (October 7, 2016). She recounts the human and monetary costs of the war and the conclusion that the war will be conducted as business as usual (my words) following the presidential inauguration in 2017. The latter is a premise that is impossible to deny.

About one third of Afghanistan is now in Taliban hands after a decade and a half of fighting. One of the so-called hallmarks of the Bush-Cheney administration—the improvement of the lives of women in Afghanistan—remains a pipe dream, with only an infinitesimally small number of women in Afghanistan, who have money, who are able to achieve their educational or job goals, and these goals are only achievable in Kabul.

More than $850 billion has been spent by the U.S. in Afghanistan, and of that sum, $110 billion has gone to reconstruction of that country, about as much as went toward the Marshal Plan’s rebuilding of Europe following World War II. Over 91,000 Afghans have died as a result of war, with about 2,300 American dead. Honor killings against women go on. An Afghan warlord, Goberdine Gulbuddin a.k.a. “The butcher of Kabul,” who has fought on nearly every side of the war since the Soviet invasion of the 1980s, has been given amnesty and is able to live without fear despite a curriculum vitae of endless mayhem.

First the U.S. fights the Taliban and then it negotiates with them.  It is an endless cycle of violence. The European Union has committed $3.7 billion to the war for the next four years while pledging to send tens of thousands of Afghan refugees back to this war-torn nation in clear violation of the right to seek sanctuary from the ravages of war. The right to sanctuary for refugees is codified in various international treaties.

Republicans and Democrats don’t differ on the war in Afghanistan after 15 years. In 2008, Barack Obama called Afghanistan “The right battlefield,” in an attempt to contrast it with another failed state, Iraq, which he must have believed at the time was the wrong battlefield.  As of June 2016, 8,400 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan despite Obama’s commitment to end the war by 2016. The war has almost universal bipartisan support in Congress. Never will the concept of blowback enter into the “debate” about war and the absence of peace. It’s as if ISIS and the Taliban and al- Qaeda sprang from nowhere. It’s as if the West had no designs for fossil fuels in the Middle East for a century. Fossil fuels coupled with global power politics created the perfect storm of endless violence. It is the state of the permanent war economy.

Barack Obama, who was seen in somewhat positive eyes by the peace movement in the U.S. during his first campaign for the presidency, got a Monopoly “get out of jail free card” on Afghanistan and was able to wage warfare there for his entire presidency. The prospects for that policy to continue are a sure bet with a weak antiwar movement and the horror of September 11, 2001 an ever-present reality in the U.S. Even revelations of Saudi government involvement in the actions of terrorists leading up to September 11, 2001, does not seems to lessen the resolve to continue fighting an endless war.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

February 21, 2018
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein’s on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail