Tag Archives: Afghanistan

President Trump: End This Stupid War Now! By Eric S. Margolis

The war in Afghanistan is perhaps the US’s most stupid and dishonest war, although there’s abundant competition. From Eric S. Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

After 19 years of war, over $1 trillion in spending, 2,400 dead and a torrent of lies, the US may now be facing an end to its longest war.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. There were three reasons: 1. to cover up the humiliation of the tough-talking Bush administration for being caught sleeping on guard duty by the 9/11 attacks; 2. To secure oil pipeline routes through Afghanistan from Central Asia down to Pakistan’s sea coast; and 3. To occupy a supposedly empty square on the Asian chessboard before China did.

Since 2001, hardly a word of truth about Afghanistan has come out of Washington. All wars are accompanied by a bodyguard of lies, as Churchill wrote, but the lies and propaganda about Afghanistan were extraordinary and shameful.

Chief among the lies: Osama bin Laden was the architect of the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans and that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban movement. In fact, the plot was hatched in Germany and Spain by Saudi exiles, not Afghans, who claimed the US was occupying their nation and exploiting its riches.

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Afghanistan: Imagine There’s No Future, by Daniel Lazare

The ballyhooed Afghanistan peace deal is already comatose and will soon be dead. From Daniel Lazare at antiwar.com:

Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine it’s Sept. 12, 2001, and America is in deep shock over the destruction of the World Trade Center the previous day. George W. Bush goes on national TV and declares:

“Now is not the time to lose our heads. Like Pearl Harbor, the death of thousands of innocent people in Lower Manhattan is a crime that will live in infamy. But our response must be carefully calibrated. With that in mind, we are sending teams of commandos to Afghanistan with the sole purpose of apprehending Osama bin Laden and his top henchmen. Once they’re arrested – and, mark my words, they will be – we will bring them to New York to stand trial just a few yards from where their despicable act of mass murder occurred. We have no quarrel with the people of Afghanistan. But we will have no dealings with the Taliban government as long as it harbors despicable terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. We are confident that our allies will do the same.”

The result of such a well-calibrated response would have been no war in Afghanistan, no prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, and almost certainly no war in Iraq either. Without earlier conflicts to pave the way, intervention in Libya, Syria, and Yemen would have all proved more difficult. Countless deaths would have been avoided and entire societies spared.

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THE ANGRY ARAB: The Lessons of the Taliban, by As`ad AbuKhalil

The US government and its military learned nothing from Vietnam. From As`ad AbuKhalil at consortiumnews.com:

The U.S. humiliation in Afghanistan shows that the empire can’t impose its will, no matter how much violence it inflicts, writes As`ad AbuKhalil.

Zalmay Khalilzad, left, the U.S. chief envoy, signs off on peace deal with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a Taliban leader, in Doha, Qatar, Feb. 29, 2020. (State Department)

It was quite a spectacle for this century.  If Western media were not all tied to the war establishment, they would have commented on the symbolism: a U.S. envoy signing a peace agreement with an official representatives of the Taliban movement.

Had Osama bin Laden been alive, he may have been invited to the signing ceremony.  Younger readers did not live through the massive propaganda campaign by all Western governments against the Taliban back in 2001.  The U.S. war on Afghanistan was very popular then: at least 90 percent of Americans supported it in 2001.

Conservatives and liberals united to convince public opinion that the removal of the Taliban from power was an American national priority.  The liberal organization, the Feminist Majority, aided the White House in its propaganda effort by releasing information on the Taliban’s war on women.

But when U.S. bombs started to kill women and children on a regular basis, the Feminist Majority and other liberals were silent. (Among women’s rights activists — including some in Afghanistan — the Feminist Majority’s pro-military position on Afghanistan was controversial at the time.)

George W. Bush and his wife briefly posed as feminist in an effort to persuade the public that the American invasion of Afghanistan is a humanitarian effort.

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The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle, by Pepe Escobar

Don’t expect too much from any Afghanistan peace deal. The Taliban want the US out, the US military wants to stay. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

As far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military want to stay in what is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques
In this photo taken on February 21, youths and peace activists gather as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Kandahar. A week-long partial truce took hold across Afghanistan on February 22, with some jubilant civilians dancing in the streets as the war-weary country prepared for this coming Saturday’s planned agreement on a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States. Photo: AFP / Javed Tanveer

Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban.

We should start by stressing three points.

1- The Taliban wanted all US troops out. Washington refused.

2- The possible deal only reduces US troops from 13,000 to 8,600. That’s the same number already deployed before the Trump administration.

3- The reduction will only happen a year and a half from now – assuming what’s being described as a truce holds.

So there would be no misunderstanding, Taliban Deputy Leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, in an op-ed certainly read by everyone inside the Beltway, detailed their straightforward red line: total US withdrawal.

And Haqqani is adamant: there’s no peace deal if US troops stay.

Still, a deal looms. How come? Simple: enter a series of secret “annexes.”

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Sabotaging Kabul’s Multipolar Revolution With China and Russia, by Federico Pieraccini

Afghanistan is too geopolitically important for Washington to just up and leave. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

Nineteen years after September 11, 2001 and 17 years after launching its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. seems ready to cut a deal with the Taliban in order to freeze out its Eurasian rivals.

The central government in Kabul has in recent years granted a leading role to Moscow and Beijing in efforts to pacify the country by bringing all parties to the negotiating table. A successful outcome would allow Afghanistan to reap the benefits of its geographical position vis-a-vis Sino-Russian infrastructure projects.

The entry into Afghanistan’s dynamics of China’s economic power and Russia’s military weight promises to spark a multipolar revolution in the country and beyond that would spread to neighbors like India, Pakistan and Iran.

Moscow had even initiated historical negotiations with Taliban representatives, culminating in a visit to Moscow. U.S. sources at the time voiced doubts about the success of any peace plan and tensions between the U.S. and Iran were high, with sanctions imposed on Iran and pressure placed on U.S. allies in the region like India to boycott Iranian oil.

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A Pattern of Passing Up Peace, by Ted Snider

For the warfare state, peace is the worst possible prospect. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran was working. Iran was consistently in compliance, the US and Iran were talking and diplomacy was working. Then Trump turned his back on peace, shattered the diplomacy and resuscitated the hostile relation with Iran.

This pass that Trump took on peace was not the first time the US had been offered peace by Iran and passed it up. In 2003, Iranian president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a comprehensive nuclear proposal that they offered to President George W. Bush. Bush ignored the overture and refused to respond.

Illegally pulling out of the JCPOA was not only not the first time the US took a pass on an Iranian offer of peace, it was also not the last. Iranian general Qassem Suleimani went to Baghdad to deliver Iran’s response to a Saudi de-escalation overture. A de-escalation of violence between the leaders of the Sunni and Shi’ite worlds might go a long way toward potentially calming the middle east. So, the US assassinated him.

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The Real Lesson of Afghanistan Is That Regime Change Does Not Work, by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies

The most overlooked lesson of Afghanistan is the most obvious one. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies  at antiwar.com:

The trove of U.S. “Lessons Learned” documents on Afghanistan published by the Washington Post portrays, in excruciating detail, the anatomy of a failed policy, scandalously hidden from the public for 18 years. The “Lessons Learned” papers, however, are based on the premise that the US and its allies will keep intervening militarily in other countries, and that they must therefore learn the lessons of Afghanistan to avoid making the same mistakes in future military occupations.

This premise misses the obvious lesson that Washington insiders refuse to learn: the underlying fault is not in how the US tries and fails to reconstruct societies destroyed by its “regime changes,” but in the fundamental illegitimacy of regime change itself. As former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz told NPR just eight days after 9/11, “It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t approve of what has happened.”

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