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      Wednesday
      Dec152010

      Don't Believe the Reviews: Where We Really Are in Afghanistan

      Early last month, a White House official predicted that the Obama administration's review of Afghanistan "will not suggest alternatives if aspects of the policy are found to be failing."


      Got that right.

      And Congress went along, with a handful of noble exceptions, in keeping the war off the agenda during the long midterm elections.

      Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe's excellent review of the administration's "non-review" is here.

      Let's concentrate on these facts of the last two years, and share them with other Americans.
      

      The Costs to America

      Since 2008:

      Our government has doubled the number of our troops in Afghanistan to roughly 100,000.
       
      Our government has more than tripled both the airstrikes over Afghanistan and drone attacks over Pakistan.
       
      The body count of dead Americans has doubled.
       
      The number of Americans wounded has almost
      quadrupled.
       
      The number of Afghan casualties is unknown. The United Nations admits to an under-count.
       
      The cost of Afghanistan to American taxpayers will increase by $268 billion added since the Great Recession of 2008, a one hundred billion hike over the previous seven years.

      The Political Fallout

      The U.S. Senate has lost its foremost anti-war voice, Sen. Russ Feingold, and no replacement is yet in sight.
       
      The House of Representatives is under Republican control, and the peace bloc has lost leverage over the process. There are slightly more than 100 Representatives on record for an exit strategy including a withdrawal timeline, out of a House membership of 435.
       
      Yet more than three-quarters of Democratic voters and more than half of Independents favor a phased withdrawal, putting them ahead of the politicians.
       
      The next fight in Congress will be over amendments to set deadlines for phasing out the troops and escalating peace diplomacy. This debate will occur in the run-up to Obama's announcement of how many troops he will begin withdrawing in July.
       
      Depending on how many troops Obama promises to withdraw, he will be choosing whether to run as a peace candidate or a stay-the-course candidate in 2012, and peace voters will react accordingly. In any event, the Long War will go on in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and the streets of Europe. The question is whether there will be a Long Peace Movement.

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      Reader Comments (4)

      Without a military draft to focus American voters on this long war, there are only two paths to an exit from it: cooperation from Pakistan in routing the Taliban from their Pakistani refuges, or the evolution of a credible Afghan government. Neither seems likely.

      December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCelia Carroll

      The U.S. War Against Afghanistan long ago became a war of aggression, an international war crime being waged against the citizens. But for what purpose? To seize resources? Perhaps. To establish a permanent occupation in the middle east from which the U.S. can control the entire region while multinational corporations steal everything? Likely. But we certainly are not in Afghanistan for any legitimate reason.

      It's horrifying that the Democrats have refused to exercise any judgment or responsibility with respect to these wars, simply leaping into the middle of the bush-cheney disasters and committing to do it better, kill more people, send more troops. This isn't "helping" the people of the middle east. It's "killing" them.

      It is not legitimate to invade, occupy, wage war, steal resources against a country because we fear that sometime, in the future, they might cooperate with the bad guys who live elsewhere. To the extent anybody can make an argument of any legitimacy in starting the war in Afghanistan, for the stated purpose of capturing bin Laden, that excuse has evaporated. We need to leave that country. There is nothing good that can come from the continued war against Afghanistan.

      The people running these wars suffer from the belief that they can dictate to everyone else what they may or may not do. But that's the same fallacy that always guides militaristic resource-seeking empires. England claimed they had a duty to civilize the people in the world by invading, occupying, and stealing their resources, murdering the citizens. As did Rome. The U.S. has done it again and again, all with the same end result: the invaded country is destroyed, millions are murdered, billions are stolen from the public treasury and used to enrich the friends of the politicians who run military businesses, and the politicians to whom they pay kick-backs. Who loses:? The American people and the people in the countries we invade.

      War is a racket. The rich make money, the poor die. Somebody waves a flag and all reason leaves the room. We need to end the wars, bring the military home, shut down bases, stop wasting our money on the grossly bloated military budget, and try to rebuild our own country before it's too late.

      December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNABNYC

      At its base, no one understands that Afghanistan is more important to aspiring/current empires and its contiguous states than it is to itself. The Afghans seem content to remain a loosely organized tribal confederation with a central government that is more of a mayorality of a city state. It's the rest of the world that has long entangled this area in its outside machinations. There will be nothing changing there with or without us, and after this long long slog, we would be best served declaring victory or accomplishment of our limited and vacuous goals and getting the hell out.

      December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Hickerson

      The title of the next article on Afghanistan should be: " WHY we really are in Afghanistan". The politicians gloss over this with references to national security, eliminating terrorist bases, etc. It has been said before we are creating terrorists at a faster rate than we are killing them. Occupation of one's territory is bound to result in resistance and terrorist attacks when up against a stronger military force. Kharzai is a ex-oil executive and oil pipelines have long been planned (and some completed, the latest is going to China) for installation in this region. Caspian Sea resources are being fought over by countries in the north, the west and the east and this is a major reason for us being Afghanistan, from what I can tell. Just more of the same empire building that has been thorougly elucidated by the previous posts.

      What is discouraging is that millions of people over the globe were in the streets protesting against the Iraq war; that didn't prevent it. So what can reverse our current adventure and extricate our army from there??

      December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRaymond Graap

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