Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why the US/NATO is in Afghanistan: A Query inspires an unconventional if not an outlandish response

JJ wonders why we're in Afghanistan

The material below is from MoonofAlabama.org. It's very interesting analysis, but it leaves me more confused than ever about the fundamental question: What is the American interest in Afghanistan? I had thought it was to pacify the country for the proposed Unocal pipeline. But I see no rational connection between war and getting that result. On the contrary, I'd expect war to ensure the unattainability of such a goal, by getting the Afghans more antagonized and sabotage-minded with each passing day.

Are we really there, then, in search of one man, Osama bin Laden? Or to suppress the Taliban or al Qaeda? I suspect bin Laden is long since dead, and I'd think war would be the perfect recruiting tool for such entities. Are we there to outflank Iran? That hardly fits with what follows. To outflank Pakistan and its nukes? That doesn't seem to make sense either, especially given the history of our involvement.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to what we're trying to do.

In the meantime, as I say, what follows is interesting stuff. Note the figures for the comparative costs of maintaining an army in Afghanistan and maintaining one in Iraq

Ronald responds to JJ:
Thanks for asking. I’m afraid my views are unconventional but – like others – I find that the evidence I choose to look at is not inconsistent with my theories.
Yes, quite the right question. What is the American interest in Afghanistan?.
First thing of course is that the Obama administration is following the Bush administration’s policy.
What was that policy? Just as it was in Iraq, to further their permanent war agenda and to cause as much pain and suffering and turmoil and tension and oppression as possible.
I submit that in Iraq it’s very easy to point to indictable evidence: namely the disbanding of the Iraqi army and the firing of virtually all the able bureaucrats –de-bathification.
Have you seen the documentary No End in Sight? (actually I’m blanking on the title. That might be a lucky guess.)
Either those two policies were mistakes or purposeful actions intended to ensure that there would be a pretext – an insurgency and the emergence of al-Qaeda in Iraq -- to keep the war going indefinitely. Take your choice. Alternately you can ask yourself if Cheney is the type to make such mistakes.
Needless to say there’s a mountain more evidence. High on the list are policies to ensure that there would be no reconstruction of the country. Talk about evidence not inconsistent: Have you seen Ragiv Chandrasekaran’s book on the Green Zone?
The same with Afghanistan. Their purpose is to destroy the country. The interesting irony there is that Taliban rule is what they wanted (there and here and everywhere) and they were unhappy to overthrow it. But as we have seen, it was done in such a way as to ensure the return of the Taliban after a few years. Karzai sort of gave the game away in a December ’08 interview to the Washington Post: He asked: How can a little group of ragtag fanatics be causing so much trouble. He was pointing to U.S. aid to the Taliban by means of the Pakistani ISI. Yup, we’re paying billions so that they can kill U.S. soldiers and thousands upon thousands of Afghanis.
We might have hoped that the Obama administration would change policy. I used to joke after Nov 4 and before Jan 20 that we had hope. It’s not such a joke anymore. It’s not the Obama administration. It’s the Rahm Emanuel –Obama administration with the latter the figurehead.
You can see why my views aren’t popular. Most people figure that there’s got to be something ---$$$$ -- in it for the policymakers. But to me it’s a question of evidence. Your astute questions are more evidence.

1 comment:

steven andresen said...

Why is the United States in Afghanistan?

I can think of a number of possible reasons.

1) Whereas Cheney may have wanted to have a war because he likes the discipline that comes with armed struggle, I think the better question for Obama might be whether he would look weak to his domestic and foreign opponents if he left. I personally think 1,000 U.S. military bases all over the world is 999 too many, give or take. But, the cutting back is almost impossible for a guy who's dedicated himself to going along with the corporations in just about everything.

2) I thought the U.S. intelligence services were getting an indespensible cut from the Heroin production going on there. We are staying because we cannot do without the drug money.

3) I also thought we can't do without the drugs. Most of the world doesn't pay as much attention to television as Americans do, and so for them, you have to make sure they have access to cheap mind-numbing drugs. The empire, such as it is, depends on the destruction of its critical population.

4) We spend how many tens of hundreds of billions of dollars on nonsense weapons systems and high priced contracted security services? And to do that, I figure, we have to point to vicious enemies waiting for us out there. Hence, we gotta be fighting the Taliban in the mountains there so that we don't have to fight them off the Texas beaches here.

5) I thought there was a domestic reason for foreign wars. That is, the government that has a war to fight can make the argument that the country should put up with certain shortages or stresses that come along with the war, that people may not want to put up with if there wasn't a threat to the country. I think this goes along with the moves made by the Obama DOJ to maintain many of the powers and priviledges accrued by the Bush administration in regard to its treatment of prisoners, secrecy, etc., etc.

6) The Obama people want to keep this war going as a bluff. They know that the country is bankrupt, and that any normal "empire" would be dragging its soldiers home by now. But, for them, it is too important to keep up appearences so that the "enemies" (there may be real ones who've had family trashed by G.I.'s) now laying in the weeds don't use this crisis of ours to start payback.