Afghanistan 2010

January 3, 2010


It has been a month since our new President made his expected announcement of troop increases for Afghanistan, yet it seems our country (and world) is farther from security and stability than when you-know-who was in office!

Daily bombs obliterate civilians, domestic threats at home, and news of more US personnel deaths.  It is a mess and general chaos reigns in those “far away places” that Obama says are making our lives insecure here.

Well, Mr. President, how about our influence over there which make their lives insecure?

For me, this was the most disappointing aspect of the President’s flowing oratory on why we had to send more young Americans into a hopeless mêlée.

It was sickening to hear Obama use the same dichotomous rhetoric of good and evil, which seems to have been transfused into the DNA of US reasoning since the Cold War began.

Whether you understand counter-insurgency (COIN) tactics promoted by the experts or the pundits call for targeting specific countries (latest being Iran and Yemen) – the plans put forth by this Administration have already been proven futile, expensive and bewildering to any logically minded person.

The only clarity that came from this speech I can see is:

1.  Obama’s foreign policy allows Americans to see that no matter if it is Democrats or Republicans in charge – our country is hell bent on military operations as solution in whatever hopeless foreign interventions we are told are necessary.  Most unfortunate, but this is who we are.

2.  U.S. overt and covert actions for the past 60 years have fueled, if not instigated radicalization, instability and hostile responses.  Knowing the history of US operative actions in Pakistan and Iran provide evidence for this statement.  There are many more I can list if you want.

3.  As I wrote back in February 2009; US national security is a business plan for the Pentagon and those who fed quite handsomely from it – and no President, Congress person or peace activist is going to change it until the money is all gone.

4.  Finally, America does not want to hear straight talk about how to shift gears and stop wasting time, money and lives on a “war” that it will never ever win.

What I mean is this:  since the 9-11 tragedy, what U.S. leader has truly asked and listens for answers to the simple question “what exactly is your beef?”

Oh yes, there are hundreds, if not thousands of books clamoring about clash of civilizations, religious Armageddons and the like. What a boon for publishers and authors alike.  But there are never any real answers provided other than kill everyone that doesn’t agree with you.

In my estimation, this would be a lot easier if could be a little more frank and direct as the comments of independent journalist Nir Rosen reflect after he listened to Obama’s Afghanistan speech.

“I would have at least liked to hear the words Kashmir and Palestine. If we are talking about Al Qaeda and the whole reason for why we are in Afghanistan allegedly is this threat from Al Qaeda which has been severely exaggerated, then at least understand their motives. Their chief motives are the Indian occupation of Kashmir, the Israeli and American backed occupation of Palestine. These are the motives. If your goal is to weaken Al Qaeda, understand their motives, address their grievances. This is not some James Bond villain the wants to attack the U.S. for no reason. These people who have grievances, the same grievances that have been troubling people around the world for decades.”

Rosen lays out the essential “beefs” but of course, critics will write and say it isn’t that simple.  Well, what if it was?  We have done the other route and it is not working.  Can we not at least try something else for a change?

I know one thing – the rest of the world is going ahead without us, technologically, environmentally, financially and strategically. My next blog will address the loss opportunity of U.S. global leadership by continuing on this losing path.

If we don’t change gears soon, it is going to be a lonely road ahead.

Dawn Ortiz-Legg is a political activist and member of the San Luis Obispo chapter of Code Pink.

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“. . . the real Afghanistan was lacking one important ingredient. In the words of Cheryl Bernard, a RAND analyst and expert on the Middle East who is married to Zalmay Khalilzad, ‘In Afghanistan, we made a deliberate choice . . . At first, everyone thought, There’s no way to beat the Soviets. So what we have to do is throw the worst crazies against them that we can find, and there was a lot of collateral damage. We knew exactly who these people were, and what their organizations were like and we didn’t care,’ she says. ‘Then we allowed them to get rid of, kill all the moderate leaders. The reason we don’t have moderate leaders in Afghanistan today is because we let the nuts kill them all. They killed the leftists, the moderates, the middle-of-the-roaders. They were just eliminated, during the 1980’s and afterward.”


Once upon a time Afghanistan was poised to be a modern country, the only problem,the government in Kabul was friendly to the Soviets,policy makers in America could not let this stand. some familiar names are still involved.

Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998 Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski,

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

Oh please, what countries do you admire? Who should we admire? Criticism is wonderful, but you offer nothing.

As for the history of good vs. evil dichotomy can be found in many of the Homeric writings of the ancient Greeks.There is good and there is evil, get over it.

Code Pink is just sad.

Roger Freberg