One thing that's not been up for debate in the Presidential campaign is
Afghanistan: both candidates (not to mention George W. Bush) agree on the
urgent need to escalate - and win - that war. This stance has overwhelmingly
gone unchallenged - even by most who opposed the invasion of Iraq. But the
war in Afghanistan is not the proverbial "good war," now gone bad. It was an
unjust, imperialist war of conquest and empire from the start. And it
continues to be an unjust, imperialist war of empire today.
The war in Afghanistan was never simply a response to 9/11. It was conceived
of by the Bush administration as the opening salvo in an unbounded war for
greater empire under the rubric of a "war on terror." This war's goal was to
defeat Islamic fundamentalism, overthrow states not fully under U.S.
control, restructure the Middle East and Central Asian regions, and seize
deeper control of key sources and shipment routes of strategic energy
supplies. All this grew out of over a decade of imperialist planning,
strategizing and intervention. And from the beginning all of it was part of
an overall plan to expand and fortify U.S. power - to create an unchallenged
and unchallengeable global imperialist empire.
All this is shown by what the U.S. rulers were doing - and planning - in these
regions and globally during the decade of the 1990s, including in
Afghanistan itself. It can be shown by the plans the U.S. had for
destabilizing, perhaps overthrowing, the Taliban government of Afghanistan
even before 9/11. It can be demonstrated by the actual discussions and
decisions taken by the Bush regime in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and
by the U.S.'s war objectives in Afghanistan and the Middle East as a whole,
which it is still pursuing. And it can be shown by the U.S.'s conduct of the
war and the impact it has had on the people of Afghanistan.
The "war on terror" and the invasion of Afghanistan emerged from a decade of
planning, strategizing, and struggle among the U.S. rulers over how to
expand and strengthen their grip on the planet.
The 1991 collapse of the social-imperialist Soviet Union was a geopolitical
earthquake. Suddenly the U.S. rulers found themselves no longer facing a
rival nuclear-armed, imperialist empire. They called it a unique "unipolar
moment," where the U.S. faced no major rivals to its global pre-eminence.
But in the wake of the Soviet collapse, they faced new and daunting
challenges - the possible rise of new rivals (Russia, China, the European
Union or some combination thereof), massive economic shifts brought about by
the Soviet bloc's collapse and the acceleration of capitalist globalization,
destabilizing problems in the oil-rich Middle East, the proliferation of
nuclear weapons, and a growing number of impoverished, war-torn, or
fragmented states (so-called "failed states") whose collapse could unravel
the U.S.-dominated global order.
Right after the Soviet collapse, a core of imperial strategists - the
neoconservatives or neocons - began arguing that the U.S. should lock in this
unipolar world and prevent any rivals from emerging to challenge the U.S.
This was articulated in the Defense Department's 1992 "Defense Planning
Guidance" - written by Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby and Zalmay Khalilzad under
the direction of then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney - all later top officials
in the Bush II administration. . . .
[Significant deposits of copper, iron, gold, oil and gas, and coal - as
well as precious gems such as emeralds and rubies - are largely untapped
and still being mapped--"Afghanistan sitting
on a gold mine," AFP, February 21, 2008]
[Every suicide attack and kidnapping is usually attributed to "the Taliban."
In reality, however, the insurgency is far from monolithic. There are the
shadowy, kohl-eyed mullahs and head-bobbing religious students, of course,
but there are also erudite university students, veteran anti-Soviet
commanders and poor, illiterate farmers. The movement is a melange of
nationalists, Islamists and bandits that fall uneasily into three or four
main factions and many subfactions. The factions have competing commanders
with differing ideologies and strategies, who nonetheless agree on one
essential goal: kicking out the foreigners.
. . . the Afghan rebellion is mostly a homegrown affair. Foreign fighters,
especially Al Qaeda, have little ideological influence on most of the
insurgency, and Afghans keep their distance from such outsiders.--Anand
Gopal, "Who Are
the Taliban," Nation, December 3, 2008]
[Ask any Afghan what's really needed, what would render the Taliban
irrelevant, and they'll tell you: improving the behavior of the officials
whom the United States and its allies ushered into power after the Sept. 11,
2001, terrorist attacks.--Sarah Chayes, "The Other
Front," Washington Post, December 14, 2008]
[The shocking intelligence assessment shared by Moscow reveals that almost
half of the US supplies passing through Pakistan is pilfered by motley
groups of Taliban militants, petty traders and plain thieves. The US Army is
getting burgled in broad daylight and can't do much about it. Almost 80% of
all supplies for Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. The Peshawar bazaar is
doing a roaring business hawking stolen US military ware, as in the 1980s
during the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. This volume of business
will register a quantum jump following the doubling of the US troop level in
Afghanistan to 60,000.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Russia stops
US on road to Afghanistan," Asia Times, January 27, 2009]
[In a classified document, which SPIEGEL has obtained, NATO's top commander,
US General John Craddock, has issued a "guidance" providing NATO troops with
the authority "to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout
Afghanistan."--Susanne Koelbl, "NATO High Commander Issues Illegitimate Order to Kill," Spiegel
Online, January 28, 2009]