Friday, March 27, 2009

The "Good" War

A young Afghan boy stands among the ruined remains of his home after an August 2008 airstrike in Azizabad killed 33 civilians. Until UN and international pressure was brought to bear, the US military had previously claimed the number of dead was six.

Our war in Afghanistan began almost 3,000 days ago, on October 7, 2001. Our war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than World War I, World War II, the Civil War, the Korean War, the first Gulf War in Iraq and the second Gulf War in Iraq. If we are still fighting in Afghanistan a year from now, the war will have lasted longer than the American Revolution. Children who were born on the day the war began are now halfway through grammar school.

Sobering reflections like those offered by columnist William Rivers Pitt at Truthout speak to the ongoing unquestioned occupation and "war" of Afghanistan.

More after the fold...

That the hunt for al-Qaeda necessitated an invasion and regime change in the Central Asian country is at times so sacrosanct that to suggest otherwise is considered heresy if not treason. With the ruins of the twin towers and the broken hull of the Pentagon warship still smoldering in September of 2001, the US Congress rushed near unanimously to demand justice and vengeance, with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) the lone voice urging caution. And the repressive, ├╝ber misogynist Taliban have only allowed the war's defenders to expand its mission beyond anti-terrorism, and instead as a crusade of democratic freedom and women's rights--which bombs that kill civilians should somehow bring about. The unthinkable notion that the war could expand, to include the unstable nuclear armed Pakistan, is now taken as normal. So common has this idea of Afghanistan as the "good war" become, that even the "progressive" think tank Center for American Progress has put out its own battle plans for how to bring "security" to Afghanistan--complete with a ramp up in military forces and an extended colonial occpuation well into a decade, or more.

Challenges to this "groupthink" have been made by the reasonable, but their voices are too often sidelined or ignored--particularly by the current administration, whose ears seem to be filled with the whispers of hawks who promise they can enforce peace. Never mind the current voices warning against "surges" in Afghanistan were the same warning against the Iraq War, while those urging more war in Aghanistan were cheerleaders or silent partners in 2003 for Bush's invasion plans; it seems in American foreign policy you can only fail up.

It leaves Pitt to ask a profound troubling question:
Is the Obama administration simply working with the hand it was dealt by George W. Bush, or are the same Bush administration mistakes about to be committed all over again?

I suppose time will tell.

Read the rest of the William Rivers Pitt article Enduring Freedom here.

Also check out Normon Solomon's These Colors Won't Run...Afghanistan that asks much the same.


Dannie said...

What a sobering set of facts about the length of the war. More opponents to this so called security action should use this comparison more.

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