Operation Enduring Failure: Ten years of war on Afghanistan

Today is the tenth anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan. Ten years. A decade. The longest war in US history*. Nearly 1700 US troops dead and more than 1000 “coalition partners” dead. Thousands of soldiers wounded, thousands traumatized. Billions of dollars spent.

And the number of Afghans dead? No one knows. No one knows. But the estimates, most likely too low, are soul-rattling. 12,000-14,000? 40,000? Tens and tens of thousands of civilians, and the numbers just keep getting uglier, as Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress told Democracy Now! this morning. In fact this year, 2011, is on track to be the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since the war began, proving that a decade after the US invasion, life is more treacherous than ever for the men, women, and children we so altruistically went to bomb — er, save.

Meanwhile, this country’s much-vaunted nation-building efforts remain as crumbly as sand castles. The Taliban is resurgent — or “resilient” as a new White House report phrases it. The US-installed Karzai government is a corrupt sham. Civil war is a distinct possibility. And just this week, retired-fired general Stanley McChrystal told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that the US and NATO are only “50% of the way” toward realizing their goals in Afghanistan. Whatever that means anyway.

“We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough,” he said, stating what had become baldly obvious to many of us civilian observers years ago. “Most of us, me included, had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history, the last 50 years.”

But don’t just listen to McChrystal and the other experts who claim to know so much after knowing so little. Listen to the people on the receiving end of this country’s precision bombs, cluster bombs, and depleted uranium-laced bombs. Listen to the men, the children, and the women — especially the women who were the feel-good excuse for all the F-15s and Warthogs.

Here’s “Reena,” a 19-year-old member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, describing post-invasion life for Afghan women:

“These claims [that the war would improve life for women] were all extremely false. If they have brought to power the misogynists, the brothers in creed of the Taliban to power, who are the exact copies of Taliban mentally and have just been physically changed, then I don’t think the women’s situation can improve.

Today there are slight improvements in women’s lives in urban areas, but again, if we look at statistics, Afghanistan remains the most dangerous place for women. Self-immolation, suicide rates are extremely high, it has never been this high before. Domestic violence is widespread. Women are poor, they don’t have health care. It has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. There are, as I said, some improvements, and in some aspects it might have gotten a little better for a handful of women, but it has definitely gotten worse for others.

There is insecurity, there is threat, they always say that there are 6 million girls in schools, or the schools have opened, but nobody looks at the dropout rates, nobody looks at the attacks or the threats that the Taliban make to girls and they don’t dare to go out again, nobody looks at the quality of the schools. I mean, there have been slight changes, and it has been very widely used, and they just highlight a few positive things. But overall the situation of women has gotten worse.”

Heck of a job, Bushie. (And Bambi.)

* There’s an important caveat to the claim that the Afghan war is the longest in US history and that is the fact that the US was unofficially mucking around in Vietnam for many years before it officially sent in ground troops. If you add all the official and unofficial years together, Vietnam is still the longer war (as were several of the American-Indian wars of the 19th Century).

About Lizzy Ratner

Lizzy Ratner is a journalist in New York City. She is a co-editor with Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 66 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Charon says:

    I still want to know the primary reason for the US even being at war in Afghanistan. It wasn’t 9/11.. 9/11 was merely used to sell it to the public and get NATO involved. It was planned long before 9/11. I am sure it has something to do with poppies and being strategically located by both China and Russia and never really had anything at all to do with Bin Laden.

    Same with the war in Iraq. Same with any war we’ve been involved in since WWII.

    • straightline says:

      Usually wars are, at least in part, about bolstering the popularity of those in power. I don’t think the Afghan war was an exception in that respect.

    • Proton Soup says:

      in addition to mucking in vietnam, we were mucking around in afghanistan prior, too. there’s an old interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski where he crows about setting the Soviets up there.

      link to globalresearch.ca

      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.

      i do think the poppies are part of the strategy. it wasn’t so long ago that the Russians themselves were complaining about it.
      link to reuters.com

      but as for the real reasons to be there, it’s actually petroleum. and stategery. yes, i realize afghanistan likely has no oil to speak of, but they are the route for the TAPI pipeline, bringing oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region south to Pakistan and India.

      link to ensec.org

      so, it’s about gas. it’s also about economic development for companies that will be looking to invest there. already Russia is looking to step in and build factories to steal some of our thunder, and China is building a naval port where some of this will be routed off to the Pakistan coast.

      and, of course, it completely pins Iran between assets that we have either control over, or sway with, like Turkey.

      much of this rightly stinks to high heaven. we were negotiating with the Taliban right before 9/11, and then afterwards, when we’re supposedly jumping in to get bin Laden and al Qaeda, we let both him and a bunch of his friends slip right on out of Afghanistan into Pakistan.

      and then, for the icing on the cake, the US causes more civilian deaths than the resistance there.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Bumblebye says:

        Here in the UK we got nightly news reports from reporters travelling with the Mujahideen from within months of the beginning, showing off their shiny new rpg’s! Sandy Gall of ITV went on numerous trips throughout the whole Afghan war with the USSR. The US involvement – weapons and funding – was frequently mentioned.

    • Antidote says:

      including WW II

      • Charon says:

        “including WW II”

        Including WWI even. And believe it or not the American Revolutionary war. Gain independence to get away from taxes then turn around and tax everybody.

        In WWI the Lusitania was deliberately sent to a war zone despite a full page ‘ad’ in the NYT (I think) saying not to or else it would be sunk . WWII we put sanctions on Japan which they openly said was an act of war, and there is plenty of evidence that says they let Pearl Harbor happen.

        I just left that out because most people don’t know these things and get all patriotic and fight about it. Bottom line, war is stupid. The Cuban missile crisis (which the US provoked) was probably the closest reason we ever had to ‘defends’ ourselves and start a war even though we didn’t.

    • Redruin says:

      Afghanistan is strategically placed in Central Asia. From what I’ve read, oil companies wanted part of the energy transport market dominated by Gazprom. The goal was a natural gas pipeline bypassing Russia, going through Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is also nothing to scoff at. When you have Big Oil, the MIC, and AIPAC all in agreement on a course of action it’s going to get done.

      • Kathleen says:

        Trans-Afghanistan PipelineFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search
        Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline
        Location
        Country Turkmenistan
        Afghanistan
        Pakistan
        India
        General direction north–south
        From Dauletabad gas field, Turkmenistan
        Passes through Herat
        Kandahar
        Quetta
        Multan
        To Fazilka, India
        Runs alongside Herat–Kandahar highway,
        General information
        Type natural gas
        Technical information
        Length 1,680 km (1,040 mi)
        Maximum discharge 27 billion cubic meters per year

        The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAP or TAPI) is a proposed natural gas pipeline being developed by the Asian Development Bank.[1][2][3] The pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. The abbreviation comes from the first letters of those countries. Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.[4][5] The Afghan government is expected to receive 8% of the project’s revenue.[citation needed]

        The roots of this project lie in the involvement of international oil companies in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan beginning of 1990s. As Russia, who controlled all export pipelines of these countries, consistently refusing to allow the use of its pipeline network, these companies needed an independent export route avoiding both Iran and Russia.[6][unreliable source?]

        The original project started on 15 March 1995 when an inaugural memorandum of understanding between the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan for a pipeline project was signed. This project was promoted by Argentinian company Bridas Corporation. The U.S. company Unocal, in conjunction with the Saudi oil company Delta, promoted alternative project without Bridas’ involvement. On 21 October 1995, these two companies signed a separate agreement with Turkmenistan’s president Saparmurat Niyazov. In August 1996, the Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) consortium for construction of a pipeline, led by Unocal, was formed. On 27 October 1997, CentGas was incorporated in formal signing ceremonies in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, by several international oil companies along with the Government of Turkmenistan.[citation needed]

        Since the pipeline was to pass through Afghanistan, it was necessary to work with the Taliban. The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Robert Oakley, moved into CentGas in 1997. In January 1998, the Taliban, selecting CentGas over Argentinian competitor Bridas Corporation, signed an agreement that allowed the proposed project to proceed. In June 1998, Russian Gazprom relinquished its 10% stake in the project. On 7 August 1998, American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed under the direction of Osama bin Laden, and all pipeline negotiations halted, as the Taliban’s leader, Mohammad Omar, announced that Osama bin Laden had the Taliban’s support. Unocal withdrew from the consortium on 8 December 1998, and soon after closed its offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[citation

        • Kathleen says:

          democrats.com, January 2002

          Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), globalresearch.ca, 23 January 2002

          ——————————————————————————–

          According to Afghan, Iranian, and Turkish government sources, Hamid Karzai, the interim Prime Minister of Afghanistan, was a top adviser to the El Segundo, California-based UNOCAL Corporation which was negotiating with the Taliban to construct a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan.

          Karzai, the leader of the southern Afghan Pashtun Durrani tribe, was a member of the mujaheddin that fought the Soviets during the 1980s. He was a top contact for the CIA and maintained close relations with CIA Director William Casey, Vice President George Bush, and their Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Service interlocutors. Later, Karzai and a number of his brothers moved to the United States under the auspices of the CIA. Karzai continued to serve the agency’s interests, as well as those of the Bush Family and their oil friends in negotiating the CentGas deal, according to Middle East and South Asian sources.

          When one peers beyond all of the rhetoric of the White House and Pentagon concerning the Taliban, a clear pattern emerges showing that construction of the trans-Afghan pipeline was a top priority of the Bush administration from the outset. Although UNOCAL claims it abandoned the pipeline project in December 1998, the series of meetings held between U.S., Pakistani, and Taliban officials after 1998, indicates the project was never off the table.

        • annie says:

          kathleen, this (TAP orTAPI) pipeline is not getting off the ground anytime soon if at all. i highly recommend you read pepe escobar’s Do the China-Pakistan pipeline shuffle as well as Pipeline Geopolitics: Major Turnaround. Russia, China, Iran Redraw Energy Map by
          by Amb. M. K. Bhadrakumar .

    • Mooser says:

      “I still want to know the primary reason for the US even being at war in Afghanistan.”

      You do? I’m sure Phil Weiss can answer your question. As I recall, he nearly volunteered his very own self to go and fight the Afghan threat.
      And if you saw the stuff my MIL knits, you’d be frightened, too!

    • annie says:

      charon, the objective is a passive afghanistan and for the US to control the passage of energy thru the region. our main competition is china. i recommend reading free baluchistan written in 05. also, note how our ‘friendship’ w/pakistan started changing after China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visit to Pakistan and pakistan signed the pipeline deal w/iran and china.

  2. seafoid says:

    American estimates from Brown University are that some $3.7 trillion will have been spent avenging the 9/11 deaths. And Social security will be dismantled.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    It is just as Get Your War on said it would be

    link to mnftiu.cc

    Gen Stanley McChrystal, who commanded America and its Nato allies in 2009-10, said that even after a decade, the US still lacks the knowledge to bring the conflict to a successful end. WTF.?

    link to guardian.co.uk

    “The opening decade of the 21st century has been marked by two epic failures by the western powers that so recently claimed victory in the cold war; failures of both intellect and leadership. One is the inability to use the limitless resources of modern government to rescue the west’s economy from prolonged recession. The other is the use of an attack on America by a crazed Islamist criminal as an excuse for a retaliatory war embracing a wide swath of the Muslim world. The decade-long punishment of Afghanistan for harbouring Osama bin Laden has been an act of biblical retribution. The demand that it also abandons the habits of history and adopt democracy, capitalism and gender equality was imperial arrogance.
    The occupation of Afghanistan has been a catalogue of unrelieved folly. America is spending staggering sums on the war, which it is clearly not winning. Congressional studies show virtually no US aid reaches the local economy, most remaining with contractors in the US or going on security or being stolen. Local democracy has failed, as warlords feud with drug lords and tribal vendettas resurface. The “training of the Afghan police and army” has become a dope-befuddled joke.”

  3. Daniel Rich says:

    Q: In fact this year, 2011, is on track to be the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since the war began…

    R: Would the heavy reliance on drones have anything to do with these horrid ‘collateral damage’ numbers? During a recent birth certificate review Obambi’s actual name turned out o be ‘Obomber.’ Change you can believe in? All the loose stuff I have in my pocket, yes.

    • Bumblebye says:

      Last week, a young Brit sapper was blown up by one of the ied’s he was trying to clear. He has lost both legs, one below the knee, and is beginning to come round. Tonight his father has just been on a radio talkshow, explaining how he asked the lads on the ground there to leave a letter from him at the site of the bomb, giving the taliban his forgiveness. He says this has been done already for him.
      The family lost their older son in Bosnia.

  4. ToivoS says:

    I actually supported the Afgan war at first. The reasoning was simple: the American people were so traumatized by 911 they would not be satisfied without war. Afghanistan seemed the least likely place to have a war that would not blow up in our faces. However, when after six months we didn’t leave and installed our own puppet government, it was clear we were stepping into the big doodoo.

    Why we did it is not clear, but what is clear is that our leadership were clueless about what our military could accomplish. I suspect that the oil pipeline linking the central Asian states directly to Western states was a factor. Anyone with two ounces of sense would know that a guerrilla insurrection never allow such a pipeline. Pressure on Russian and China could be factors. Whatever, it is irrelevant today because we have lost and will continue to lose. That is why we cannot end this war — as soon as we withdraw it will be clear to all that we lost. War must continue to save that face. Oh well.

    • Keith says:

      TOVIOS- “…the American people were so traumatized by 911 they would not be satisfied without war.”

      The American people were intentionally traumatized by the media and government to psychologically prepare them for this imperial slaughter (“war” is far too generous an interpretation in view of the power disparity). Works every time.

      “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” (Herman Goering)

    • AhVee says:

      “I actually supported the Afgan war at first. The reasoning was simple: the American people were so traumatized by 911 they would not be satisfied without war.”

      With all due respect, but that is one sorry reason to support a war. Especially because a war is never good trauma therapy, anyway. It just brings more enemies, increases the fear and hatred on both sides and damages people’s psyches further. It also increases the risk of such incidents happening again. Making war in an attempt to eradicate a trauma is like attempting to make hunger go away by not eating.

      Keith-
      “The American people were intentionally traumatized by the media and government to psychologically prepare them for this imperial slaughter ”

      I agree. I was about to say, it’s not like the media practiced damage reduction, and responded with sanity and soothing clarity to the event, like the Norwegian government did after the Breivik massacre. (The official Norwegian response was “we will respond with more tolerance and democracy to this atrocity” – bravo Norwegian government). The Americans took the opposite course after 9/11, they responded with collective fear-mongering and demonising of the Arab / Muslim world, and painted a devil on the wall big enough to cause the psyches of a vast number of Americans to cower in the closet.
      I’ve seldom seen media so wilfully fear-instilling, doom loving and sensationalist.

      Besides, supporting a full-blown war to “help combat the trauma in Americans”, and by so-doing taking into account a larger scale trauma in the population of the country being attacked places American psychological wellbeing over the Afghan one morally, something I find unacceptable.

      • James says:

        ahvee – thanks for articulating a line similar to my own way of seeing this.. the comparision to the norwegian event really throws a light on the media spin from the usa….

        toivo, i have to agree with others here that your rationale for a war in afganistan is a very poor one… i think if americans actually ever have to suffer a war on their own soil in any fashion similar to the wars the periodically inflict on other parts of the world, americans would really question the value and need for war… the fact is a vietnam, iraq, afganastan and etc. etc. etc. have never taken place on american soil…

      • ToivoS says:

        My support for that war was a decision not to oppose it. It had unstoppable momentum. Being active in a local peace group I simply realized that there was nothing we could do. I had no idea that our government was planning on a permanent occupation, that was obviously insane.

    • Mooser says:

      “I actually supported the Afgan war at first. The reasoning was simple: the American people were so traumatized by 911 they would not be satisfied without war.”

      Why didn’t I think of that. Why, I never heard a better reason in my life.

  5. James says:

    this 2 minute bp oil spill reenactment reminds me of the afgan war… same stupidity at work with no end in sight..

  6. David Samel says:

    And to think that this was presented by many liberals as the good, necessary war in contrast to the bad, unnecessary Iraq war. They’re two peas in a pod, wars of aggression that slaughtered untold numbers of human beings. Excellent analysis of the travesty, Lizzy.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      I have to confess one of my biggest regrets was having ever supported the invasion of Afghanistan. I’m sorry to say I didn’t really wake up on American imperialism in the Middle East (or elsewhere for that matter) until the invasion of Iraq.

      • annie says:

        for some reason that surprises me chaos, i didn’t know you were that ‘fresh’ in terms of awareness.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I didn’t used to be this intense. I voted for Nader in 2000 and that was the first election I could vote, but things didn’t really click for me about what was really going wrong until 2003 with the Iraq invasion. I was absolutely floored at how easy it was to push something that didn’t add up when you do the math. My interactions with Israelis over the internet through 2006 and hearing them justify what they did in Lebanon opened me up to a greater awareness of just how much our actions/policies and Israel’s are coordinated; in 2008 I joined a local peace group. I was into activism prior but it was limited (perhaps woefully) to the impeachment of Bush.

          Honestly, the most formative thing in my political awareness has been interacting with Israeli supporters. So much callous, irrational disregard for human life. You know… I didn’t even understand how any person could be genocidal until then — until I met Israelis I hadn’t actually met anyone who was hateful enough to try to eradicate a whole people.

        • Ellen says:

          I have unfortunately had contact with individuals capable of joining the genocide bandwagon when in the Balkans. The language and reasoning used by those twisted minds is exactly the same as so many Zionist: historical myths, ideas of race and soil, victimology, paranoia of the other, etc.

          It is insane.

          What I do not understand is how our government can do all it does to squash that in places like Serbia, but actively tolerates it and nurtures it (with aid and Congress cheering it on) for Israel.

          In time, it will go down as another shameful era for the US.

        • seafoid says:

          It would be impossible for Israel without the cognitive dissonance

          This
          link to youtube.com
          versus this
          link to youtube.com

          Hevenu shalom aleichum my ass

        • AhVee says:

          It really is as simple as that. If you refuse to believe that what you believe to be right is wrong, then it figures that you would justify those wrongs by dwelling on the illusion that they’re actually rights.

          That’s why I think it’s futile to confront those people with evidence of the wrongdoings (violence, hatred, illegality, terror) for the sole purpose of showing them that this occurs, they already know that, but believe in its moral justification, because they’re supremacists.

          I think it’s an important point to make, I see the anti-Zionist equivalents of PrettyShitty and LongLostIsrael on zio message boards from time to time, thinking they can change people’s minds by posting links to videos displaying Israeli violence, or by pointing to the fact that Palestinians were expelled. Never once worked.

          Jewish nationalism is hard to break, equally hard as breaking an Islamic fundamentalist’s views and beliefs, they’re essentially rooted in the same things – anti-social interpretations of religion that provides a moral justification for committing even the most disgusting of deeds. Humanist modes of argumentation are a lost cause with them. They’re not humanists, they’re supremacists who transparently cloak their supremacism in more generally acceptable hasbara and logic for the rest of us. Logical argumentation is a facade they utilize, not a tool with which they can be won over, or their minds changed. Argumentation is as lost on many of them as atheist discourse would be on Bin Laden.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          It’s not that I’m arguing with them, in my mind, I’m arguing for Palestinian rights. Not to mention for those undecided people who listen to their conscience. I have a high amount of confidence that watching Zionist priorities, and watching anti-Zionist priorities in counterpoint, is swaying a lot of people.

          Hell, I didn’t even need an anti-Zionist counterpoint (I had opportunities to be influenced by them but they preceded 2000) I wrote my own as a natural, visceral reaction to what I was seeing and what I was being told by the people who endorsed those actions.

        • Mooser says:

          “I didn’t used to be this intense.”

          I always was, after all, I was 1-A during the War on Vietnam. I felt very strongly about being ordered in battle by insane Southern (USA)officers, to fight people who I was much more likely to go and live with as soon as I tasted their food, or met their daughters.
          And I didn’t want to die a virgin. Of course, by now I’ve accepted the situation.

        • Citizen says:

          I keep meeting very nice wholesome elderly females who are very much up on our government’s corruption and fraud and very ethical in their personal lives. The have considerable detail on a lot, and are regular internet users. They also happen to be Christian fundies, although not members of any Christian Zionist sect. Very intelligent they are, about a lot, but when it comes to anything Israel, or if you mention the Palestinians’ plight at some point, they exhibit an absolute disconnect and immediately tell you God favors Israel and the Jews, and they are ready to send their fellow Americans off to fight for Israel at the drop of a hat. It’s disconcerting. After a time I discover they wouldn’t recognize a jew anywhere unless he or she sported a large star of David pendant. They’ve never read anything written by Jews that they are aware of, certainly no literature. And of course they never met an actual Israeli Jew or American Jew that they’re aware of. Ditto re Arabs.

          It’s freaky. I couldn’t convince them to read MW with a crowbar and free pass to Heaven. Ultimately, seems to me they just put their trust in Jesus, who is very personal to each of them. God knows best, Israelis are Jews, God chose the Jews; Christians should follow the Jews, and if they do that, they feel they will have their reward in the next life, which is a certainty to them.

          Many have had pretty good jobs. They are charitable. None have had higher than a high school degree. They seem to be all over the place.

      • Charon says:

        I didn’t wake up to it either until the invasion of Iraq. I drank the 9/11 kool aid for a couple years and thought the Afghanistan war was about getting those ‘evil terrorists’ led by Osama in his secret underground labyrinth that was laughably printed in the MSM (although I didn’t think it was real) because they hate our freedoms and such.

        Nevermind that he’s been ‘hiding’ under our noses in Pakistan the whole time (if you believe that). Nevermind that the alleged hijackers were mostly Saudis. Nevermind all those Israeli vans with explosives and Zionists/Neocons running the show and the investigation of 9/11. Afghanistan must pay for what the media said told us they did!

      • James says:

        chaos – good for you for recognizing the need for change…

        now seems like a good time to quote smedley butler

        “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

        In another often cited quote from the book Butler says:

        “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

  7. thetumta says:

    In my entire life as an American citizen there has never been a time this country has not been at “War” somewhere. I participated in some of them. It can be great fun and profitable if you play your cards right.
    At some point, my Scandinavian Ex, pointed out to me how truly bizarre this situation is to everyone else on the planet. Who do these Americans think they are, Gods? Other than Israel and North Korea, who lives like this? Americans, including O’Bummer have completely accepted this bizarre, militarist proposition seemingly without question or profit? One of us is truly crazy?
    Hej!
    P.S. But you debate the finer points endlessly?

  8. POA says:

    The worst part of this???

    That no politician, even this posturing fraud Obama, (despite his bullshit about “getting out”), dare not pull our troops.

    Why???

    Because any individual that can claim one or two active brain cells KNOWS that the minute we leave, the so called “insurgency” will be back to business as usual. And whatever hapless piece of shit that happens to be squatting in the White House, will be blamed for “losing the gains”, and will go down in history as the President “that lost the Afghanistan war”.

    The same can be said for Iraq. These are two UN-WINNABLE “wars”. The second we leave, our so called “enemies” will be back in power. Ergo, no President is going to have the balls to get us TF out of there, either place. We are in it for the long haul. The VERY long haul.

  9. POA says:

    “Afghanistan seemed the least likely place to have a war that would not blow up in our faces”

    You musta been asleep when Russia was experimenting with futility.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      I think that’s why it was unlikely. What kind of idiot follows in the footsteps of another person’s failures? (Bush and his cronies, obviously, so it’s not really a rhetorical question.)

  10. Keith says:

    I’M SHOCKED! Not one comment so far claiming that the neocons got us involved in Afghanistan, therefore, we did it for Israel? I am interested in how this will play out.

    • Charon says:

      If Israel had anything to do with the Afghanistan war it was probably because of it’s proximity to Iran. For the US it is the proximity to China and Russia. Just maybe some former Soviet goon squad was holed up in there and we went in to take ‘em out (unsuccessfully).

      Iraq was definitely a Neocon/Israel war. The oily war mongers didn’t need to be sold on it. Israel really wanted us to go after Iran though because by 2003 pushing for war with Iraq was so 1998.

      Oil and drugs aside, it has to have something to do with China and Russia. Just like the cold war. It is in a good strategic location toward the old USSR, China, Iran, and Pakistan/India. All nuclear (well maybe not Iran). This whole nuclear/cold war thing has some pretty deep roots. Non-proliferation and Israel has long been a US policy and it started with JFK and continued right until he was assassinated. I have a feeling that Israel and nuclear blackmail is very, very real. Preventing global nuclear war and mutually assured destruction plays into all these wars.

      • seafoid says:

        I thought the war in Afghanistan was primarily just an excuse to ramp up defense spending.

        Lockheed Martin’s share price in 2000 was $10
        Since 9/11 it has never been less than $50

        link to investorguide.com

        $400bn per annum is a massive stimulus package for Lockheed, Northrup Grumman and the rest of the gang.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Israel likes the WoT because so much of its export industry is based around defence and occupation management . It has some great experience from Gaza and the West Bank that it sells to Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq.

        Neither country can afford peace really.

  11. RoHa says:

    “Heck of a job, Bushie. (And Bambi.)”

    Hey, what about our Johnnie? He was all for it, too.

  12. Dan Crowther says:

    We arent at War with Afghanistan – we are at War with Iran and tribal Pakistan. And we arent fighting to avenge Americans killed on 9/11 – we are fighting for concentrated capital and India.

    9/11 cant be the “reason” we are there – sanctions started in 1999 and were brutal. See Iraq. Sanctions are really the declaration of war. 9/11 was just the pre-text for invasion.

    Just take a look at a map of the region – its smack dab in between Iran and Pakistan and just south of one of most mineral (and maybe oil) rich regions still left relatively unexplored.

    De-stabilizing Afghanistan causes problems for Iran, and puts enormous pressure on Pakistan – the Pakistani’s thought they could tame their “radical” problem by installing the Taliban in Afghanistan, but this is the “Grand Area” and there is to be no autonomous decisions or development, and especially no US clients having their own lackey’s.

    But when it became obvious that Iran was going to act in Afghanistan – the US “had” to do something. The thought of a Iranian backed client bordering Pakistan (and its very large shia population) with the potential to spread Iranian influence in Central Asia was totally unacceptable.

    The US has gotten a lot of bad press, and most people talk about what a failure the Afghan war has been – but I think these people miss the larger point – its not about “saving the world from radicalism/terrorism” – its all about denying any economic development without American involvement. And its especially about indirect war against Iran and Pakistan.

    Most people also think that the US “lost” in Vietnam. I dont see how people can think this. South East Asia was de-colonizing and becoming independent and Japan was sitting there waiting to take advantage of all the new “markets” coming on line. Well, The US wasnt about to lose WWII – so what did they do? they destroyed the region. set them back decades. The same dynamic is at play here.

    Most American Foreign Policy has been based in a ” if we cant have it, no one else can” strategy. You dont go along, you get annihilated. In this respect, the US has been wildly successful in Afghanistan. So successful that (because of the lack of a serious protest movement in the US and worldwide, as well as another major state acting against it) they have not only been allowed to destroy the country, but also control the “rebuilding” – something they werent allowed to do in Vietnam.

    I must say, I DO NOT subscribe to this line of thinking. But this is how planners in the US Government see things. It doesnt matter what they say or how its covered – the goal has always been to destabilize Afghanistan ( at least until western capital concerns are safe) and fight a proxy war against Iran and tribal Pakistan.

  13. “And the number of Afghans dead? No one knows. No one knows.”

    Who the hell cares? Certainly not Washington.

      • James says:

        annie, i have always been struck by how many americans focus so strongly on how many were killed/murdered during 9-11, but that those who have been killed/murdered and etc. in iraq is always like a small footnote to it all.. the fact is the number of people dead thanks to the usa’s wars is very disturbing.. i know many people care.. they are the people trying to stop the madness from continuing…

  14. Les says:

    Today’s newspaper reports that Obama said we have become safer thanks to 10 years of war.

    • James says:

      politicians love playing with the truth… if it was anyone else who said it, i would immediately call them a liar… since it is from a politician, i know there concept of truth is disconnected from reality for the most part and they need to sell something, usually war or spending for war… okay, i’ll say it – obama is a liar…

  15. POA says:

    1) The Taliban, with acceptable conditions, offered to hand over Bin Laden.

    2) A Pakistani ISI General, Mahmoud Ahmed, is KNOWN to have mailed funds to Mohammed Atta just prior to the 9/11 attacks. General Ahmed was never pursued or indicted, despite his known role in the 9/11 attacks.

    3) Under the radar, Taliban heavies, were airlifted OUT of Afghanistan, into Pakistan. It is believed that Mullah Omar was included in that airlift.

    Ergo, we have been fed a costly line of SHIT, that has cost trillions, WILL cost trillions, and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent non-combatants. Before it is over, the death toll will be in the millions. Our leaders will be responsible for faaaaar more carnage than Adolph Hitler ever dreamed of wreaking.

    WE HAVE BECOME THE EVIL EMPIRE. WE HAVE EARNED THE TITLE.

  16. I hope no one thinks I don’t care about the Afghanis. I do…. Here is an email I sent 3 days ago to a friend that was so depressed about the Palestinian problem he had stopped following it on the net.

    FROM:jerry hoyt to Hy… Message flagged Friday, October 7, 2011 6:16 AMMessage body
    Your saying you’ve about given up on the Palestinians is just about the way I feel. I feel helpless, just totally helpless. It’s as if nothing can ever be done for those poor people. No one listens over here…even trying to tell a neighbor can get you in trouble, if not in a fight. Ignorance over here in the US is just about complete. We’re a bunch of cattle that have been told Israel over there is wonderful and the Palestinians are nothing but bloodthirsty beasts. And danged near most of us believe it as if it were written in the Bible….

    In fact, it is written in the Bible isn’t it?

    We, you and I, are helpless. There isn’t a damned thing we can do. Nothing.

    So, why read about the Middle East? Why bother with it? All it does is just get us upset and make us feel even more helpless.

    Crap Ben… JFK said “Life’s not fair”, but surely he didn’t mean it was THAT unfair?

    You know, you and I worry about our kids and grandkids and just hope and pray nothing serious happens to them. We hope they can get good jobs and raise their kids right, and not get divorces and are able to pay their bills and drive carefully. Such stuff bothers you and me and we worry ourselves some part of each day over just such worrisome things.

    And yet, your worries and my worries are as nothing. I mean NOTHING when compared to what Palestinians face every single day and every single night. There is never a sure night they are going to be able to sleep all night and not worry about soldiers coming up to their door, knocking it down with battering rams, or even worse, blowing it to kingdom come with something far more powerful than dynamite. And coming in and ripping the place apart and injuring someone if not killing them. Or maybe worse than killing one of their family, hauling one, or several off to never ever see them again or even know what ever happens to them.

    Consider your life, your wonderful life. Count your kids as the luckiest in the world. Every single day, thank the God you worship, that you and your loved ones live in the USA. Also pray to your God, that the good old USA somehow finds its way back to the wonderful country it used to be. Pray that our country doesn’t continue down this path of godlessness of torture and wars for no reason and drones that rain unannounced death from so high in the sky you can’t even see them.

    I’m sorry Ben. I get discouraged too…. but we can’t give up. We must work to find a way to turn this enormous ship, this enormously misguided ship, this ship, this USA, we must get it turned around and headed back home where the USA used to be admired and stood tall, and stoodd for something, for something sterling, something wonderful…….. …Where people used to look to our country for guidance and hope.

    Our country back then stood for one thing above all…… kindness….

    Don’t give up on our country… We can’t…. for our kids….for our grandkids…for their grandkids…and for the Palestinians of the world.

    Ben….send this to your brother, the minister….and ask him if he has the courage to put it in his church bulletin. It would take courage…..but wouldn’t his God be pleased with him if he did?

    • Kathleen says:

      Oklahoma Farmer.
      I think you would be very interested in the writings and interviews with former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer. There are numerous interviews with him at CSpan Washington Journal. He has a website called “Non Intervention” He has written numerous incredibly informative books about why US support for Israel no matter what they do is not only an immoral stance but has and continues to jeopardize US National Security.

      There are also many other former CIA analyst who write and talk about this issue. Ray McGovern (go google his writings and interviews) and listen closely. Former CIA analyst Kathleen and Bill Christison (over at Counterpunch) Also can google interviews with them.

      The 9/11 commission Report actually mentions how US support for Israel no matter what they do has been and continues to be a threat to US National Security. Many others in the past have brought this up Queen Noor, the King of Jordan, Former President Jimmy Carter, Former National Security Adviser Zbiniew Bryzinski, former weapons inspector Scott Ritter(go watch the interview with Seymour Hersh and Scott Ritter at CSpans WAshington Journal) The title of the interview is “Target Iran”

      Lt Colonel Karen Kwiatowski’s article “The New Pentagaon Papers” is a must read about what took place in the Pentagon’s Office of Special plans while she was there. How basically Jewish American citizens who are Israeli firsters put the welfare of Israel before US National security. Created and dessiminated false intelligence about Iraq alleged WMD programs and helped send men and women to invade Iraq based on this false intelligence.

      Another great article is “The Men from Jinsa” written by the Nations investigative reporter Jason Vest in the fall of 2002.

      Go read the selected files of the Aipac/Rosen/Weissman espionage investigation (google it). This 9 time delayed trial and investigation were swept under the rug by our so called justice system. Former Congress woman Jane “waddling on over to interfere in this investigation” Harman and others did their very best to shut this investigation and trial down.

      Go read how basically Israeli agents/ US citizens (Kenneth Pollack, Rosen,Weissman, Lawrence Franklin) have stolen highly classified US documents and passed them onto Israeli officials.

  17. Mooser says:

    You people make me sick! Sick, do you hear me? Why if we weren’t fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, all those young people (women, too, for God’s frickin sake!) who volunteered for the service would be here in the USA, and we would be that much closer to complete military facism, if not all the way there.
    Ever wonder what happened to all the tattle-tales, bullies and toadies you knew in school? Well you can thank dead Iraqis and Afghanis they aren’t bossing you around right now.

    What a world, what a world. Only decent country on the planet is Sweden. They know what’s important.

    • Kathleen says:

      Mooser why not join up or encourage your kids or relatives to join up? So you and “your people” can put their own asses on the line for what mostly rich white , yellow bellied chicken hawks are after. Go kill for lies, Israel and US hegemony. Stop talking about it

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Kathleen, you got to take a deep breath.

        Mooser was making a joke. Like he ALWAYS does. And like with any good humor, there is an element of truth in it.

        • Kathleen says:

          “Well you can thank dead Iraqis and Afghanis they aren’t bossing you around right now. ”

          This is not a joke and not funny. How would you respond if Mooser had referred to dead Jews, Poles, Gypsies who were exterminated during Hitler’s rampage.

          Not funny Dan. Not a joke. Apply the same standards.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Kathleen,

          The futility at getting upset at stuff like this is evidenced by the fact that I could say you were comparing the US military to Hitlers Army in your reply to my post.

          And if I wanted, as a former military member, I could feign outrage at your statement. But I wont. Cuz I think thats a dumb thing to do, and I know you werent saying that. And, again, Mooser was making a joke. You dont have a monopoly on humor, no one does. You found it offensive, I thought it was funny. I generally find his comments funny and interesting. If you thought he was serious, I can understand – but it was clear, at least to me ( and because its Mooser), that he was kidding.

        • Kathleen says:

          I come from a huge military family. Air Force. Now where did I compare the US military to Hitler’s army. Stop putting words in my mouth.

          But now that you said it. In Iraq and in Vietnam you might have a point

    • mig says:

      Sweden ? What Sweden knows ?

  18. Kathleen says:

    “And the number of Afghans dead? No one knows. No one knows. But the estimates, most likely too low, are soul-rattling. 12,000-14,000? 40,000? Tens and tens of thousands of civilians, and the numbers just keep getting uglier, as Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress told Democracy Now!”

    I had the great honor of getting to know a Fulbright scholar from Afghanistan who was studying at Ohio University for three years. He is a wonderful young man who missed his very large family, wife and 4 children while he was studying in the US. We spent hours talking about his country, his family, his religious beliefs etc. I learned a great deal. His father was a retired military man who had fought against the Russians with the Mujahadeen. After his family compound had been bombed by the Russians and he remembers clearly his mother picking up his oldest sisters (1 of 12 children) body parts in the compound his father moved the family via walking, part of the trip in vehicles to Peshawar Pakistan and then went back to fight the Russians. Haroon (have permission to use his name) was four years old at the time.

    I learned so much from him and was able to ask his father questions (via email) when the US invaded Iraq. I learned that the Russians has wiped out almost all of Afghanistans pomegrante, grape, almond, etc orchards. That the agricultural traditions had essentially been wiped out. A perfect condition to increase the cultivation of poppies. What other choice did farmers who had previously been growing other crops have at that point? (years to cultivate those orchards)

    When the Bush administration illegally and immorally invaded Iraq based on a “pack of lies” Haroon and his father kept stating “does the US want to lose Afghanistan again” After deserting the majority of people in Afghanistan after Russia pulled out. They also kept repeating way back in 2003/2004 that the only way to deal with the more moderate Taliban was to bring them to the table. The only way. That the slaughtering of several thousand surrendered Taliban (go watch Convoy of Death…Afghanistan Massacre..Amy Goodman was one of the only media outlets to cover the release of this documentary way back when) really pissed people in Afghanistan off. Who can blame them. The US said nothing about this horrific slaughter of those who had surrendered to the occupying forces. Go watch that documentary.

    Haroon has lost a cousin, an uncle and a brother in law in the last six months. The suffering of the people of Afghanistan is immense.

    I did not support the invasion of Afghanistan when the Bush administration invaded. But now that we are there. We must try to figure out ways to productively help the people of that country. They have suffered so much and for so long

    • Kathleen says:

      “had wiped out”

      One other thing that I learned and verified was that the government of Afghanistan had demanded hard proof that OBL was directly involved 9/11 and the Bush administration had never provided that hard proof.

      If the Bush administration had really just wanted to go after Al Qeada they would have sent in special forces the way Obama illegally did in Pakistan.

      Also learned from Haroon that the US, Russia, all other invaders of that country are very interested in those huge mineral deposits in Afghanistan. Huge sources of uranium.

      James Risen recently wrote about this issue that the people of Afghanistan have been aware of what invading forces have been interested in for a very long time.

      .
      U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan (unable to link)
      A bleak Ghazni Province seems to offer little, but a Pentagon study says it may have among the world’s largest deposits of lithium.
      By JAMES RISEN
      Published: June 13, 2010

      .”WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

      The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

      An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

      The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.”

      A TOTAL BUNCH OF HOOEY THAT AFGHANI OFFICIALS OR THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN ARE NOT AWARE OF THEIR MINERAL WEALTH OR WHAT INVADERS ARE AFTER

    • annie says:

      now that we are there. We must try to figure out ways to productively help the people of that country.

      american military intervention is not a charitable project. we don’t help people, we kill them. check out ‘Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy’ link to latimes.com

      our soldiers should leave. all of them. and while we’re at it we could end drone attacks everywhere.
      Drone War Against Somalis and Yeminite Isn’t “Deterrence”

      • Kathleen says:

        I am in contact with my friend.

        And yes the US presence there does great harm and some good. If we focus on cultivating a sincere interest in supporting the majority of people in Afghanistan through agricultural alternatives to growing poppies for illegal uses. Which do not kid your self some evil (yes evil) US and other forces are involved in. We are talking about billions of dollars here being made through Afghanistans largest export.

        I am in support of cultivating agricultural, medical, and educational resources (they need to determine how) to Afghanistan via our military and other means.

        Again I did not support the invasion at all. Not at all. But we are there. And you can be sure are not leaving. So in the mean time how the US deals Afghanistan should be turned to at the very least rebuilding, replanting other ways for the people to make a living. As well as the means to export those agricultural products.

    • mig says:

      “We must try to figure out ways to productively help the people of that country.”

      ++++ Leave. Just leave the country, and get some other to help them.

  19. Kathleen says:

    Drug Use Has Increased in Afghanistan, U.N. Report Says
    By ALISSA J. RUBIN
    Published: June 21, 2010
    Recommend
    Twitter
    Linkedin

    Sign In to E-Mail

    Print

    Reprints

    .KABUL, Afghanistan — The last several years of poverty, conflict and widely available opium are taking a toll on the Afghan population, with roughly 800,000 Afghan adults now using opium, heroin and other illicit drugs, a jump from five years ago, according to a study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
    ———————————————————————-
    Drug Addiction, And Misery, Increase In Afghanistan
    by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

    April 16, 2009 A growing number of Afghans — including children — are escaping the pain of war and poverty by using opium or heroin, for as little as a dollar a day.

    A United Nations survey begun this month is widely expected to show that at least 1 in 12 people in Afghanistan abuses drugs — double the number in the last survey four years ago.

    Experts say that the alarming trend is not being addressed by the Afghan government and its international partners, even though most officials acknowledge that the drug scourge threatens lasting stability in Afghanistan.

    Many of the addicts, especially the women, feed their habit in secret, inside walled, mud-floor family compounds.
    —————————————————————–

    Sorry unable to link.
    Suggest reading these reports
    Drug Use in Afghanistan Survey Releasedwww.unodc.org/afghanistan/…/drug-use-in-afghanistan-survey-releas…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Jun 22, 2010 – Around 1 million Afghans suffer from drug addiction, UNODC reports On 22 June 2010 the UNODC released its latest Drug Use in Afghanistan …
    UNODC Reports Major and Growing Drug Abuse in Afghanistanwww.unodc.org/…/unodc-reports-major-and-growing-drug-abuse-in…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    VIENNA, 21 June (UN Information Service) – A survey on Drug Use in …