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Who’s Excited About Another Decade in Afghanistan? by David Swanson

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
warisacrime.org
December 12, 2013

End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars!

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

With 196 nations in the world and U.S. troops already in at least 177 of them, there aren’t all that many available to make war against. Yet it looks like both Syria and Iran will be spared any major Western assault for the moment.  Could this become a trend?  Is peace on the horizon?  Are celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s nonviolence sincere?

The glitch in this optimistic little photo-shopped storyline starts with an A and rhymes with Shmafghanistan.

The U.S. public has been telling pollsters we want all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan “as soon as possible” for years now. We’re spending $10 million per hour, and $81 billion in the new annual budget, on an operation that many top officials and experts have said generates hostility toward our country.  The chief cause of death for U.S. troops in this operation is suicide.

And now, at long last, we have an important (and usually quite corrupt) politician on our side, responding to public pressure and ready — after 12 years — to shut down Operation Enduring … and Enduring and Enduring.

Oddly, this politician’s name is not President Barack Obama.  When Obama became president, there were 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  He escalated to over 100,000 troops, plus contractors. Now there are 47,000 troops these five years later.  Measured in financial cost, or death and destruction, Afghanistan is more President Obama’s war than President Bush’s.  Now the White House is trying to keep troops in Afghanistan until “2024 and beyond.”

Sadly, the politician who has taken our side is not in Washington at all.  There are a few Congress Members asking for a vote, but most of their colleagues are silent.  When Congress faced the question of missiles into Syria, and the question was front-and-center on our televisions, the public spoke clearly.  Members of both parties, in both houses of Congress, said they heard from more people, more passionately, and more one-sidedly than ever before.

But on the question of another decade “and beyond” in Afghanistan, the question has not been presented to Congress or the public, and we haven’t yet found the strength to raise it ourselves.  Yet someone has managed to place himself on our side, namely Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Like the Iraqi government before him, Karzai is refusing to agree to an ongoing occupation with U.S. forces immune from prosecution under Afghan laws.  Before signing off on an ongoing military presence, Karzai says he would like the U.S. to stop killing civilians and stop kicking in people’s doors at night.  He’d like the U.S. to engage in peace negotiations.  He’d like Afghan prisoners freed from Guantanamo.  (Of the 17 still there, 4 have long since been cleared for release but not released; none has been convicted of any crime.) And he’d like the U.S. not to sabotage the April 2014 Afghan elections.

Whatever we think of Karzai’s legacy — my own appraisal is unprintable — these are remarkably reasonable demands.  And at least as far as U.S. public opinion goes, here at long last is a post-invasion ruler actually engaged in spreading democracy.

What about the Afghans? Should we “abandon” them? We told pollsters we wanted to send aid to Syria, not missiles.  Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan — or to the entire world, for that matter, including our own country — would cost a fraction of what we spend on wars and war preparations (51.4% of the new federal budget), and could quite easily make us the most beloved nation on earth.  I bet we’d favor that course of action if we were asked — or if we manage to both raise the question and answer it.


David Swanson‘s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

see

At least 13 Afghan civilians killed, including Hashim (8) and Zukoom (9)

10 More Years in Afghanistan by David Swanson

Torture on Tape: Disturbing Video Shows U.S. Special Forces Observing Brutal Afghan Interrogation

Rick Rozoff: Time To Look At Human Dimension As Afghan War Enters Thirteenth Year

Chris Hedges: Afghanistan, the Longest War in US History

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8 Responses

  1. […] Who’s Excited About Another Decade in Afghanistan? by David Swanson […]

  2. […] Who’s Excited About Another Decade in Afghanistan? by David Swanson […]

  3. […] Who’s Excited About Another Decade in Afghanistan? by David Swanson […]

  4. […] Who’s Excited About Another Decade in Afghanistan? by David Swanson […]

  5. […] Who’s Excited About Another Decade in Afghanistan? by David Swanson […]

  6. Here in Australia, you do not talk about war, if you do, you will not be invited back, you can talk about the weather, or BBQs, or surfing and sport, what they want to talk about is having another drink, having a fuck, and money, it is of no concern as to whether a Afghan sitting in a room can have a hand grenade thrown in and the consequence, what is of concern is having a good laugh, some how its the indifference that gets to you.
    I believe Nietzsche, embraced a horses head when it was being ill treated, by a slob, it is unending.

  7. The truly reprehensible war in Afghanistan is the white elephant in the living room which Americans never discuss. If there is no debate, it’s because people really don’t give a damn about people in Afghanistan one way or another. The apathy of Americans when it comes to Afghanistan is monumental. We need to get the hell out of there, yesterday!

  8. Why surely you can’t be against the ‘War on Terror’. Since its inception, 9/11’s are down 100%.

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