Thursday, November 12, 2009

Afghanistan proposals

Maybe my slightly tongue in cheek suggestion yesterday that the President is retaining a little sense despite his exalted office has some truth to it. This morning there are reports that he's listening to his ambassador in Kabul who warns against throwing more soldiers into a rathole and is asking the U. S. military to describe exit strategies. Good news all around for most Afghans and for us, though I don't expect fast progress toward disengagement. After all, the U.S. is still in Iraq, a conquest for which there was no justification whatsoever.

Photo from London Progressive Journal.

When other rationales lose their luster, proponents of the long war (and occupation) in Afghanistan often proclaim their devotion to the needs of Afghan women. Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghan assembly who was driven out by warlords and survived several assassination attempts, has been touring the United States trying to spike this notion. She writes in an oped in the San Jose Mercury News

Eight years ago, women's rights were used as one of the excuses to start this war. But today, Afghanistan is still facing a women's rights catastrophe. Life for most Afghan women resembles a type of hell that is never reflected in the Western mainstream media.

In 2001, the U.S. helped return to power the worst misogynist criminals, such as the Northern Alliance warlords and druglords. These men ought to be considered a photocopy of the Taliban. The only difference is that the Northern Alliance warlords wear suits and ties and cover their faces with the mask of democracy while they occupy government positions. ...

The U.S. and its allies are getting ready to offer power to the medieval Taliban by creating an imaginary category called the "moderate Taliban" and inviting them to join the government. ...

We are sandwiched between three powerful enemies: the occupation forces of the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban and the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai.

Now President Obama is considering increasing troops to Afghanistan and simply extending former President Bush's wrong policies. In fact, the worst massacres since 9/11 were during Obama's tenure. My native province of Farah was bombed by the U.S. this past May. A hundred and fifty people were killed, most of them women and children. On Sept. 9, the U.S. bombed Kunduz Province, killing 200 civilians.

My people are fed up. That is why we want an immediate end to the U.S. occupation.
Lowtechcyclist at Cogitamus has a modest proposal for how to fix the U.S. political system so we citizens don't have to drag our politicians back over and over from the folly of empire.

In a more perfect world, there'd be a Constitutional amendment saying that all declarations of war expire after five years, and ditto for all Congressional authorizations to use military force by whatever name, forcing the President to ask Congress for a new vote if s/he wants to continue the war. Five years seems more than reasonable - we defeated Hitler and Tojo in 3.7 years; any war where we can't achieve our aims in 5 years, we probably can't do so at all. And even if we can, it's time to pull the public back in to the discussion, so the politicians are forced to ask: do we want to?

The writer correctly points out that we the people seem to be passive spectators to Obama's conversation with his generals and spooks. Is that democracy? Don't we get a say in where our country spends blood and treasure? Hmmm....

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

I can't add a single thing except my total agreement!!!!!

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