Afghanistan's fledging conservation agency moved Sunday to protect one of the world's rarest birds after the species was rediscovered in the war-ravaged country's northeast. The remote Pamir Mountains are the only known breeding area of the large-billed reed warbler (pictured left), a species so elusive that it had been documented only twice before in more than a century. … On Sunday, Afghanistan's National Environment Protection Agency added the large-billed reed warbler to its list of protected species, which was established only last year. Mustafa Zahir, the agency's director-general, acknowledged the difficulties of trying to protect wildlife in a country preoccupied with the Taliban insurgency. On Friday, suicide attackers killed 16 people in Kabul, the capital, and thousands of Afghan and NATO forces are fighting to root out the hard-line Islamists from their southern stronghold. But Zahir, who is the grandson of Afghanistan's former king, said the discovery of the large- billed reed warbler provided some welcome positive news. "It is not true that our country is full of only bad stories," Zahir said. "This bird, after so many years, has been discovered here. Everyone thought it was extinct." … The Afghan environmental agency also added 14 other species to the protected list on Sunday. It now includes 48 species including the rare snow leopard, the Asiatic cheetah and the markhor, a type of wild goat with large spiral horns. – AP
Dominant Social Theme: A small but significant sign that civilization is returning to Afghanistan.
Free-Market Analysis: Because the Bell is anti-war and anti-state we have never believed it was the manifest destiny of America to occupy the Middle East or rid it of non-existent weapons of mass destruction or drive the evil Taliban out of Afghanistan in favor of the endlessly corrupt government of Hamid Karzai. Yet at the same time, we are aware of the ramped up pro-war propaganda issuing out of the Western mainstream media as regarding the latest Afghan "surge." No doubt the above story was intended as part of this propaganda push, a "feel good" report intended to show that Western style concern for the environment can blossom like a delicate flower even in the parched soil of backwards and brutal Afghanistan.
We have our own view of course. We just feel sorry for the Afghanistan people. They are being murdered daily. When women and children are not being blown up by accident after being mistaken for Taliban, the Taliban themselves are blowing up Afghan civilians with roadside ordinance and suicide bombs. What awaits the Afghans if the American and allied surge is successful? Presumably a Westernized way of life. In its advanced incarnation, it will include perhaps a British variant of "freedom" – cameras on every street corner (and in every field) to ensure there is no poppy cultivation except by select, government-enabled criminals.
What else? Let us prognosticate. There will be eventually a high income tax; various sales taxes; an Afghan central bank that will inflate Afghanistan's currency to nearly nothing; a plethora of regulations that will "empower" Afghan women (who will then have to work several jobs along with their husbands to keep up with taxes and inflation); more regulations that will set various standards for Afghan farming and industry; Internet regulations (ones that potentially could not gain a foothold in the West); currency controls; gun confiscation; hate speech laws; endlessly degrading public schools; roads and bridges built but never kept up; eminent domain abuse and confiscation of private property; ever-enlarging police and military forces to "keep the peace"; manipulated democracy and vote rigging to sustain the intolerable status quo; tagging and licensing of livestock and perhaps, eventually, children … we could go on and on.
Far be it for us to claim that the Afghans current impoverished, often tribal and agricultural lifestyle – as reports have it – is preferable to the above. But we do question why the West seems so determined to make the choice for the Afghans. It is true probably that the Taliban regime was merciless and backwards, but it apparently did not imply a wholesale change of Afghan society. A half century, or even a century ago, the idea that the West could bring a "civilizing" influence to the forgotten, miserable people of the world, might have had some surface justification. But given what is going on in the West today – and the uproar in the West, especially America, over failing economies (and societies) – one wonders where the moral superiority comes from.
We've written that these wars are a fool's errand. They are not only morally indefensible, they are ultimately unsupportable. America is tens of trillions in debt yet is currently supporting two wars, eying several more and paying hundreds of billions to sustain a far-flung empire of perhaps 1,000 military bases around the world.
We've written these wars are not wars of conquest or even wars for oil. That would be too facile. What the Anglo-American empire in particular is after is a seamless web of influence around the world, one which allows it to inform its OWN citizens that there is no escape from the particular hell that is an ever-more advanced regulatory democracy. As the full breathtaking breadth of democratic fascism becomes apparent, more and more will seek to flee. No doubt they may, in the process, infringe on the swelling tsunami of laws and regulations that are turning Western democracies into virtual "lifestyle" gulags. The empire, in our opinion, wants to make sure there is no escape – and that it's citizens know it. This is the reason the "civilization" of Afghanistan is ongoing. Every corner of the world must be made safe for democracy or a variant thereof.
The West will not likely win in Afghanistan, not in the long run (no invader ever has in modern history). Those in charge – the power elite in particular – do not care. Western officials are busily building bases in Afghanistan as they have in Iraq, as they have around the world. They do not intend to leave. They will squat in these ruined countries for as long as they can, for as long as they can control or intimidate the government into leaving the bases alone. They could not, in our opinion, care less about the actual inhabitants of these countries – inhabitants they have murdered, maimed and even poisoned (with lethal depleted uranium).
The bases and the ability to garrison them is what the West is after. From these bases they can reach out to expats around the world. They can control their own populations and intimidate governments abroad with a seamless web of control and the reality (and illusion) of military power. That is what we believe is most important in the scheme of things. Even more important than an endangered Afghan large-billed reed warbler salvaged by the "grandson of Afghanistan's former king."
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