"Afghanistan has a special place in my heart. I not only love the country and its people, but I also believe that it has not been given its due of peace and prosperity. It is a clear example of unilateral and naked ambition on the part of a former super power to change the status quo without regard to moral principle, international law, or human consideration. Alas, we have seen that repeated in Iraq by the other super power. What Afghanistan needs, now, is a shift from nation building to effectively countering terrorists. The point has been made that America and the rest of the world cannot accept that any country be the launching ground of terrorist activity as Afghanistan was from 1997 until today. – Saudi Prince Turki Al Faisal (left) as reported in the Wall Street Journal
Dominant Social Theme: The mess in Afghanistan has even Saudi Arabia concerned.
Free-Market Analysis: In our humble opinion Afghanistan has been tortured enough after some 30 years of intermittent, cyclical war. And we wonder why the leaders of the Anglo-American axis continue to believe the blood-letting and expenditure of massive amounts of treasure is worthwhile.
We have no answers, but the longer the war continues (especially if it continues to go sour) the higher the risks, we believe, for further destabilization of the regions with all the attendant effects on gold, oil, etc. In fact, we think this is one unspoken reason that the price of gold continues to climb – even beyond the instability in Europe, the euro, etc.
The situation has been complicated, at least until recently, by the almost deafening silence when it comes to criticism of the war effort. The British are increasingly vocal about it, to be sure, as are several other European countries, most notably Germany. But even here, we would note, the criticism is bring driven by the populace itself, not the established political class.
Does it come down to fear? In both Europe and America, intelligence agencies are ever more aggressively monitoring conversations and political speech. In America, traditionally a haven of certain pacifist tendencies, we can see that taking a stand against US military policy is gradually morphing into some sort of terrorist act. This is a terrible legal evolution on numerous levels. Soon, it would appear, only foreign entities (as we can see in the above article excerpt) will be left to criticize the policies of the Pentagon and the larger military industrial complex.
It is most unfortunate that the war in Afghanistan grinds on, smoldering like underbrush in a drought and threatening to explode someday into a huge conflagration. In fact, here is something reported by Press TV on May 15: "Days after the establishment of a new British government, Foreign Secretary William Hague vows to work with the US against Iran, going so far as to consider military action against Tehran. In his first official visit to the US, Hague pledged support for a new round of UN Security Council resolutions against Iran over its nuclear work. 'The United Kingdom will work solidly alongside the United States to secure the Security Council resolution,' the British minister said at a Friday joint press conference with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton."
One questions why the Anglo-American establishment would want to start yet a third war in the Middle East (with Iran) with other military actions going badly. But, of course, that is perhaps just the point. War is an extension of politics and also a great eraser of sociopolitical error. In the fog of war, much can be forgotten or at least forgiven. And national security can be invoked for much else, making investigations difficult and recriminations almost impossible.
But nonetheless, there are certain realities. Iraq remains problematic despite what has been reported about the success of the American "surge." Iran continues to simmer and Afghanistan is obviously not going well for the Western powers that continue to fight there. That's not just our take, but that of the former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki Al Faisal in a transcript offered by the Wall Street Journal website (see excerpt above). Here's some more of what he had to say:
The moral high ground which America acquired after September 11th has been dissipated since then because of American negligence, ignorance, and arrogance. Mr. Obama's declared policy in Afghanistan is to go after the terrorists. He should do so. He should not be misdirected into believing that he can fix Afghanistan's ills by military means. Hunt down the terrorists on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, arrest them or kill them, and get out; and let the Afghan people deal with their problems.
As long as GI boots remain on Afghan soil, they remain targets of resistance for the Afghan people and ideological mercenaries. The inept way in which this Administration has dealt with President Karzai beggars disbelief and amazement. Both sides are now filled with resentment and a sour taste in their mouths. How can they both get out of that situation, I don't know. Nor can I pretend that future resentment and bad taste will not happen. The attempts being made now are a step in the right direction. That is why I suggest that America get the terrorists, declare victory, and get out.
The Taliban of today are no longer the exclusively Pashtun warriors who ruled Afghanistan until 2002. They are now any and every Afghan of whatever ilk who raises arms against the foreign invaders. By declaring them the enemy, America has declared the people of Afghanistan the enemy. Here also, there should be no more platitudes and good wishes. Boots on the ground, chasing the terrorists is what is needed."
This is fairly strong talk from a diplomat. It is actually a stronger and more damning analysis than any we have read in the mainstream press to date. We have reported on the many obstacles facing American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, but the Saudi Prince has gone further in terms of his criticism, indicating that resistance to the war has spread beyond the Pashtuns to ethnicities that likely have not made common cause with that tribe of 40-million strong in the past. This must be seen as alarming, even discouraging. It supports, surprisingly so, what we ourselves have recently written on the subject. Here's an excerpt:
This is a classic war of conquest, but it is not being reported as such. The Taliban is mentioned constantly in the Western press; the Pashtuns (from whence the Taliban is birthed) are mentioned very rarely. The idea apparently, is to intimidate 40 million Pashtuns until they give up their tribal lifestyles and accept a kind of hybrid Western-style democracy led by Pashtun Clown Prince Hamid Karzai.
Does this make sense? From a tactical standpoint (as we have pointed out before), it is as if the North had invaded the South during the Civil War and urged the populace to support the Union even while moving to eradicate Southern armies. Why would Southern populations have cooperated – when the armies made up of their menfolk were actively engaged in struggle against these same forces?
It gets worse. The NATO and US forces are also actively engaged in eradicating the Afghans livelihood. We remember reading one statistic that claimed a good deal of Afghan livestock has been wiped out in the past few years of fighting, effectively spelling the end of a certain kind of agricultural lifestyle throughout the country. At the same time as so many Afghans were being dispossessed of their livelihoods, US and NATO forces have actively campaigned against poppy growing – another way that Afghans survive.
Let's put this all together now. The Taliban is a Pashtun fighting force, and the Pashtuns occupy the interior of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The US and NATO troops are urging the Pashtuns not to support the Taliban (their brothers, fathers and husbands) but at the same time, these troops are eradicating Pashtun/Afghanistan agricultural lifestyles, empowering other ethnicities in Afghan and regularly committing violence against Pashtun civilians. This is essentially cultural genocide.
To read the full article, click here: NATO Generals Medal Madness.
We don't agree with the Prince on his take regarding the allies' pursuit of terrorists. We think the entire decade-long exercise has only increased terrorism in the Middle East and made it more likely that "terrorists" (such as they are) will indeed begin targeting America and perhaps Europe as well. We tend to agree with US Congressmen Ron Paul who points out that America has no obligation to police the world, much less build a Western-style democracy out of the battered remains of Afghanistan. Nor do we think that America or her allies will prove successful at doing so, anymore than other countries have proven in this graveyard of empires. What is more regrettable is that the West's continued military failure apparently leads to American policy-makers contemplating an even wider regional war – and one that has the possibility of engaging major powers such as Russia and China. It seems a kind of madness, yet it continues.