Afghan Officials Report 52 Civilians Dead in NATO Strike … In what could be the one of the most serious cases of civilian casualties in nine years of war, top Afghan officials said Monday that 52 people had been killed in a remote region of Helmand Province on Friday when a rocket slammed into a house where women and children had gathered to take shelter from fighting between NATO troops and militants. … President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack as "both morally and humanly unacceptable." Speaking by telephone from Rigi, the stricken village, a witness, Mohammed Usman, 57, said he helped pull the mangled bodies of 17 children and 7 women from the rubble. "They have ruined us, and they have killed small children and innocent women," he said. "God will never forgive them." The Karzai government said that its information came from its own intelligence service. American military officials cast the account as premature but did not deny it. – NY Times
Dominant Social Theme: It's just like Vietnam?
Free-Market Analysis: The career military officer sat in his Pentagon office reading an article on his computer screen about a WikiLeaks data dump showing secret civilian casualties in Afghanistan. After a moment he stood and walked to the other side of the room where he looked at another screen that was scrolling 24-hours news.
On the screen, he read about an errant drone attack that had targeted a house in Helmand Province, killing 57 women and children. If true, it would be one of the largest civilian strikes ever and create even more anger among the Pashtuns that are supporting the anti-West Taliban forces. He walked away from the computer in dismay. Now he was frozen. He didn't want to sit back down at his desk and finish reading the WikiLeaks story. He didn't want to finish reading the other story either.
He stood there in the middle of his office holding his head.
Yesterday, we surmise, was one long headache for those in charge of the Afghanistan war on the Western side. Metaphorically, many good officers in the Pentagon and elsewhere stood in the middle of otherwise efficient offices holding their collective heads. Bad news, on occasion, is so momentous that it is impossible to ignore. One makes the determination to soldier on, but larger forces may nonetheless be aligning in positions that are new and different. Perhaps this has happened.
We started writing our recent series of articles about the war in Afghanistan following comments by Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele who suggested at a Connecticut fundraiser that Afghanistan is "a war of Obama's choosing." We looked at the amateur videotape of Michael Steele making these remarks and saw that it was no off-the-cuff statement. It was smooth and polished oratory that flowed like a set piece. It sounded like something rehearsed. It was not accident. Something had changed.
You can read the initial article here: Beginning of the End of the Afghan War.
In the article "Beginning of the End of the Afghanistan War?" we wrote that we sensed a dominant social theme was in the midst of shifting. The resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the "surge of forces" in Afghanistan leading to Pentagon rhetoric about a "critical" time in the war effort and increased bickering on capitol hill all led us to believe that the confidence with which the West had anticipated an easy victory in Afghanistan was eroding.
In commenting on this shift, we are not capable of determining what is pre-planned and what is serendipity. We could make the judgment for instance that some involved in these conversations welcome WikiLeaks data dump, despite criticisms, because one needs such events to create a larger conversational reconfiguration. But it is a big jump from making this observation to surmising that Wikileaks is somehow in cahoots with the powers-that-be and that all of this is in a sense pre-determined.
Sometimes, as we have mentioned many times before, we believe the reality to be just what it is. Not everything reported by mainstream media is calculated, fear-based propaganda. Indeed, these larger themes, once propagated, have a life of their own. They work or they don't work. They are affected by reality. And the reality seems to be changing.
Of course, it is evident and obvious to anyone who studies the increasingly available reporting on Afghanistan that American intelligence agencies in cahoots with the Pakistan ISI intelligence service set up an Al Qaeda-like organization to fight the Russians when they invaded Afghanistan. Pakistan started training young Pashtuns in Islamic schools to help with the war effort since it was Afghanistan that had been attacked. These young militants have become known as the Taliban.
Today, it is primarily this force that is opposed to US and NATO military efforts in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been giving Taliban elements shelter in Pakistan among Pashtun tribes near the border of Afghanistan. However, it is a great leap from observing this situation to claiming that the CIA is working hand-in-glove with the Pakistan ISI to maintain the Taliban as a fighting force opposing Western military might. This is certainly a cynical interpretation.
There is no doubt that the Western banking elite has for centuries helped stoke wars and then funded both sides. It is a most lucrative practice. But ultimately, the power elite that we attempt to cover in these modest pages is an Anglo-America one, aligned with the West. Its goal, if hundreds of years of history does not lie, is to create one-world governance and a one-world monetary system.
The war being prosecuted in Afghanistan, still simmering in Iraq and perhaps about to explode in Iran, is one that is being waged in part to make Islam more amenable to Western influences. It does these powerful Western banking families no good to lose it. But is that what is starting to happen? A loss? Or is the power elite an infallible Illuminati-like organization that plans its gains and losses meticulously. We would maintain it does no such thing. It is often a reactionary institution, creating as many crises for itself as it resolves.
Because of the Internet, as we have long pointed out, these losses are increasing. The pressure is building on the elite and elite-memes just as the pressure built 500 years ago after the invention of the Gutenberg printing press. Each time there is a new "crisis," the elite leaps to defuse it. But such interventions are ultimately useless. The Internet, as it is used by humans, is a process of continual revelation.
WikiLeaks has promised more Afghan "data dumps" and all yesterday (and doubtless today) one could see the American media especially begin an attempt at damage control. The Washington Post almost immediately ran a story, for instance, claiming that, "Experts say documents shouldn't alter approach [to war]." But on the other side of the pond the British media – as has been its habit of late – was less supine, pointing out (as American mainstream media has not) that there was plenty of incendiary information in what some were describing as "unsurprising" information. Here's an excerpt from a Guardian article, "Coalition Commanders Hid Civilian Deaths, War Logs Reveal" …
Further disclosures reveal more evidence of attempts by coalition commanders to cover up civilian casualties in the conflict. The details emerge from more than 90,000 secret US military files, covering six years of the war, which caused a worldwide uproar when they were leaked yesterday.
The war logs show how a group of US marines who went on a shooting rampage after coming under attack near Jalalabad in 2007 recorded false information about the incident, in which they killed 19 unarmed civilians and wounded a further 50.
In another case that year, the logs detail how US special forces dropped six 2,000lb bombs on a compound where they believed a "high-value individual" was hiding, after "ensuring there were no innocent Afghans in the surrounding area". A senior US commander reported that 150 Taliban had been killed. Locals, however, reported that up to 300 civilians had died.
What is going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan is, in fact, "blow back" and likely cannot be stopped by more fighting, which is only radicalizing Pashtuns further. Having created and armed the Pashtun/Taliban, Pakistan finds itself incapable of delivering them a mortal blow, despite the evident and obvious preferences of the West (and likely the CIA as well by now) at this point in time. In fact, with some 90 percent of Pakistan citizens holding an unfavorable view of the West and Western assaults in general, the Pakistan army and government has had to move very cautiously against the tribes for fear of inciting yet more anti-American (and anti-establishment) furor.
The West of course can attack the tribal areas themselves, but that would be a marked escalation in a war that has already expanded a great deal. It would also likely destabilize the Pakistan government and army, too. Alternatively, the Americans and NATO can declare a formal war on Pakistan (is an informal war against Pakistan already underway?) but this seems like a fairly unlikely evolution.
Sometimes the news is just … news. The West wants to win the war in Afghanistan. It is undeniable. Not for oil. Not for lithium. But for the sake of control. It is, in fact, a holy war. A Western Jihad against an inconvenient Islam and its non-Western business practices. The intention is to reconfigure a culture and make Islam safe for Western regulatory democracy. It is the reason there are 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and perhaps another 100,000 mercenaries.
And yet this still is probably not enough. The Pashtuns alone number some 40 million in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And the ISI and the CIA, having stoked Pashtun nationalism, cannot easily defuse it. Meanwhile 200 million-plus Pakistanis are sympathetic to the Pashtuns' plight (though there is certainly the complicating element of an inter-tribal rivalry about a nascent Pashtun nation) and there is a limited amount of pressure apparently that either American military or intelligence forces can bring to bear.
The West, as we have observed previously, is now in an escalating war with two of the world's most ancient tribes, the Punjabis and the Pashtuns – tribes that have inhabited the same places for thousands of years. Together, these tribes constitute about 150 million people in a landlocked and formidable region of the world. We don't know if the West will ultimately win or lose this war. But it is a big deal.
It is not merely a banker's war. To make such a cynical analysis (as the left does all the time) is a fundamental misreading in our point of view. This is another crusade, deliberately set in motion by the Anglo-American elite which may have planned such wars even before 9/11. But as we recall, the Crusades didn't always go well. And new technologies such as the Internet complicate an ancient task. The headache will likely only grow bigger.