Larry Kerschner Writes

I Applaud...But, Unfortunately

   I applaud President Obama for his actions in his first few days in office.  He ended the kangaroo courts for alleged terrorists.  He is closing the prison at Guantanamo.  He is closing secret CIA prisons around the world in the American Gulag.  He has put a stop to torturing prisoners declaring it to be un-American.  These are all pledges he made during the campaign.  Unlike many politicians he is keeping his word. 

     Unfortunately he has also promised to remove troops from Iraq and send them to continue the occupation  and subjugation of Afghanistan.  The United States under the so-called Operation Enduring Freedom has been occupying Afghanistan since October 2001.  We have set up a puppet government in Kabul, headed by Hamid Karzai, that has no power outside of that city.  We claimed our purpose was to capture Osama Bin Laden.  Where is he?

     We claimed that we were liberating Afghani women from the yoke of despotic rule by the Taliban.  We divided the country up among various warlords who are as brutal and oppressive toward women as the Taliban.  They also have become the world’s largest suppliers of heroin.  But I guess that is the free market in action. 

     Civilian Afghani deaths, based on press reports, are estimated at between 4800 and 7000, with another 3000 caused by insurgents.  According to US and NATO body counts the Taliban deaths are into the tens of thousands.   The civilian death toll is high due to the nature of our warfare which is based on air power.  Last year occupation forces dropped bombs on an average of 250 times each month.  The high explosive munitions dropped from high in the sky do not discriminate in their targets.  During one attack on a wedding party in the province of Herat in August last year ninety-five civilians were killed.

      The UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan blamed the occupation forces for 695 civilian deaths in the first ten months of last year.  On January six of this year, U.S. troops slaughtered at least 17 civilians, including women and children, in an assault on the village of Masamoot.  President Karzai publicly vouched for the accuracy of that report.

     I would ask the President to remember that the British Empire and the Soviet Union with many more troops than he is proposing were not able to conquer Afghanistan.  While it is obviously difficult to get accurate polling, according to data collected by Environics in November 2007, at that time 52 percent of Afghanis wanted occupation forces to leave their country.  The continuing poverty , endemic corruption of the Karzai government and the apparent indifference to the plight of the Afghani people by the U.S. can only increase the number of Afghanis who want the occupation ended. 

     The President should learn from history and take a totally different approach to the Bush war in Afghanistan.  In the words of a Michael Franti song you can bomb the world into pieces but you cannot bomb the world into peace.