26 July 2010


The nearly nine year old war in Afghanistan, ostensibly being waged by coalition forces against Al-Qaeda terrorists and Taliban insurgents, is an exercise in futility. There is a growing list of reasons why the US should hasten its withdrawal of troops from the region.

~~ Counterinsurgency is much more effective in the form of humanitarian aid, rather than military invasion (which generates more insurgents and terrorists than it destroys).

~~ Conventional warfare conducted against indigenous guerrilla forces has a long history of tilting in favor of the guerrillas.

~~ There is evidence that neighboring Pakistan not only provides safe haven for Taliban fighters, but also that Pakistan's secret spy service collaborates directly with the Taliban. This, in spite of the fact that our ostensible ally receives over $1 billion annually in military assistance in fighting the Taliban. (See regional map below, click to enlarge.)

~~ As David Swanson reports, the American public is largely unaware of several pertinent facts relating to the military in general, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in particular. For instance, the Taliban's largest source of revenue is US taxpayers. The US' top consumer of oil is the US military. Over half of every US tax dollar is spent on wars, the military, and payment on debt for past wars and military spending. The leading cause of deaths in the US military is suicide. Military funding is being devoted to escalating the war, not to stabilizing the Afghan government or its military.

Nine years. Just one year shy of the duration of another grotesque folly, the Vietnam War. The only people happy with this state of affairs are arms suppliers, military contractors, and undertakers -- plus a powerful network of hawkish politicians and military leaders, all of whom have their hands in each others' pockets, and all of whom hope to have a hand in controlling the natural resources of central Asia. The dollar sign is the bottom line.

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