The Reasoned Review

Just another weblog

Afghanistan: More Troops, or simply more lies?

with 2 comments

The Times devotes a front-page article to the Afghan Question today, and in doing so, reveals much of the systemic bias we have come to expect from our dear Grey Lady. The article opens with the question on nearly everybody’s mind – “Does the United States need a large and growing ground force in Afghanistan to prevent another major terrorist attack on American soil?” – but goes about answering it in a most curious fashion. Afghanistan’s centrality to our “war on terror” is hardly questioned. Instead, the so-called “debate” centers around how to subdue that desert people: whether by rifle-wielding Marines or by pilot-less “predator drones”. The continual expenditure of resources on that far-off desert appears a foregone conclusion, and is barely questioned.

However it is worth taking a look at the assumptions inherent within the article linked above. In one form or another these assumptions contaminate nearly all mainstream discussion of our role in Afghanistan. They constitute an orthodoxy, from which our media and leaders dare not sway, and they severely limit the scope of what can and cannot be said regarding Afghanistan.

From the above link:

While it may take years to transform Afghanistan into a place that is hostile to Al Qaeda, it may be the only way to keep the United States safe in the long term.

You see, the “only way” to keep the US safe is by “transforming” Afghanistan. And naturally such transformation can only occur via bombs and bullets. It is interesting to note the choices The Times lays before us: either we send in marines or pummel Afghanistan with remote-control bombs. Infrastructure, food aid, educational initiatives – none of these are viable options in the “transformation” of Afghanistan. We must “keep America safe”, after all.

A so-called “terrorism expert” from Georgetown University concurs. Again, from the above article:

“We tried to contain the terrorism problem in Afghanistan from a distance before 9/11,” Mr. Hoffman said. “Look how well that worked.”

A stinger-toting Taliban: Courtesy of the United States

A stinger-toting Taliban: Courtesy of the United States

Look how well it worked indeed! He might have said, “look how hard we tried.” It is a fact, well documented, yet hardly discussed, that the United States actively funded and supported the Taliban during the years 1981-2001. All throughout the Soviet War in Afghanistan we armed Taliban fighters (see the adjoning picture of a Talib with a US Stinger Missile), and afterward we viewed them with utter complacency, as a “strange but stabilizing force”. (source)

Again, from The Guardian:

“The United States encouraged Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to support the Taliban, certainly right up to their advance on Kabul in 1996. That seems very ironic now.”

So how hard did we really try to “contain the terrorism problem from a distance before 9/11”? The answer, of course, is “not very.” That The Times’ erudite scholar from Georgetown is unable to grasp this basic fact betrays a very real historical bias.

And once again, The Times appears to be taken in by the idea that Bin Laden attacked us for “our freedoms”, and not very real criticisms of US foreign policy. The assumption appears to be that only a pro-US, anti-Taliban Afghanistan can possibly secure US safety. No mention is given to the causes of terrorism – to The New York Times, terrorism is apparently some senseless, lunatic evil which cannot and should not be explained, only destroyed.

Imagine how it would be if we apologized to Afghanistan for the 30 years of hell we put them through, apologized to the Palestinians for the sheer bullying we support via Israel, and apologized to the Iraqis for a misguided war based solely on greed for their resources. Does The Times think that may do its part in reducing terrorism? Apparently not.

Written by pavanvan

September 9, 2009 at 12:15 am

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I vote Pavan for our Secretary of Defense.

    Please send the entire world our apologies for being selfish and greedy.

    Its a genuine start.


    September 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm

  2. I move that we replace “Secretary of Defense” with its original name: “Secretary of War”. Its much more descriptive of the position’s actual responsibilities, and doesn’t have the stink of Orwellianism.


    September 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: