This excellent article was written last fall. Eric Margolis is one more voice of intelligence and rationality in a long, long lline of intelligent, rational voices that objected to the Iraq war before it happened, who now object to whatever it is we're trying to do in Afghanistan, who were ignored in favor of the stupid and/or craven people, who have been proven to have been 100% right, and who will continue to be equally right, and probably equally ignored.
I had high hopes we'd learned something about war, and imperialism, in the last eight years. That maybe we would start listening to the smart people for a change. I'm still clinging to that hope -- but I don't know how much longer I can hang on.
TIME TO FACE FACTS IN AFGHANISTAN
For those who savor historical irony, the Soviet Empire collapsed in the years 1989-1991 because of an implosion of its economy brought on by a ruinous arms race with the United States and the heavy costs of occupying Afghanistan.
Seventeen years later came the turn of the world's other great imperial power, the United States. Lethally bloated by runaway debt, and burdened by 50% of the world's military spending, the house of cards known as the US economy finally collapsed ...
Taliban leader Mullah Omar ... claimed the US was heading toward the same kind of catastrophic defeat in Afghanistan that the Soviet Union had met. The ongoing financial panic in North America lent substance to his words ...
Startlingly, Gen. McKiernan appeared to break with Bush administration policy by proposing political talks with Taliban and admitting the war had to be ended by diplomacy. The military men know this war cannot be won on the battlefield. McKiernan's predecessor told Congress that 400,000 US troops would be needed to pacify Afghanistan. There are currently 80,000 Western troops in Afghanistan, many of them unwilling to enter combat ...
Let us remember that Taliban is not a `terrorist movement,' as claimed by Western war propaganda, but was founded as an Islamic religious movement dedicated to fighting Communism and the drug trade.
Taliban received US funding until May 2001. In fact, the CIA keep close contacts with Taliban, many of whose members were US-backed mujahidin from the anti-Soviet war of the 1980s, for possible future use against the Communist regimes of Central Asia and against China. The 9/11 attacks made CIA immediately cut its links to Taliban and burn the associated files.
In recent years, Western war propaganda has so demonized Taliban that few politicians have the courage to propose the obvious and inevitable: a negotiated settlement to this pointless seven-year war ...
The current war in Afghanistan is not really about al-Qaida and `terrorism,' but about opening a secure corridor through Pashtun tribal territory to export the oil and gas riches of the Caspian Basin of Central Asia to the West. The US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are essentially pipeline protection troops fighting off the hostile natives.
Both Barack Obama and John McCain are wrong about Afghanistan. It is not a `good' fight against `terrorism,' but a classic, 19th-century colonial war to advance Western geopolitical power into resource-rich Central Asia. The Pashtun Afghans who live there are ready to fight for another 100 years. The Western powers certainly are not.
As that great American founding father Benjamin Franklin said, `there is no good war, and no bad peace.' Time for the West to face reality in Afghanistan.