by John Pilger
America's two "great victories" since 11 September 2001 are
unravelling. In Afghanistan, the regime of Hamid Karzai has
virtually no authority and no money, and would collapse without
American guns. Al-Qaeda has not been defeated, and the Taliban are
re-emerging. Regardless of showcase improvements, the situation of
women and children remains desperate. The token woman in Karzai's
cabinet, the courageous physician Sima Samar, has been forced out of
government and is now in constant fear of her life, with an armed
guard outside her office door and another at her gate. Murder, rape
and child abuse are committed with impunity by the private armies of
America's "friends", the warlords whom Washington has bribed with
millions of dollars, cash in hand, to give the pretence of
stability. . . .
In Iraq, scene of the second "great victory", there are two open
secrets. The first is that the "terrorists" now besieging the
American occupation force represent an armed resistance that is
almost certainly supported by the majority of Iraqis who, contrary
to pre-war propaganda, opposed their enforced "liberation" (see
Jonathan Steele's investigation, 19 March 2003, www.guardian.co.uk).
The second secret is that there is emerging evidence of the true
scale of the Anglo-American killing, pointing to the bloodbath Bush
and Blair have always denied.
Comparisons with Vietnam have been made so often over the years that
I hesitate to draw another. However, the similarities are striking:
for example, the return of expressions such as "sucked into a
quagmire". This suggests, once again, that the Americans are
victims, not invaders: the approved Hollywood version when a
rapacious adventure goes wrong.
John Pilger is a renowned journalist and documentary film-maker. A
war correspondent, his writings have appeared in numerous magazines,
and newspapers such as the Daily Mirror, the Guardian, the
Independent, New Statesman, the New York Times, the Los Angeles
Times, the Nation, and other newspapers and periodicals around the
world. His books include Heroes (2001) Hidden Agendas (1998) and
Distant Voices (1994).