THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
August 3, 2009
Daily Mail (UK)

Afghan War Could Last 'For Decades'

by Kirsty Walker

The Taliban were underestimated by the nations fighting them in Afghanistan, the Defence Minister admitted yesterday.

Bill Rammell said the 'challenge from insurgents in Helmand province is greater than we anticipated'.

His comments came after Britain's most senior diplomat warned UK troops could be stuck fighting in Afghanistan for 'decades'.

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the ambassador to Washington, warned Britain faced a 'long-term commitment' in the country.

Sir Nigel's bleak assessment came after the bloodiest month of fighting, . . .

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Patriots Question 9/11

Enver Masud, "Bin Laden Not Wanted for 9/11: The 'FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11'. Vice President Cheney says, 'We've never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow Osama Bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11'," The Wisdom Fund, June 8, 2006

Michael T. Klare, "Is Energo-fascism in Your Future?," TomDispatch.com, January 16, 2007

"Afghan Leaders Demand Timetable for U.S. Withdrawal," The Wisdom Fund, May 21, 2009

[On the "hard power" military front, the United States gave up nothing and achieved three strategic concessions on behalf of the Russians: cooperation in the consolidation of U.S. military presence in Russia's southern military zone in Afghanistan and Pakistan; agreement on 4,500 U.S. military flights across Russia to supply the Afghanistan-Pakistan operations; and Russia-NATO military cooperation.

No area is more strategically important than the "Af-Pak" project, which positions U.S. troops within the zone fronting on Iran, China, and Russia's Central Asia.--Alfred Ross, "US Uses Afghan War To Besiege Russia At Ferocious Pace," Global Research, July 31, 2009]

[This marks the beginning of direct American handling of "war and peace" diplomacy in the region, following the forging of a seamless relationship between the Pakistani military establishment and the US military.

Standing in the way are Pakistan's restive tribal areas and the seemingly never-ending - and escalating - Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan's Pashtun provinces.--Syed Saleem Shahzad, "US's $1bn Islamabad home is its castle," Asia Times, August 4, 2009]

[Turkmenistan is the country nobody talks about. Its huge reserves of natural gas can only get to market through pipelines. Until 1991, it was part of the Soviet Union and its gas flowed only north through Soviet pipelines. Now the Russians plan a new pipeline north. The Chinese are building a new pipeline east. The U.S. is pushing for "multiple oil and gas export routes."--John Foster, "Afghanistan and the new great game," Toronto Star, August 12, 2009]

Andy Worthington, "Bagram Isn't the New Guantanamo, It's the Old Guantanamo," counterpunch.org, August 17, 2009

"Rethink Afghanistan," rethinkafghanistan.com, August 19, 2009

Pepe Escobar, "The Afghan pipe dream," atimes.com, August 20, 2009

[A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more U.S. troops should be sent to the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.--Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen, "Public Opinion in U.S. Turns Against the War," Washington Post, August 20, 2009]

"'The Safe Haven Myth' - Harvard Prof. Stephen Walt Takes on Obama's Justification for Escalating the Afghanistan War," democracynow.org, August 25, 2009

Jonathan Steele, "The Afghan 80s are back: Nato's failing mission is increasingly coming to resemble the Soviets' disastrous campaign," Guardian, August 31, 2009

Ray McGovern, "'We'll Know Success When We See It' - Holbrooke's Afghan Benchmark," counterpunch.org, September 4, 2009

Ahmed Rashid, "In Afghanistan, Let's Keep It Simple," Washington Post, September 6, 2009

[Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild and also a Truthout contributor, is very clear about the overall illegality of the invasion and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan by the United States.

"The UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the United States and thus part of US law," Cohn, who is also a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and recently co-authored the book "Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent" said, "Under the charter, a country can use armed force against another country only in self-defense or when the Security Council approves. Neither of those conditions was met before the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban did not attack us on 9/11. Nineteen men - 15 from Saudi Arabia - did, and there was no imminent threat that Afghanistan would attack the US or another UN member country. The council did not authorize the United States or any other country to use military force against Afghanistan. The US war in Afghanistan is illegal."--Dahr Jamail, "Afghanistan: Where Empires Go to Die," truthout.org, September 17, 2009]

Eric Margolis, "America has been here before: It's shades of Vietnam as U.S. commanders beg for more troops to fight in Afghanistan," Toronto Sun, September 20, 2009

[Although in Washington they may talk about the 90,000 soldiers in the Afghan National Army, no one has reported actually seeing such an army anywhere in Afghanistan. . . .

Recognizing that Afghans back a winner, US military strategists are now banking on a counterinsurgency strategy that seeks to "clear, hold, and build" - that is, to stick around long enough to win the Afghans over. But it's way too late for that to work. These days, US troops sticking around look ever more like a foreign occupying army and, to the Taliban, like targets.--Ann Jones, "US wins minds, Afghan hearts are lost," Asia Times, September 22, 2009]

[Gen. James Jones: "The al-Qaida presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies."--Robert Scheer, "A War of Absurdity," truthdig.com, October 6, 2009]

["We had and have no plan of harming countries of the world, including those in Europe ... our goal is the independence of the country and the building of an Islamic state," the Taliban said in a statement on the group's website www.shahamat.org.--Sayed Salahuddin, "Afghan Taliban say they pose no threat to the West," Reuters, October 7, 2009]

[The Afghan war's biggest untruth is, "we've got to fight terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them at home."--Eric Margolis, "What Lies Beneath the War in Afghanistan," Toronto Sun, October 11, 2009]

[Yet one after another, the official aims and justifications of the war in Afghanistan have failed or been discredited. It was a war fought to kill or capture Bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but both are still at large. It was a war fought to destroy al-Qaida, whose leadership simply decamped and set up new bases from Pakistan to Iraq. It was a war for democracy, women's rights, development and opium eradication - all successively demonstrated to be a hollow joke.--Seumas Milne, "Escalation in Afghanistan is aimed at rescuing the credibility of western power," Guardian, October 14, 2009]

[The Pashtun Taliban are destined to return to power.

The only thing that could be done now is to engage them in some kind of negotiations and, with the promise of aid for nation-building, craft a face-saving exit.--S. Amjad Hussain, "Engaging Afghanistan now is the preferred option," toledoblade.com, October 19, 2009]

F. William Engdahl, "The Geopolitics Behind The Phony US War In Afghanistan," rense.com, October 21, 2009

Stephen M. Walt, "High Cost, Low Odds," Nation, October 21, 2009

[ . . . in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.

. . . the insurgency "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies.--Karen DeYoung, "U.S. official resigns over Afghan war," Washington Post, October 27, 2009]

Patrick J. Buchanan, "The Fruits of Intervention," Islam Online, October 30, 2009

Aamir Latif, "Taliban Decline US Offer Of 6 Provinces for 8 Bases," ICH, November 2, 2009

[The U.S. military has announced the opening of a new prison on Bagram Air Base. The prison, costing 60 million dollars, will hold up to 1,100 prisoners at any one time.--Feraidoon Khwazoon, "U.S. Military Unveils Huge New Prison in Afghanistan," commondreams.org, November 27, 2009]

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