Money can’t buy friends
Pentagon grip weakens in Afghanistan, Pakistan
Published Oct 15, 2010 10:20 PM
There is much to be learned from the indisputable fact that the U.S. military,
despite all its high-tech weaponry and the billions of dollars at its disposal,
has lost control of the situation in Afghanistan and has forced even the
corrupt Pakistani government to denounce Pentagon attacks as
“intolerable” and close parts of its border with Afghanistan.
The Pentagon had argued that a “surge” of tens of thousands of
additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan would turn the war around and win over
the population. Clearly, the opposite has happened.
The more the U.S. kills and destroys Afghans, their homes, their livestock and
their crops, the more the people hate the invaders. The only “social
base” the occupation forces can count on are those they pay for their
loyalty — and now it seems that even some of them are secretly for the
resistance and may be on the U.S. payroll for tactical reasons.
It turns out that many of the people who work for the U.S.-NATO occupation
forces, guarding their military bases, are adherents of the resistance —
usually identified in the Western media as “the Taliban,” although
other political groupings are also actively opposing the U.S. occupation and
The Senate Armed Services Committee just released a report on an investigation
it conducted into the security of U.S. bases in Afghanistan. It seems that the
Pentagon contracts out the job of security to private U.S. companies, which
then pocket a healthy profit as they subcontract the work to local Afghans.
The Senate committee found that the Pentagon allows “local security deals
among American military commanders, Western contracting companies and Afghan
warlords who are closely connected to the violent insurgency.” (New York
Times, Oct. 7)
The Times article adds: “The latest disclosures follow a series of
reports, including articles in The New York Times and testimony before a House
committee, describing bribes paid by contractors to the Taliban and other
warlords to make sure supply convoys for the American military were provided
The U.S. government has nearly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan right now. At
Washington’s prodding, 20,000 additional soldiers have been sent there by
The top political leadership in Afghanistan was imposed by the United States.
It was U.S. agents who found Hamid Karzai — when he was pulling down a
fat salary with Unocal, a U.S. energy corporation — and groomed him to
“lead the nation” after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001. After
cooked elections, Karzai became president of Afghanistan and continues to
retain that title, although he is cynically referred to by many Afghans and
foreigners as the “mayor of Kabul,” since his authority
doesn’t extend far beyond the capital.
Karzai’s government consists of hirelings paid largely with U.S. funds
and narco-dollars. His “re-election” was so crooked it was
challenged even by Western observers.
No amount of dollars and firepower can win over people’s “hearts
and minds.” Only justice can do that, and there is no justice at all in
imperialist conquest. It is motivated by the crassest hunger for superprofits.
In the case of strategically located Afghanistan, the goal is control over
Southwest Asia, the world’s richest region in oil and gas. The billions
of dollars the U.S. government spends securing these profits benefits only the
super-rich owners of the energy corporations, not the workers in the U.S.,
Afghanistan or anywhere else.
Convoys stuck in Pakistan
Pakistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor to the southeast, has also become
embroiled in this war. The Pentagon uses it as a resupply route for the great
quantities of ammunition and provisions its troops need to keep the war going.
Large convoys of trucks move cargo offloaded at Pakistani ports north to the
border and then through the Khyber Pass to U.S.-NATO bases in Afghanistan.
These convoys were sitting ducks in the first week of October. The Pakistani
government closed several border crossings into Afghanistan and the trucks were
lined up for miles. They were attacked by insurgents and by bandits. Fuel
trucks blew up in spectacular explosions as their drivers scattered for
Why did the Pakistani government defy the U.S. by closing the border? It has
gone along with most of the Pentagon’s demands. Pilotless U.S. drones
have sent missiles crashing into Pakistani villages where the Pentagon
suspected there was sympathy for Islamic resistance groups. This has been going
on for a long time.
But the last straw came when U.S.-NATO helicopters actually attacked two
Pakistani border posts, killing several border guards. Pakistan said the
attacks were “intolerable” and retaliated on Sept. 30, closing the
border crossing points.
Longest war in U.S. history
When the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan in 2001, it said it was going
after a relatively small insurgent group led by Osama bin Laden, which it
claimed was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The people of the United States were assured that this was going to be a
surgical operation and would soon be over.
After eight years of Bush, the electorate voted for Barack Obama in 2008,
believing that the new Democratic administration would quickly start the
process of withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, there has been a
“surge” in troops sent to Afghanistan.
The Afghan conflict is now the longest war the U.S. has fought in its entire
history. Government and military officials say that any drawdown of troop
strength will depend on “security conditions” in the different
areas of Afghanistan.
This is a prescription for endless war, as the grip of both the Karzai regime
and the invasion forces continues to weaken and the popularity of the
The only thing that can break this deadlock and bring the troops home is when
the people in the U.S., who are suffering from a severe economic crisis and
have shown in many polls that they are against these costly wars, take their
demands to the streets instead of relying on the ballot box to bring peace.
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