The Afghanistan problem and the anti-war Left

July 30, 2011

There is an inclination on the Left (especially the Student Left) to be manically, and irrationally anti-war. There is no room for movement. They will call for Blair to be tried for War Crimes (here is a wonderfully simplistic sight, that calls Blair a monster). They will show the bodies of innocent people killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and demand Blair and Bush be hung for crimes against humanity, yet oddly they don’t wish to draw the same conclusion with Churchill, or Roosevelt; allied bombers are responsible for far more civilian deaths during World War II. Therefore, they are absolutely irrational, selective, and living in a dream World. They are patently anti-war. A man could be stabbing you, and they’d insist on “understanding” the differences, culturally, between the two of you, and then working on a diplomatic solution. Their determination to continue irrationally, and hijack the Left Wing, so that it encompasses anti-war into its way of thinking, is a veritable insult to those of us on the Left who are far more practical and logical, taking each conflict that arises as requiring different solutions, and that sometimes, war is the only way.

If you read Tariq Ali of the Stop The War group, he seems to completely exonerate Pakistan of any wrong doing, and put all blame for any problem in Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the door of America. It thus perpetuates the myth that religious evil persisting on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the support for that evil from the Pakistan ISI is somehow a problem we should “understand” at the very best, and just ignore at the very worst.

One must wonder if they think the lack of force used against the Interahamwe in Rwanda, was the right course of action, given that it was peaceful yet resulted in a genocide.

I absolutely support the war in Afghanistan. I think it’s a long term war, against an enemy that is relentless, and happy to use their own bodies to kill anyone who does not follow their religious doctrine. Had I been Prime Minister in 2001 after 9/11, i’d have made the same decision as Blair. Had I been Prime Minister in 2003, when all the intelligence was pointing to Saddam having WMDs, and the fact that he’d been obstructing Weapons inspectors, and had already broken well over 10 UN Resolutions, I’d have gone into Iraq too. People who will use religion as a justification for declaring war (which they did on 9/11/2001) should be hunted down on every corner of the Globe, and eliminated. We should not be taking their cultural ideals into consideration. Believe whatever you wish, but when your belief is enshrined in violence, your belief deserves to be wiped off the face of the planet. Believe in Fascism if you wish, but the moment you try to spread your vile system using violence, then it becomes a problem.

The attack against the World Trade Centre was not an attack against American aggression. Islamic terrorism had been growing for years. Those who support its doctrines do indeed wish their reading of Islam to become the accepted norm. This is evident with the killing of Ahmed Shah Massoud on September 9th 2001. Massoud was a great man by anyones definition. He fought the Soviets, helping to drive them out of Afghanistan, and then continued to fight the Taliban, and staunchly attacking their interpretation of the Koran. He was assassinated by radical Muslims two days before the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t kill him because he was American; he wasn’t. They killed him because he posed a threat to their perverted and dangerous doctrine.

After taking control of much of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban installed the most vicious and violent form of Shariah law that any Islamic nation has ever had to endure. For Massoud’s part in trying to destroy the Taliban regime, he was nominated in 2002 for a Nobel Peace Prize, and has a National Day named after him, in his honour. Can you imagine living in a country that was essentially free and modernising rapidly, to a Country that suddenly banned education, sports, and leaving the house without a male chaperon for all women? Can you imagine suddenly become a Country that forced all men to have a fist sized beard on their chin on pain of public torture if disobeyed? Where suddenly you could be put to death for owning a TV or sending a Christmas Card. A Country in which a woman would be publicly executed if she had been seen by a Male doctor, no matter how sick she was? That was not Afghanistan prior to 1996. But it was Afghanistan in 1996-2001? All this whilst they funded and trained extremists carrying out bombing missions against US Embassies.

According to a UN Report, most civilian deaths in Afghanistan since 2001, have been caused by the Taliban insurgency. They are also focussing their attacks on unarmed Aid workers. 76% of civilian deaths in 2009, according to the UN Report have been caused by the Taliban. They do not care who they kill. They want control of a country, for religious ideological reasons. Here are a group that helped carry out attacks on US embassies, harboured terrorists, helped to fund and plan 9/11, assassinated an opposition leader, refused to allow women the right to leave the house alone, carried out extreme torture and execution on a daily basis, and who would kill you and I, and I don’t think It’d be a leap to say they’d most certainly use chemical or biological weapons against the West or any anti-Islamic fundamentalist group, if they had the capability; all of this and the anti war left do not see it as sufficient to intervene? By that same reasoning, should we have left Milošević alone?

The problem on the Western Side, was that a lot of Muslims believed that whilst Terrorism was wrong, they felt a sense of “brotherhood” with Muslims in Afghanistan, and therefore felt it was a battle between the West and Islam. Which is a ridiculous argument. The Crusades are long dead. I am an Atheist, not a Christian. I couldn’t care less what religion a man in a desert in Afghanistan chooses to adhere to. The fact that Turkey supplied troops to the war against the Taliban also suggests this wasn’t a war on Islam.

There is another attack, that seems to have no actual end, or point to it. “Yeah, but America funded the Taliban in the 80s against the Soviets!”.
Absolutely. It was the wrong thing to do. The US created a Monster. I absolutely do not support the Reagan administration in pretty much anything it did. It funded Right winged terrorists throughout Latin America in an attempt to spread American Capitalism. But that was the Reagan Administration. The Foreign landscape was entirely different, and just because they created the monster for short sighted reasons, doesn’t mean that they should wash their hands of that monster 20 years later.

Afghanistan needs to be a fully functioning State. That is absolutely impossible with a Taliban presence. A Taliban presence means terrorism, which means mass instability across the region, and presents a worry for Pakistan with it’s Nuclear capability. A functioning State of Afghanistan, progression both economically and politically can only take shape without the Taliban.

The issue Afghanistan clearly has now, is Karzai isn’t exactly Mr Clean himself. In 2009, of the 66 polling sites in Kandahar, 100% of the vote came out in favour of Karzai. In the Zherai Awal Camp, 2,100 people are eligible to cast a vote for the Afghan President. Of those 2100………… 2300 apparently voted according to the polling report, and everyone of them voted for Karzai. Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah refused to carry on the election, citing his lack of faith in the Government’s ability to allow a fair and free election. He has since started the Campaign for Change and Hope in Afghanistan, as a new Party for Democratic reform. The fact that that Campaign from Abdullah Abdullah is allowed to exist, a party for Democratic reform, shows that Afghanistan has come far, and is much better off, and certainly now on a decent path, which it would not have been on had the Taliban still been in control. In early 2001, Abdullah Abdullah travelled to Europe to ask for financial aid, to help Afghanistani people affected by the cruelty of the Taliban regime, he said without the aid of Pakistan and Bin Laden’s group, the Taliban would be history.

Karzai is currently offering to negotiate peace with the Taliban. The problem with that is, the Taliban do not want stability, or a functioning democratic state. They are not fighting to keep America out. That is simply a clever propaganda tactic. They are fighting to control Afghanistan and force a harsh environment where Shariah is the law of the land, and terrorism can be supported.

I think the objective is pretty clear. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are absolutely linked. The link extends to the stability of Afghanistan. The link extends to Pakistan and its Nuclear program. To build a free and democratic Afghanistan that isn’t ruled by oppressive gangsters supporting terrorism, and to ensure that particular group do not develop Nuclear capability, we must stay the course in Afghanistan and ensure its State becomes strong and capable of self defence. To allow the Taliban the opportunity to retake Afghanistan, would only lead to another 9/11 and another failed State that requires further intervention. Do it now, or try to do it again and again and again every few years.

We also have to win the propaganda war. There are doubtless section of Western Muslim community who actually believe that the Taliban are the defenders of Islam and the heroes fighting Western imperialism. Do they oppose Abdullah Abdullah? Do they oppose democratic change? Does the anti-war Left believe the only legitimate option for Afghanistan was an oppressive Taliban regime who would gladly light the fuse that blew up the West? To let that kind of Fascism persist, in my opinion, is a great evil. To turn a blind eye to it, as we did with Rwanda, is a great evil. It must be confronted.

It does not help the US’s case, that individual soldiers seem to believe they are above the law, and somehow manage to get acquitted for awful crimes. In my eyes the war is justified, but it has to be fought on the standards of the outcome it wishes to achieve; the rule of law, and stability. To forgo the judicial process for individual US soldiers who have committed crimes in Afghanistan, only adds fuel to the fire of mistrust and the entire anti-war left start to suspect the entire war effort as having sinister undertones. It doesn’t take long on the Stop The War Coalition website to come across an article mentioning oil; another argument I always find horrifically simplistic.

The biggest disadvantage the Taliban have, is the collective memory of a rather annoyed population who remember the dark days of 1996-2001. Rory Stewart, an expert on Afghanistan, write:

The Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek populations are wealthier, more established and more powerful than they were in 1996 and would strongly resist any attempt by the Taliban to occupy their areas. The Afghan national army is reasonably effective. Pakistan is not in a position to support the Taliban as it did before. It would require far fewer international troops and planes than we have today to make it very difficult for the Taliban to gather a conventional army as they did in 1996 and drive tanks and artillery up the main road to Kabul.

– With this in mind, there are now projects in Afghanistan that are community led rather than foreign aid led, to build a stable Country. But whilst these are small steps in the right direction, the shady Karzai regime has taken two steps back. The reason the Executive branch of the new Afghanistan Government has powers beyond that of the US President or the UK Prime Minister, is because strong leadership is needed in the first years following its foundation. In an era where the Taliban are winning the propaganda war, a weak executive and a strong Parliament could be potentially disastrous. Karzai needed to act decisively, and honestly. The quite obvious election corruption by the Karzai regime was one massive reason the executive branch of this new State could be endangered, but beyond that, he is calling for Taliban fighters to stop the violence and back to new government. For me, this simply tells the Taliban that they can’t be defeated, that the Karzai government and their allies in the UK and US are too tired to fight any longer and are willing to accept compromise. Progress in human rights, and the rebuilding of the State is under threat, with the apparent desire to appease the Taliban. As Karzai attempted to negotiate with the Taliban, they killed his brother, and other top ranking officials. The US is not helping matters, as Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary said the US would engage in political talks with the Taliban by the end of the year. Shortly after Karzai revealed that the US and Afghanistan was in “PEACE” talks with the Taliban, announcing to the press that the talks were “going well”, four suicide bombers attacked a police station next to the Afghan Finance Ministry. The Taliban admitted they carried out the attacks. I must concur with Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, when he said:

“The only possibility that (peace) could happen is if they as a movement are defeated and there’s no prospect of that happening in the near future.”

These are not people to be appeased, they do not want to be part of a democratic process. They don’t want to give people a choice on whether they’re wanted in power or not, they want absolute power, and rule by fear, torture and murder. They are a threat to their own people, and they are a threat to the World. And until we discover the true nature of the Pakistani ISI and their links to the Taliban, we may be a long way from defeating them, though it’s a necessity. On the subject of Pakistan, they must be treated with suspicion and watched carefully. According to a report by Matt Waldman of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University;

Directly or indirectly the ISI appears to exert significant influence on the strategic decisionmaking and field operations of the Taliban; and has even greater sway over Haqqani
insurgents. According to both Taliban and Haqqani commanders, it controls the most violent
insurgent units, some of which appear to be based in Pakistan

– With this sort of accusation, it is less surprising that Osama Bin Laden was found next to a military compound in Pakistan. I would feel almost certain in saying he was being protected by the ISI, and more than that; I’d say that Mullah Omar, the Taliban Leader, is also hiding in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI. Mullah Omar is a man who has said he will hunt and kill Americans like dogs. In fact, captured Taliban insurgent Muhammad Hanif made that exact confession. Hanif admitted that Mullah Omar is in the Pakistani city of Quetta. Obviously Pakistan have denied this, yet the US (who insist their relationship with Pakistan is strong and based on mutual trust) seem to think there might be some truth in it, given that the Wikileak earlier this year showed that the US diplomatic community believe the ISI to be a terrorist organisation.

There is no choice for the West. We either stay the course, regardless of how long it takes, and ensure this vile Fascist form of Islam is not allowed to take control of Afghanistan or any other Country, or we allow them to keep stabbing us, and just hope that one day they will suddenly understand that we have our differences, and they retract the knife despite having caused irreparable damage. I am not entirely sure what the anti-war Left propose we should do with the problem of Afghanistan.

That is why I fully support the war, and a continued campaign in Afghanistan.


A game played by “adults”

June 8, 2010

According to several sources, our wondrous new coalition government of nasty bastards, are to spend £4m on new “reintegration” centres in Afghanistan, to send unaccompanied Afghanistan child asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. This was announced, on the very same day that BBC News reported the deaths of 10 Nato troops, as fighting in Afghanistan escalated.

In an horrendous move to the right, it isn’t just immigration that the Tories intend to clamp down on, but now quite horrifically, it is children they have taken aim at. Overall, I find the idea of limiting immigration whilst further opening our borders to trade and capital, a silly idea based solely on the Colonial model of Nation States. But then, I find Nation States to be an outdated, and damaging principle. A silly social construct of National pride, that really has its origins around 1534 here in the UK, and is wholly inconsistent with a postmodern World built on Capitalist principles. But children, who really do not have a notion of this largely fatuous and arbitrary system of National borders, or trade, or capital flows, are now becoming the innocent victims of a game played by “grown ups“. I read the article, and just sat thinking how evil the whole idea of Nation States really is.

The Western World has spent decades destroying Afghanistan. We have armed the Taliban against the Soviets, because it suited us. In fact, in 1985, American President Ronald Reagan referred to the Taliban as;

“These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.”

Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted recently, that the creation of the Taliban, was pretty much entirely down to the US. Which in turn, means the problems that Afghanistan, and in a sense, Pakistan now face, are largely due to the policies of the USA, in its vain attempts to defeat whomever they have designated an “enemy” in that particular decade:

“It seemed like a great idea, back in the ’80s to– embolden– and train and equip– Taliban, mujahidin, jihadists against the Soviet Union, which had invaded Afghanistan. And with our help, and with the Pakistani support– this group– including, at that time, Bin Laden, defeated the Soviet Union.”

A decade later, an American oil company called Unocal attempted talks with the Taliban in an effort to secure the rights to a major oil pipeline that would shoot through Afghanistan. Unocal were forced to back out, after they were criticised for dealing with the Taliban.

Add another decade, and George Bush bombed the entire Country back into the stone age, for no real reason whatsoever, whilst referring to the Taliban, as part of an axis of evil (it’s ironic that a fucking evil President, has the balls to refer to another regime as evil). The very same well equiped, and fundamentalist Taliban, that the US created and armed in the first place. The US didn’t seem to give much of a shit about the Taliban’s human rights record when Reagan was funding them. But then, the same can be said for the rather evil right winged groups throughout Latin America that Reagan’s administration funded. Reagan, should have been thrown in prison, and left to rot miserably in a cell for the rest of his life. Bill Clinton, is just as to blame.

According to the Times of India, 2001;

“In the 1980s, the CIA provided some $5 billion in military aid for Islamic fundamentalist rebels fighting the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, but scaled down operations after Moscow pulled out in 1989. However, Selig Harrison of the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars recently told a conference in London that the CIA created the Taliban “monster” by providing some $3 billion for the ultra-fundamentalist militia in their 1994-6 drive to power.”

Apparently Americans are not too keen on their money being spent on keeping their population healthy, but are perfectly fine with $5bn being spent on arming crazed Religious fundamentalists, who are now responsible for mass oppression and child sex trafficking.

Given the not-too-surprising violence that is rife throughout Afghanistan, why would any genuinely decent person, suggest sending children anywhere near a country like that? If I were Prime Minister, not only would I not give two shits about the moronic English Nationalists who must now be at home wanking furiously over this; i’d happily tell them they are scum; i’d also publicly state that there is absolutely no way I am sending any child into a Country whose child sex trafficking market is one of the biggest in the World, regardless of our pathetic sense of National Pride. Regardless of our immigration and asylum policies, regardless of the “burden” to tax payers. Regardless of their skin colour or what language they can or cant speak. They are children. And I could not live with myself, if I had openly agreed to hand a child back to a Country in the midst of war, and losing a battle against child sex trafficking. Especially given that the UK, has had a helping hand in destroying that Country in the first place. It strikes me as being a fundamental problem with the way the World works, that we have billions to give to dirty banks and bad business practice, which in turn contributed to the huge pension packages of people like Sir Freddy Goodwin, who fucked the entire system and now lives in luxury; but we complain incessantly about any money from the tax payer, going to help children who happen to have a different skin colour.

A US State Department Report on Human Trafficking, from 2009, reported:

Afghan boys and girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, forced marriage to settle debts or disputes, forced begging, as well as forced labor or debt bondage in brick kilns, carpet-making factories, and domestic service. Afghan children are also trafficked to Iran and Pakistan for forced labor, particularly in Pakistan’s carpet factories, and forced marriage. Boys are promised enrollment in Islamic schools in Pakistan, but instead are trafficked to camps for paramilitary training by extremist groups. Afghan women and girls are trafficked within the country and to Pakistan and Iran for commercial sexual exploitation and temporary marriages. Some Afghan men force their wives or daughters into prostitution. Afghan men are trafficked to Iran and Pakistan for forced labor and debt bondage, as well as to Greece for forced labor in the agriculture or construction sectors. Afghanistan is also a destination for women and girls from Iran, Tajikistan, and possibly China trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Tajik women are also believed to be trafficked through Afghanistan to Pakistan and Iran for commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficked Iranian women transit Afghanistan en route to Pakistan.

Not only that, but according to the World Fact Book:

Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, and the Afghan Government’s inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. It will probably take the remainder of the decade and continuing donor aid and attention to significantly raise Afghanistan’s living standards from its current level, among the lowest in the world.

It does not matter how the children found their way to the UK. Whether they were trafficked here, whether they were sent by their parents, or whether they found their own way here out of desperation, it is irrelevant. Motives, are irrelevant. They are children. They are not a pawn in an adult game of economic warfare and its obsession with labeling people “illegal” if they weren’t born here. If a couple of pence in every pound of tax money goes to helping these children, rather than sending them to hell, then good! We are a decent country, with a sense of compassion built into us. We are not a country of the social Right. The Liberal Democrats, should be utterly ashamed of this.

This represents a major shift to the social Right, for the Tories. It shows that they have indeed wore a moderate mask for the past few years; hidden behind moderate centre-right rhetoric, but scratch gently below the surface, and we are confronted with the same old vicious, nasty party of old. A party without a sense of human decency, who focus solely on economically driven policies rather than human policies.

Left Wing Progressives, should work together to force real economic and social policy change. We need to understand how much the West is to blame for the hellhole of Afghanistan. We cannot simply exploit countries for the benefit of our business interests, rip the country to shreds, and then throw their children onto the scrap heap. Afghanistan has spent decades as a pawn in a game played by “adults“.