The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The U.S. Military Surge in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Jan 29, 2010

On December 1, President Obama, using West Point as a military backdrop, announced that he was escalating the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama said he was sending 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and that there will also be a "civilian" surge to reinforce the military surge. As for Pakistan, Obama said that the U.S. had an "effective partnership" with the Pakistani military to escalate that war, also.

The surge is much bigger than Obama portrayed. First, he gave to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates the authority to add 5,000 more troops. This means that the U.S. plans on having more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan by next year. Adding in the civilian surge from the CIA, State Department, and other agencies of government, along with the 56,000 additional mercenaries, Senator Claire McCaskill’s Contract Oversight Subcommittee made a conservative estimate that there will be more than 220,000 U.S.-funded personnel on the ground in Afghanistan. NATO also expects to bring in 7,000 more troops, bringing their numbers up to 35,000.

Obama’s attempt to sugar coat the surge is flatly contradicted by Obama’s own people. For example, General David Patraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, said that the U.S. war in Afghanistan will be much longer and more difficult than the war in Iraq, that it will take much more "sustained" effort. Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that it is preparing a war plan for five years. This is why in Afghanistan, the U.S. is spending a billion dollars to construct a massive embassy complex, and it is in the midst of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on its ever expanding bases at Bagram and Kandahar. In Pakistan, it’s the same: the U.S. is constructing an enormous embassy war compound in Islamabad, as well as huge consulates in key cities.

Nor is there a "responsible end" to the war in Iraq, as Obama claimed in his speech. Bombings, assassinations and other terrorist attacks are increasing by the day in that country. The terrible violence and ethnic cleansing from Bush’s surge might have tamped down the civil wars that the U.S. provoked in order to divide and rule in Iraq. But the violence never stopped, and it is now getting worse. So, even though the Pentagon desperately needs to transfer a large number of the 110,000 U.S. troops that are now in Iraq to Afghanistan, it may have difficulty doing so. The U.S. has already postponed the beginning of the withdrawal from January to March 2010. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also hinted that the Iraqi government may "ask" the U.S. to stay past the deadline. [For more on Iraq, see the following article in this Class Struggle magazine.]

Obama’s speech was also short on specifics about the escalation of the U.S. war in Pakistan, a country of 170 million people. He congratulated the Pakistani military for carrying out its murderous offensives over the last year in both the isolated and mountainous tribal areas that border on Afghanistan as well as the Swat Valley. But Obama did not mention that the U.S. has been stepping up its bombing and shelling of the country, or that U.S. special forces, mercenaries and other assassination squads have been increasing secret raids. Nor did he mention the terrible toll that the war was taking on the population.

Finally, Obama made a point to say that the U.S. was engaged in other wars as well, including Yemen and Somalia. And barely two weeks after the speech, the Obama administration announced that it had bombed Yemen, and that it is tripling military aid, as well as sending special forces as "advisors’ to that country. There was another announcement that Obama sent U.S. military forces into Somalia to carry out a raid.

U.S. military intervention into both countries is nothing new. But calling attention to it served as a warning that the U.S. wars in Central Asia and the Middle East did not stop the U.S. military from taking action anywhere else in the world. It also served as a reminder to the American people that rather than reducing the U.S. wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, Obama is increasing them, building on what his predecessor, George W. Bush had done.

The Roots of U.S. Intervention

In his speech, Obama asserted that the U.S. military began its involvement in Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11, 2001 took 3,000 U.S. lives.

Nothing could be further from the truth. U.S. involvement in Afghanistan dates all the way back to July 1979, when the U.S. actively began to try to lure the Soviet army into invading Afghanistan, using the Afghan population as bait.

This was confirmed by former President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a 1998 interview with the French weekly magazine, Le Nouvel Oberservateur. "According to the official version of history," explained Brzezinski, "CIA aid to the mujahedin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet intervention."

In February 1979, the Shah of Iran, the U.S.-backed dictator, had been overthrown by a broad-based popular revolt that had been taken over by the mullahs. This encouraged fundamentalist movements that challenged regimes throughout the region, including such U.S. client states as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. These movements, led by feudal warlords and clergy, harkened back to the superstitions and prejudices of the Middle Ages. But they were also aimed against foreign domination.

This agitation reached far: into Afghanistan, which bordered on the Soviet Union and even inside the Soviet Union itself. Efforts by the Soviet regime to try to bolster the Afghan regime failed, to no small degree because the U.S. secretly provided money and support to the fundamentalists and warlords. So, in December 1979, the Soviet military invaded.

After the Soviet invasion, Brzezinski wrote Carter that by luring the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, the U.S. was finally going to give the Soviet Union its own Viet Nam War. The U.S. provided the private armies of warlords and religious fundamentalists with huge amounts of arms and financial assistance, which was supplemented by the Saudi regime, as well as other oil-rich Gulf states. The war lasted for more than nine years. The Soviet Union was eventually forced out, and all this was done at a minimal price to the U.S. military. For the U.S. military, this was seen as a great victory at the expense of its sole super power rival, a victory that helped speed up the crisis that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

But the Soviet invasion and war in Afghanistan helped the U.S. and its client states in another way, by allowing them to deflect the nationalist fundamentalism that had spread after the success of the Iranian revolution. The U.S. and its international coterie of sheiks, kings and dictators were able to appeal to fighters from all over the Arab world to oppose the Soviet invader, thus ridding themselves of possible opponents, sending them off to Afghanistan, where they were financed, armed and trained by the CIA.

After the Soviet Union was forced out of Afghanistan, Robert Gates, the deputy director of the CIA during most of the Soviet-Afghan war, characterized the situation this way: "It was a great victory. Afghanistan was at last free of the foreign invaders. Now Afghans could resume fighting among themselves—and hardly anybody cared."

The Soviet-Afghan war cost one million lives. After that war ended, a new war began, a civil war that cost another half a million lives. During the battle of Kabul from 1992 to 1996, every major group had both allied with and fought against every other major group at one time or another.

But this civil war did not produce a victor. None of the warlords proved themselves capable of imposing their domination over all the others. For the U.S., the problem was the longer the civil war went on, the more Afghanistan became a source of instability that could boil over and either bring down one or more of the U.S.-sponsored regimes, or expand into a regional war. And this growing instability was in a strategically vital part of the world. Afghanistan itself was impoverished, but it is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and it borders on much of the world’s known energy resources. The question was raised again of who would control and build up the state apparatus in the country to keep order and safeguard the imperialist interests.

The Taliban: A Pawn in an Old Rivalry

At that point in 1994, the U.S. turned to the Pakistani military as a surrogate to help impose some kind of state apparatus on Afghanistan, backed by Saudi financing. The Pakistani military’s intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), had already played a major role in the previous war in Afghanistan, partnering with the CIA in arming and training the mujahedin, and providing sanctuary along its border region for the mujahedin fleeing from Soviet attack.

Inside Pakistan there were millions of Afghan refugees from both wars settled in vast camps. Out of these camps the ISI recruited and trained young Afghans into a new army, the Taliban, with the aim of wresting control of the country from the various warlords and imposing order based on the laws of Islamic fundamentalism.

Some warlords opposed the Taliban, often with the support of Pakistan’s traditional enemies, India, Iran and even some ruling groups inside the former Soviet Union. Others, not wishing to buck the powerful backers of the Taliban, saw the writing on the wall and fell in line behind the Taliban. Tribal leaders and many ordinary people, exhausted by the wars and filled with revulsion for the corrupt rule of the warlords also welcomed the Taliban as an alternative, only to be subject to the Taliban’s new, more virulent brand of control.

The Taliban took power in 1996, turning Afghanistan into a client state of Pakistan, which helped Pakistan against its traditional enemy, India. The U.S. never formally recognized the Taliban government. Instead, the Clinton administration sent contradictory signals to the Taliban, sometimes seeming to work with it, other times, freezing it out. The U.S. was trying to balance with conflicting forces in the region, between Pakistan and India, while the Taliban was used as Pakistan’s pawn. Nor did U.S. policy toward the Taliban change in 2001 after Bush took office. As late as May 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the Taliban with an award and cash for the eradication of the opium crop. Obviously, the Bush administration was still keeping the door open to the Taliban. U.S. policy towards the Taliban government in Afghanistan remained cautious.

In addition to the Taliban, the Pakistani military also recruited in the mid-1990s fundamentalists for support in Pakistan’s regional struggle with India. Pakistan had worked with many of these fundamentalists earlier in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviet occupation, when the CIA had trained and armed them. Among these fundamentalists was Osama bin Laden. As a member of one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia, bin Laden had earlier served as a conduit for Saudi money to help finance the CIA war against the Soviet Union. In return, the CIA had provided bases and training for bin Laden’s foreign fighters.

In 1996, bin Laden returned in a chartered jet to Afghanistan. The 9/11 Commission found that: "Pakistani intelligence officers reportedly introduced bin Laden to Taliban leaders in Kandahar, their main base of power, to aid his reassertion of control over camps near Kowst, out of an apparent hope that he would now expand the camps and make them available for training Kashmiri militants." The 9/11 Commission concluded: "It is unlikely that bin Laden could have returned to Afghanistan had Pakistan disapproved. The Pakistani military intelligence service probably had advance knowledge of his coming, and its officers may have facilitated his travel."

The Pakistani secret police used bin Laden’s organization, al Qaeda, to provide Pakistan with guerillas in its ongoing conflict with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Given the close ties between the CIA and the ISI, there is no doubt that the U.S. at least tolerated, if not favored this arrangement.

However, bin Laden and other fundamentalists also began to present problems for the U.S., even taking credit for terrorist attacks aimed at the U.S. In 1998, three U.S. embassies in Africa were bombed simultaneously, killing hundreds of Sudanese, Tanzanians and Kenyans, as well as 12 U.S. personnel. The Clinton administration retaliated by bombing a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant and also launched two cruise missiles at what was reported to be an al Qaeda training facility in Afghanistan. But there was no immediate retaliation from either the Clinton or the Bush administrations following the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

The CIA called the process in which its former proteges—such as al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden—turned against the U.S., "blowback."

In the Bull’s Eye

On September 11, 2001, two passenger jets struck the World Trade Center and another jet struck the Pentagon, the symbols of U.S. economic and military might. Clearly, U.S. imperialism would respond with overwhelming force. The U.S. assigned blame to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and prepared to go to war.

But against which country? Some in the Bush administration, especially Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, clearly favored using 9-11 as the perfect excuse to invade Iraq and finish off their old nemesis, Saddam Hussein, who was sitting on top of all that oil. But other, more "reasonable" members of the administration pointed out that a big invasion force would be required to defeat Iraq and occupy the country, a force that it would take time to put together. What the U.S. needed, they reasoned, was a quick and easy victory, as a way of demonstrating U.S. force. So the U.S. put Afghanistan in its cross hairs, especially since the Afghan military was weak, with the added advantage that the U.S. could make use of a ready-made army in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, which had continued to fight the Taliban. This would enable the U.S. military to devote a reduced number of its own troops to the war, while letting the Northern Alliance do a lot of the heavy lifting.

It goes without saying that neither the Taliban nor Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9-11. But that was the least of the Bush administration’s concerns.

Less than a month after the 9-11 attacks, the U.S. and British forces began to bombard Afghanistan. Within two months, the U.S., with the help of the Northern Alliance, had pushed the Taliban out of its last significant stronghold in southern Afghanistan. The war was short, and the victory seemingly complete.

In December 2001, with the last battles ending, the U.N. sponsored a conference in Bonn, Germany at U.S. behest to select and install a new government in Afghanistan. Big powers and small, the self-proclaimed "international community," made a lot of promises that no one had any intention of keeping. The new Afghan government was headed by Hamid Karzai, who was just another warlord. He had at first been allied with the Taliban and then worked for the Unocal oil company, which for a time had plans to construct a pipeline through Afghanistan. In reality, the U.S. had returned the power in Afghanistan to some of the same warlords who had torn the country apart in the previous decade.

Most important for the Bush administration, the apparent quick victory in Afghanistan let it focus its attention on what had always been its main objective, the impending war in Iraq. The U.S. left a relatively small occupation force of 5,200 troops in Afghanistan, supplemented by a few thousand more NATO troops.

Af-Pak Blowback

Before the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. had put enormous pressure on the Pakistan government not to defend the Taliban against the U.S. invasion. But the U.S. then excluded Pakistan from the international conference in Bonn, which had set up the new Afghan government, and deprived the Pakistani government from having any say or influence over the new Afghan government.

Pakistan’s loss was its historical rivals’ gain, especially India in partnership with Iran. India had stood behind the warlords of the victorious Northern Alliance that had taken power. Delhi then went about increasing its influence and ties with Afghanistan, building four consulates in the country, sponsoring a massive aid program, helping to train the army and putting up the new parliament building and chancery in Kabul. India’s most ambitious Afghan project was a new highway to the Iranian port of Chabahar so that Afghanistan, which is landlocked, would no longer need to use Pakistani ports.

This was part of a bigger Washington tilt in favor of Delhi that culminated in 2008 when the U.S. signed an agreement that allows India to buy civilian atomic technology, including nuclear fuel, from American firms, even though it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Pakistan responded. The Taliban was its chief asset in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani military very quickly began to use it. The Pakistani military and ISI provided refuge for the Afghan Taliban in the Pakistani tribal areas. By the next year, 2002, the remnants of the Taliban began to carry out raids against the U.S. occupation forces. They were joined by some of the other warlords, who had been excluded from the Karzai government and had been declared enemies of the Afghan state. The U.S. and NATO responded to these raids with air attacks and shelling in Afghanistan that resulted in numerous civilian casualties. At the same time, discontent in Afghanistan began to grow against the government of Karzai and the warlords.

Thus a new, low intensity war against the U.S. occupation began in some parts of Afghanistan where the Taliban and warlords had been strongest. But in these early years, 2002 to 2004, the U.S. was preoccupied with Iraq. A big part of its forces were thrown into the Iraq invasion, which took place in March 2003. The occupation of Afghanistan had become the "forgotten war."

Behind the scenes, the U.S. tried to push the Pakistani military to reorient itself from its rivalry with India to patrolling the Afghan border and cracking down on the Taliban. Under U.S. stewardship, in 2004, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf began a peace process or "composite dialogue" with India predicated on the oath "not to permit any territory under Pakistan’s control to be used to support terrorism in any manner." The ISI demobilized thousands of jihadi fighters in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, moving some of their camps inland. Six Pakistani army divisions (about 80,000 to 100,000 men) were repositioned from the eastern border with India to the western border with Afghanistan. The ISI was reformed, with the more Indo-phobic and jihadi officers purged.

The U.S. pressured Musharraf to crack down on the Taliban, who took refuge inside Pakistan. In March 2004, Musharraf dispatched 80,000 Pakistani soldiers to the tribal areas—but in a selective raid to go after opponents of his regime, while leaving untouched the Taliban itself. The Pakistani military still met stiff resistance, and the military campaign was a disaster. Some Pakistanis, veterans of the assorted wars in Afghanistan going back 20 years, formed their own independent Taliban, opposing the Pakistani regime. Over the next two years, the Pakistani army mounted eight more incursions. With every raid, the new Pakistani Taliban grew stronger. Of course, what is now called the Pakistani Taliban was not one organization, but over a dozen atomized groupings throughout the tribal areas.

But the Pakistani military continued to support the Afghan Taliban. In 2006, Islamabad went further, allowing two Afghan warlords, Jalaladdin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to also use Pakistan’s tribal areas as a base of their operations for Afghanistan.

The Disastrous U.S. Occupation

Faced with the rising insurgency in Afghanistan, by 2005 the U.S. military had increased its troop presence inside Afghanistan to almost 20,000. But more troops meant more targets for insurgents. In that year, the number of U.S. casualties suddenly doubled, reaching 99. In response, the U.S. retaliated with massive aerial bombing campaigns and large-scale house raids in Afghanistan. The number of civilians killed in the process skyrocketed.

What is called the Taliban was only a small part of the forces beginning to take up arms. Other groupings were led by warlords, drug smugglers, kidnappers and others who had stayed afloat in the devastated and impoverished country through criminal activities, and who hid behind religious fundamentalism in order to impose their own control over the population.

But in 2006, the U.S. occupation forces were still engulfed in the worsening war in Iraq. With little possibility to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, the U.S. increased its air strikes and bombings on Afghanistan by a factor of 10 over the previous year. In 2007, the number of air strikes almost doubled again. Civilian casualties skyrocketed. In 2008, more civilians were killed than in the previous four years combined. At the same time, there were no jobs and no necessities. The rising civilian death toll and the general devastation drove more and more of the population against the occupation.

The resistance, atomized as it was, began to take away bigger and bigger swaths of the country from U.S. and NATO control. During the last year, it has expanded to the previously quiet west and north of Afghanistan. The insurgents claimed control of 50% of the country in 2006, increasing to more than 80% today. According to Major General Michael Flynn, the NATO military chief of intelligence in Afghanistan, insurgents now have shadow governors in 33 out of 34 provinces.

An example of what this means: the U.S. military, in order to ship its ammunition and provisions by road, is forced to pay off Taliban and other insurgent groups not to attack their convoys—at a cost of at least tens of millions of dollars per year. And that’s not the least of it. The U.S. also provides funding for more than one-third of the annual budget of the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, which in turn helps fund the Afghan Taliban. Thus, the U.S. provides a substantial portion of the funding to the very forces it is fighting.

The war in Pakistan has also grown bigger and more destructive. Since 2007, for example, the Pakistani military has carried out four offensives inside the Swat Valley, causing up to three million refugees. Due to the impossible conditions of the refugee camps, most refugees are now being housed throughout neighboring parts of Pakistan, an enormous burden, which can only spread opposition to the Pakistani regime. The sophisticated terrorist attacks in recent months in Islamabad, Rawalpini and Lahore—Pakistan’s political, military and cultural capitals, respectively—demonstrate the reach of the terrorist network, and not just geographically. These attacks could not have been carried out without some collaboration inside the Pakistani state apparatus itself. This is not to say that the regime is in danger of falling any time soon—but its problems are multiplying.

So far, the Pakistani military continues to refuse to push the Taliban and other militias opposing the occupation of Afghanistan out of the border regions. U.S. officials described the American and NATO surge of troops as a hammer, but they said it required a Pakistani anvil on the other side of the border to prevent the Taliban from retreating to the mountains. But so far, the Pakistani military has cooperated only in a selective manner. Of course, increasing U.S. pressure or a few U.S. concessions, or a combination of both, may eventually bring the Pakistani government to cooperate with the U.S. more fully—that is, if it is able to, given the rising opposition at home.

Rampant Catastrophes

The sum total of U.S. policies in the region has created an unending chain of disasters, as the U.S. has used and manipulated peoples and militaries for its own purposes and gain, fueling one war after another that has ground up entire populations, turning them into fodder. In 1979, the U.S. stirred up a civil war in Afghanistan simply in order to weaken the Soviet Union. Once the consequences of the civil war threatened to destabilize the region, the U.S. then used Pakistan and the Taliban against the warlords. The U.S. then played India, Iran and the warlords against Pakistan and the Taliban—arming all the sides against each other. The U.S. has stoked the wars and the bloodshed. And each time the U.S. has thrown gasoline on the fire, millions of people have died.

The consequences of U.S. policies have also come back to haunt it again and again. This was illustrated in the weeks following Obama’s announcement. On December 30, a suicide bomber struck a key CIA building in Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost Province. The attack killed seven CIA agents, including the head of the base, two agents from Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, who were coordinating drone attacks inside Pakistan, as well as a Jordanian captain. It turns out that the bomber, a Jordanian intelligence agent, was a double agent secretly working with the Pakistani Taliban. The CIA thought that this agent had valuable information that would allow it to carry out an especially damaging strike. Instead, it was the Taliban that inflicted the damage. The CIA admitted that it had suffered some of the heaviest casualties in its history.

In revenge for these attacks, the U.S. almost immediately escalated drone strikes against Pakistan. In the first 19 days of this year, there were 11 strikes. Compare that to all last year, when the U.S. had carried out 44 attacks from drones. If the U.S. keeps up the present pace of drone attacks, there will be hundreds of drone attacks, raining bombs and rockets onto the population. This reign of terror has turned the anger of the population against the U.S., pushing increasing numbers of people to support the insurgency.

This was illustrated a couple of weeks later when a double suicide attack just yards away from the presidential palace in central Kabul provoked a gun battle in which three U.S. soldiers were killed. Kabul, where most of the foreign forces and government are based, is heavily guarded and fortified. The only way the attackers could have gotten through was with some form of collaboration from security forces inside the capital.

Finally, the U.S. was forced to postpone or give up one of its initiatives to buttress the Afghan state apparatus, what it called the Local Defense Initiative. This program was supposed to help Afghans form their own militias to resist the Taliban by providing them with weapons. The U.S. stopped the program after it found that it was just helping to create more forces independent of the government. This is what already happened in the northern city of Kunduz, where several armed groups confronted the Taliban, only to begin to collect taxes and become an independent power. In other words, they were creating warlords who could come back against them at the moment when the U.S. is trying to strengthen the Afghan state apparatus in order to impose order.

The more the U.S. intervenes, the worse it gets.

Of course, the U.S. surge in Afghanistan could produce such carnage, or the U.S. could successfully bribe enough warlords that it could put a damper on the war for a while. So far it has only produced the opposite, adding to the destabilization of the whole region.

The Stakes for the U.S. Population

In his speech at West Point, Obama resorted to the same rhetoric as Bush to justify escalating the war in Afghanistan, claiming that Afghanistan constitutes the "epicenter of violent extremism.... It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11." Obama then said that new terrorist plots against the U.S. are being spawned there as well: " is here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.... In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror."

This speech is part of the blatant hype that the Obama administration has steadily produced. In this last period, Obama’s justice department went so far as to propose to hold a show trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan, hoping to inflame New York City’s population. Even New York City’s gung-ho Mayor Bloomberg had to turn them down because of the outrageous problems such a circus would produce. The news media picks up Obama’s drum beat. In January, the supposedly staid Washington Post ran the headline,"Report says Al-Qaeda still aims to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S." This is the same kind of scare-mongering that is being pumped out by the media regularly across the country. Then there are the "redoubtable" authorities, who are always pictured as on guard, protecting the population from attack, foiling terrorist plots everywhere. Yet it was the ordinary passengers and crew on an airplane over Detroit who stopped a Nigerian man from blowing the plane up, while all the authorities managed was a big show of useless searches of airline passengers, causing enormous delays for people struggling to get home during the Christmas holidays.

Of course there is a real terrorist threat that can touch the U.S. population. But that threat is a consequence of the monstrous wars carried out by the U.S. military, wars that are waged in the name of the American people. It is these wars that threaten to spawn terrorism, or, as the CIA calls it, "blowback," against the ordinary people of this country.

All this talk about terrorism is nothing but a pretext used by the U.S. government to justify more wars fought for other reasons. After 9/11, the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan not to stop terrorism, but to demonstrate U.S. imperial might. The U.S. invaded Iraq not to stop WMD"s, but for oil. Obama is now escalating the war in Afghanistan... in order to reinforce U.S. imperial domination of the region. Millions of people are killed, countries destroyed so imperialism can gobble up the wealth of the world.

Obviously, the U.S. population does not support these wars, with their growing casualties. Working people are fed up with the trillions of dollars in spending for those wars, as their standard of living is being driven down by the explosion in job cuts and unemployment, the lack of social programs, and everything else.

The American population has absolutely every interest to oppose these barbaric wars, to oppose the bombing and violence against other peoples.

U.S. troops—out of those countries immediately! Out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia! All U.S. troops out of the more than one thousand military bases all over the world!