The Spark

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

Afghanistan:
Two Trial Balloons

Oct 12, 2009

Two different kinds of leaks regarding Afghanistan have been flowing out of the Obama administration.

On the one hand, a report by General Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, was leaked in which he urged President Obama to increase troop levels by anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 troops or MORE. In other words, that leak sends out the message that the war is about to get a lot bigger.

On the other hand, other members of the administration have leaked discussions saying, maybe they can work with Iran to control Afghanistan; or, maybe they can work with the Taliban and only focus on going after al-Qaeda. In other words, they send out the message that the war could get a lot smaller.

And in the middle of it, Obama is being cautious about what he says he will do. He said that he will not make his decision until he has “absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be.”

Are they confused? Of course.

But it is because the U.S. is caught in a difficult situation. It’s caught in a war it can’t win. It is also a war that is very difficult to get out of – without appearing weak and risking losing some power in the region. This is a tough spot for U.S. imperialism to be in – as they found out to their bitter regret in Vietnam!

The more the U.S. intervenes, the more unstable Afghanistan grows; and now the instability is spreading into Pakistan. The U.S. already discovered when they sent more troops earlier this year that it spread opposition and the situation in the region got MORE explosive.

So, while they work to figure out a way forward for U.S. imperialism, they’re floating two trial balloons to try to prepare us to accept either direction.

Either way, though, the population of Afghanistan is in for an even bigger disaster than the one they’ve faced so far. Whether the U.S. goes in with greater force of arms or hands the country back to the Taliban, the people of Afghanistan are the ones who will continue to pay the biggest price.