The Spark

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

Editorial:
Get Out of, Not Deeper Into Afghanistan!

Dec 7, 2009

On Tuesday, December 1, Obama announced he was sending more troops into Afghanistan, expanding the war there, in order to “finish the job” of dealing with terrorists, so the “U.S. can leave.”

It’s been obvious ever since August, when General Stanley McChrystal leaked his request for more troops to Afghanistan, that the U.S. was preparing for a wider war.

Despite all the public discussion about numbers – 40,000, 25,000, 30,000 – it was never really about numbers. That was just for show. Just like three months of “war cabinet” meetings were just for show. Just like Obama’s speech at West Point on Tuesday was just for show.

It’s a show, and it has one aim: to convince the U.S. population that we have no choice but to accept another four, five, six or more years of this rotten war, justified by lies at the beginning, justified by lies today.

On Tuesday night, Obama told us that terrorism was still a threat to us. It’s an old refrain, coming from American presidents.

In 2001, Bush went into Afghanistan, claiming that the terrorism of 9-11 was planned, organized and put together in Afghanistan. (In fact, the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center were based in Germany, not Afghanistan. The man the U.S. has now accused of planning the attack is Kuwaiti, who lived in Pakistan. And funding for some of the terrorists came from wealthy families in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, two close U.S. allies.)

Is there terrorism in the world? Absolutely, and it’s on the increase.

But, first, we should never forget that many of these terrorist groups got their beginning from money, aid and weapons the U.S. gave them in the 1980s. Many of the warlords who today are leading the attacks on U.S. forces were used by the U.S. in the 1980s to tie up the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

The 2001 U.S. war on Afghanistan was not aimed at stopping terrorism, but at recreating a sense of U.S. invincibility after 9-11. Bush’s advisers calculated they could quickly win a war against Afghanistan.

The Bush people calculated wrongly, it turns out. Not only was the war not over quickly, it did not eliminate the problem of terrorism. The war simply created a much larger reservoir of anger against the U.S. not only among the Afghan population, but also among peoples whose countries are also dominated by the U.S. And this has laid the groundwork for still more terrorism.

On Tuesday night Obama told us that he is sending in another 30,000 troops – supposedly in order to end the war.

To expand a war is not to end it! General McChrystal himself told Senators it would be at least four years before there could be any troop reduction at all in Afghanistan, and he didn’t rule out additional troops going in.

The war in Afghanistan – just like the war in Iraq – is a war for U.S. dominance of the world, and especially of the whole oil-rich Middle East and Western Asia, cut by oil pipelines.

The cost for the people of the region will be worsening destruction and carnage. At least 750,000 civilians have already been killed in these two major wars, very likely as many as one and a half million. Civil wars have been fomented, drug-dealing warlords reinforced, women relegated to positions of servitude.

The cost for U.S. troops is death and trauma. More than 1,000 have already died in Afghanistan – another 4,000 in Iraq. All told, between the two wars, 370,000 soldiers have returned with traumatic head injuries. 220,000 returning soldiers have already sought help from the VA for psychological problems. How many more just simmer without help? Suicide takes a higher toll than combat. In 2007, 6570 vets succeeded in killing themselves.

The cost for the U.S. population – apart from this lost generation of returning soldiers – is the loss of public services, social programs and education, all sacrificed to pay for trillion dollar wars.

For what? Only so U.S. oil and other U.S. capitalists can exploit labor and resources in countries all over the world.

Not one more day in Afghanistan. Not one more day in Iraq. Out now!