May 14, 2012
The Obama administration is staging a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21 in order to promise to bring the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history, to a close. The Chicago NATO summit caps a month of summit meetings about Afghanistan. There was a NATO summit in Brussels in mid-April. Then there was President Obama’s own surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he held court with the U.S.’s puppet ruler, Hamid Karzai.
All these summits, prime time speeches and repeated briefings for the press allow Obama to go into the presidential election campaign on a platform of ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
There is only one problem: the Obama administration is NOT ending the war.
The U.S. continues to bomb Afghanistan from the air. Just a week before the NATO summit, the U.S. apologized for “mistakenly” killing six members of a family in southwestern Afghanistan. The toll on Afghan lives continues to provoke outrage amongst the Afghan population. Recently, hundreds of Afghans, carrying the bodies of four children aged eight to 12 who had been killed in fighting in southern Afghanistan, blocked the Kabul-Kandahar Highway in protest against the U.S. war.
This outrage is also reflected in the sharp rise in the number of attacks on U.S. and NATO soldiers by Afghan soldiers and police. U.S. officials admit that these attacks from the U.S.’s own Afghan “allies” account for 20% of the total U.S. and NATO fatalities.
Neither is the U.S. withdrawing all its troops from Afghanistan by 2014, as promised. On the contrary, the Enduring Strategic Partnership that Obama signed with Karzai specifies that the U.S. will continue to have access to bases inside Afghanistan until at least 2024 – that is, a decade later. U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan under the cover of being “advisors” and “trainers.” U.S. jets, drones and helicopters will continue to drop bombs and fire missiles inside Afghanistan. And U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) will continue to carry out night raids on private homes.
The U.S. war in Afghanistan will continue, just like the U.S. war in Iraq is continuing in a similar form. It will just be more hidden.
This is not a peace treaty. It’s simply an agreement between the U.S., its NATO allies and its puppet Afghan government to continue the war.
And it’s an election year trick. Remember 2008, when Obama ran as the peace candidate and promised to get out of both Iraq and Afghanistan? Once he got into office, he turned Bush’s wars in both countries into his own.
This war, like all wars in this capitalist system, serves the interest of the oil companies, the weapons systems contractors and the banks. And Obama, like Bush before him, are carrying out their dirty work. Obama assumed Bush’s timetable for fighting the war in Iraq. And Obama carried out his own troop surge in Afghanistan, tripling the number of U.S. troops.
There are currently 89,000 U.S. troops there. Obama promises that he will reduce troop levels in Afghanistan by 20,000 by the end of 2012. But that will still leave more than twice as many troops there as when Obama took office.
Fall for a politician’s lie one time, bad enough – but a second time is downright foolish.