NPR (All Things Considered) is devoting an entire hour of programming today to the war in Afghanistan. The show was prefaced with a comment something like “We don’t have all the answers.” Well, I have the answer: Get out! Get out now before one more Afghan dies, before one more U.S. soldier dies, before one more dollar is spent. Get out now. Like Vietnam, we will eventually get out. The question is how many more Afghans will die before we do? How many more U.S. soldiers will die before we do? How many more billions of dollars will be wasted before we do? And how many more terrorists will we create before we leave? As Daniel Ellsberg recently said, sending more troops to AfghanistanÂ will only increase the Taliban’s strength:
The more troops we put in Vietnam, the more Vietcong were recruited. And, the more troops we put in Afghanistan, the curve shows very clearly from 2005 on, the Taliban has come back having been, as you say, despised and reviled by most of the country. How can it be that they get the degree of support that they do now? One reason only: the number of troops, of US troops that they are fighting.
An outrageous thing has happened today in Germany: the Defense Minister has used the word “war” to describe the, uh, war in Afghanistan. As Justin Raimondo might say: Germans are shocked — shocked! You see, these people burdened by national collective memories of WWII thought they were sending peacekeepers to Afghanistan — sure, sure, armed to the teeth and swathed in armor, but still, I mean, the UN approves. And now this bad man tells them it’s a war over there.
But DM Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is still within acceptable boundaries of discourse, as he technically said the fighting in Afghanistan was “war-like.” This keeps him in line with his predecessor Franz Josef Jung, fond of saying “this is not a war,” and that his soldiers are on a “mission for stability and the peaceful development of the nation.”
Aside from the general “revulsion for war” among Germans, there are practical concerns. Insurance carriers will not pay out for men killed in “war,” so in (I guess) an effort to save a few marks, the government classifies “war” as something that can only be carried out between sovereign states, and Afghan wedding parties apparently aren’t technically a country.
Guttenberg further clarified that the “war” label is used by his soldiers, those ignorants of the finer points of international law; to them “the Taliban is waging a war against the soldiers of the international community.”
Shame on the “Taliban” — code for anyone who dares to take up arms against foreign invaders in Afghanistan — for somehow teleporting their country under the feet of so many American and European troops and then having the gall to fight back when drone-bombed, and further, refusing to adopt a societal model that would give rise to a centralized European-style social democratic state! A backward civilization, indeed.
So, more British soldiers have now been killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Why are British troops in Afghanistan? We know why American forces are in Afghanistan–to fight the Taliban terrorists “over there” so we don’t have to fight them “over here,”Â to find Osama bin Laden, to avenge the 9/11 attacks, and to defend our freedoms, or at least these are thingsÂ thatÂ many Americans think. But why are British troops in Afghanistan? Britain had no 9/11. But Britain is our ally. Well, Israel is our ally. Japan is our ally. Germany is our ally (in this war). How many soldiers from Israel, Japan, and Germany are in Afghanistan? I wonder how many Americans would support U.S. troops in Afghanistan if things were just the opposite and it was Britain that was waging a war on terror because of a 9/11 attack? If I lived in Britain, I would be even more outraged than I am as an American because of American troops in Afghanistan.
On June 15, Rep. Ron Paul gave the following speech in opposition to the Democrats’ new $106 Billion war funding bill, after it was sent back to the House from the conference committee. (The bill passed Tuesday evening.):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this conference report on the War Supplemental Appropriations. I wonder what happened to all of my colleagues who said they were opposed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wonder what happened to my colleagues who voted with me as I opposed every war supplemental request under the previous administration. It seems, with very few exceptions, they have changed their position on the war now that the White House has changed hands. I find this troubling. As I have said while opposing previous war funding requests, a vote to fund the war is a vote in favor of the war. Congress exercises its constitutional prerogatives through the power of the purse.
This conference report, being a Washington-style compromise, reflects one thing Congress agrees on: spending money we do not have. So this â€œcompromiseâ€ bill spends 15 percent more than the president requested, which is $9 billion more than in the original House bill and $14.6 billion more than the original Senate version. Included in this final version — in addition to the $106 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — is a $108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund, allowing that destructive organization to continue spending taxpayer money to prop up corrupt elites and promote harmful economic policies overseas.
As Americans struggle through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, this emergency supplemental appropriations bill sends billions of dollars overseas as foreign aid. Included in this appropriation is $660 million for Gaza, $555 million for Israel, $310 million for Egypt, $300 million for Jordan, and $420 million for Mexico. Some $889 million will be sent to the United Nations for â€œpeacekeepingâ€ missions. Almost one billion dollars will be sent overseas to address the global financial crisis outside our borders and nearly $8 billion will be spent to address a â€œpotential pandemic flu.â€
Mr. Speaker, I continue to believe that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If one looks at the original authorization for the use of force in Afghanistan, it is clear that the ongoing and expanding nation-building mission there has nothing to do with our goal of capturing and bringing to justice those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make us safer at home, but in fact it undermines our national security. I urge my colleagues to defeat this reckless conference report.
Antiwar.com contributor Neil Kitson will have his day in court in Vancouver Monday. Kitson is seeking information on prisoners taken by Canadian troops in Afghanistan. His requests have thus far been denied.
The hearing is open to the public. For details, check out Neil’s blog.