War in Afghanistan: Illegal, Untenable, and Unwinnable

by Stephen Lendman / July 3rd, 2010

May 30 Delaware County Times editorial headlined, “Is US
fighting unwinnable war in Afghanistan” asking:

“Why should America (believe) it can (accomplish what the) Soviet
Union (and) Britain couldn’t….? Public sentiment against it is growing,
and “Many pundits say the war… can never be won militarily….” How many
more “US service member” deaths are tolerable?

On January 21, 2010, Britain’s New Stateman sounded the same
theme calling the Afghan war “unwinnable,” recent events showing
intensified fighting, rising casualties, and a popular resistance
determined to prevail. “Britain should be making plans to withdraw,” the
publication concluded. So should America with no right to be there
ethically, morally or legally, the war clearly in violation of US and
international law like all others US forces waged since WW II.

On June 26, the UK Spectator, published since July 1828, was
just as unequivocal, calling US and Kabul leadership “fractious,
confused and contradictory, a sure sign that the war is being lost….
Yes, the war in unwinnable. History and time are on the Afghans side.”

Other publications voice the same sentiment, but not American ones,
misreporting and backing lawless, losing bet despite souring public
sentiment. A new Rasmussen poll shows nearly 60% of US voters believe
American forces can’t win or they’re not sure, and 53% said the war
isn’t worth the cost. In Britain, nearly two-thirds of the public call
the war unwinnable, saying UK forces shouldn’t be there.

A recent Canadian poll showed about two-thirds of the population feel
the war can’t be won, 59% of them opposing their country’s involvement.
Nearly two-thirds of Australians want their nation’s forces out, and a
June 2009 Pew Global Attitudes survey showed public sentiment in
three-fourths of the 25 countries surveyed against the war, wanting US
and NATO troops withdrawn.

Only in America do major media pundits and editorial writers still
back an illegal, unwinnable war, (and the Iraq one), The New York
Times
, in the lead, calling it “central to American security,”
hoping a Petraeus strategy will “genuinely blood(y)” the Taliban, after
nearly nine futile years of trying under a dozen Iraq and Afghanistan
commanders.

 On June 27, Washington Post writer, Greg Jaffe, headlined
the frustration saying, “Military disturbed by rapid turnover at top in
Afghan, Iraq wars,” commanders falling like tenpins, including Tommy
Franks, William Fallon, Ricardo Sanchez, George Casey, David McKiernan,
and Stanley McChrystal, sacked not for deriding his superiors, but for
losing an unwinnable war, and, in fact, suggesting it like other
generals and lower-ranking officers. So do professionals outside the
military not reported in the mainstream. More on them below.

 UK’s Liberation Party – LP (Hizb ut-Tahir) Report

 Founded in 1953, the Liberation Party “works to project a positive
image of Islam to Western societies and engages in dialogue with Western
thinkers, policymakers and academics.”

 Its January 2010 report titled, “Afghanistan & Pakistan: The
Unwinnable War” reviewed the war’s futility, recommending “an
alternative path for the region,” what’s very much needed but not
considered. 

 Instead, Afghans have suffered brutally under war and occupation —
empty promises delivering death, destruction, impoverishment and
depravation to a country John Pilger called more of a moonscape than a
functioning nation, the result of sustained conflicts, violence and
instability.

 Today “the West has lost any form of moral authority,” the puppet
Karzai regime a farcical caricature of a government — corrupted, inept,
and disdainful of its people in collusion with Washington, NATO, war
profiteers, drug barons, and brutal warlords, a combination destroying
the fabric of life in the country.

 Clearly, “The neo-colonial mission has failed,” yet Washington,
Britain, and NATO “decided to double down” their bet and devote more
resources under a new commander to “finish the job,” an impossible
mission short of mass extermination and laying waste to the entire
country, turning it all and surrounding areas into moonscapes, perhaps
the strategy under the next commander after this one fails and the war
drags on, spreads, and inflames the entire Muslim world to a greater
degree than already.

 No wonder a popular resistance flourishes, supported by growing
numbers seeing it as their best chance for liberation no matter what’s
next. Priority one is route the occupier and restore national
sovereignty, perhaps inspiring Iraqis, Pakistanis, and other Muslim
nations to achieve theirs by expunging America’s presence and influence
in the region, a malignancy destroying it.

The LP concludes the following:

•  like in Vietnam, the war is unwinnable, occupation producing a
never-ending cycle of violence, resentment, hatred and retaliation
having a devastating effect on the people;

•  under Washington and NATO, puppet governance is atrocious,
corrupt, inept and unacceptable;

•  troop strength at any level can’t prevail; waging war on the
Taliban means fighting 50 million Pashtuns supporting them and growing
numbers of others;

•  an exit strategy based on Afghan security forces doing NATO’s
bidding won’t work; evidence shows no trust and increasing instances of
belligerence against occupying troops;

•  calling Al-Qaeda and the Taliban America’s threat is bogus to
distract from its real aim — permanent occupation, exploiting
Afghanistan’s resources, and using the country as a land-based aircraft
carrier against its major rivals, Russia militarily and China
economically;

•  “growing and influential voices are now questioning the cost to
Pakistan of supporting America’s war;” it’s counter-productive,
destabilizing, and destructive to an already troubled nation, weakened
further by allying with Washington’s regional wars;

•  America and NATO have no legitimacy in Afghanistan or Iraq; both
wars are illegal; the occupations breed resentment, hatred, and a
never-ending cycle of violence; both countries deserve their
sovereignty, stable economies, “a system consistent with peoples’
values,” freedom from foreign dominance, and new priorities must place
popular “needs over the gains of a few or of private enterprise,”
exploiters for their own interests.

The LP concludes saying millions share its discontent, suggesting a
“politics of hope” over Western war, occupation, corruption and despair.
It recommends “a genuine end to the occupation” so Afghans can restore
what worked well for 1,300 years before Western invaders showed up.
“Unless the scourge of foreign occupation ends, the region will
continue” to suffer and be dysfunctional. Once expunged, it can
“independently tackle (its) innumerable….challenges (including)
unbridled poverty….education (and) rampant corruption, most of all in
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israeli-controlled Palestine.”

Healthcare NOT Warfare Campaign Report

Titled “War in Afghanistan: Untenable and Unwinnable,” journalist,
Norman Solomon, prepared it in autumn 2009 after visiting the country
with others on a fact-finding trip, his itinerary including:

“discussions with top officials to encounters with malnourished
refugees, and from briefings at multi-billion dollar agencies to small
grassroots NGO offices.”

Eight key findings followed:

(1) American priorities won’t “win the hearts and minds” of Afghans
with war, occupation, and corruption in one of the world’s most
impoverished nations, the amount of aid offered thin to nil, little of
it meant for what’s most needed;

(2) USAID helps business, not people, and “has earned a wide-ranging
reputation for waste and fraud in Afghanistan” and other US dominated
countries globally;

(3) imperial war and occupation priorities take precedence over
development and humanitarian aid;

(4) the little aid forthcoming is ill-directed and won’t “alleviate
Afghanistan’s crushing poverty;” credible institutions and communities
with urgent needs aren’t getting it;

(5) the appalling neglect of internally displaced refugees “should be
the subject of vigorous investigation” and correction; living in
squalid conditions, many say they’ve gotten no help from America, the
puppet government or UN; nor from most NGOs there to exploit for their
own bottom-line interests, much how they operate globally;

(6) US free trade hypocrisy harms “Afghanistan’s agriculture sector,”
except for its thriving heroin trade, mainly profiting drug lords, the
CIA, and major Western financial interests, not Afghan farmers;

(7) contrary to Western propaganda, “the Taliban are far from being
the main culprits in the Afghan drug trade,” controlling “no more than
3% of the value of heroin exported….;” and

(8) Kabul’s deteriorated security is the result of a failed war,
occupation, and America’s entire strategy and presence. No change of
command can fix.

The report concludes saying Washington is “pursuing an increasingly
untenable war effort,” showing up in growing Taliban strength and
support, as well as the “plung(ing) Karzai government(’s) credibility.
As a result, the Obama administration “will accomplish little by
redoubling military efforts to (counter) deteriorating political and
social conditions” on the ground. In fact, greater military aggression
will “magnify the most negative dynamics now underway,” including
eroding support in the Democrat party base.

At its Executive Board meeting last November, California Democrats
approved a resolution calling for an “End to US Occupation and Air War
in Afghanistan,” following an appeal by marine veteran, Rick Reyes, who
served there and in Iraq, saying:

“There is no military solution in Afghanistan. (Their) problems are
social,” not ones militarism can fix. “We dishonor the patriotism and
the sense of justice of our brave men and women by sending them to
fight, proclaiming that they sacrifice for democracy and national
security when really they struggle and die in support of nothing more
than a proven criminal regime” in league with imperial homeland and war
profiteering interests – at the expense of Americans, Afghans, and the
region. 

The Afghan and Iraq wars and occupations are immoral, illegal,
untenable, unwinnable, and unsustainable, their continuation decaying
America morally, and heading the country for isolation, despotism and
insolvency, a path perhaps too far along to reverse given decades of
militarism, corporate control, and pervasive high-level public and
private corruption, a frightening bottom line conclusion.

A Final Comment

As in earlier conflicts, America’s Iraq and Afghanistan rules of
engagement (ROEs) include targeted assassinations and death squad
terror, mostly against civilians, counter-insurgency lawlessness to cow
people into submission – suppressed or misreported by the media,
including predator drone attacks in recent years launching missiles or
bombs in air attacks killing up to 50 civilians for each militant in
violation of established principles of distinction, necessity,
proportionality, and humanity.

Under McChrystal, they escalated dramatically, reigning
indiscriminate death and destruction in Afghanistan and Pakistan,
cold-blooded murder — in vain, based on the results, but they’ll
continue, maybe increase under Petraeus, showing America is both lawless
and merciless, even knowing it can’t prevail.

The likelihood is suggested by Stephen Biddle, Fotini Christia, and J
Alexander Thier in their Foreign Affairs article headlined,
“Defining Success in Afghanistan,” saying:

“The original plan for a post-Taliban Afghanistan… no longer appears
feasible, if it ever was,” in a nation governed the way America wishes.
As a result, Washington and NATO countries are more willing to reach
accommodation with middle and lower level Taliban members. In other
words, if defeating them fails, buy them off not to fight, what worked
in Iraq short term, growing violence, however, showing expediency
failed, its same fate in Afghanistan if tried.

Biddle, Christia and Thier believe “tolerable stability” is now
acceptable, a major climb down from earlier more ambitious, unrealistic
aims — America’s, not Afghan’s wanting their country back, and an end to
Washington’s presence, an 82nd Airborne Division soldier speaking for
many others saying: “We get a lot of dirty looks. I get the feeling they
don’t like us very much around here,” why they’ll keep fighting until
you’re gone, knowing they’ll win. You’ll lose, a lesson front line
troops know, not their commanders or officials back home.

A final note.  On June 30, the Senate unanimously confirmed David
Petraeus as US Afghanistan commander, showing the entire body supports
the illegal, unwinnable war, not a profile in courage in sight.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. Contact him at: lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
Also visit his blog site
and listen to The Global Research News Hour on
RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are
archived for easy listening. Read other
articles by Stephen
.

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