Saturday, March 14, 2009


The neocon warmongers that believed the ‘surge’ in Iraq actually worked now think that, seven and a half years after invading Afghanistan, they are fighting a war they can win, despite all the evidence that suggests otherwise – if only, so they suggest, they could get say another couple of hundred thousand allied soldiers in to the place.

Writing in one of Murdoch’s most notorious propaganda comics, ‘The Weekly Standard’, Kimberly Kagan, husband Frederick Kagan and Max Boot exert ten pages of effort into trying to convince readers that a surge against the Taliban in Afghanistan will work. (A much shortened version of the same nonsense appeared recently in ‘The New York Times’.) After wading through the long version in ‘The Weekly Standard’ one has to wonder if the likes of Kimberly Kagan, husband Frederick Kagan and Max Boot really have any idea of what they are talking about.

One would have thought that at least the war-obsessed Kimberly Kagan would have some idea; she is, after all, the president of the rather grand and typically neocon-sounding Institute for the Study of War. A keen first year history student could have quickly told her that a ‘surge’ in Afghanistan against the Taliban is doomed to failure before the first lift of soldiers gets off the ground.

Now, these people know all the reasons why others over the centuries have failed to subdue the fiercely independent people of Afghanistan yet still they insist that they can succeed where all these others have failed based solely on the belief that the Afghan people actually want the Americans and their allies to win. This, in turn, is based on their assumption that the Afghan people don’t’ want the Taliban as their government. It hasn’t occurred to Messrs Kagan, Kagan and Boot that after seven and half years of war instigated by the Americans and their allies, all the Afghan people want is for the US and their allies to leave their country so that they can sort their own problems out. Kagan, Kagan and Boot don’t realise that those that are joining the so-called Taliban in their droves today are just ordinary Afghanis that are simply fed up with the Westerners being on their dirt. Most are not the ideologues of the type that made up the Taliban ranks in the late 1990s and early 2000s; today they come from all over Afghanistan and are affiliated with many groups that collectively are fighting the US and their allies in a genuinely popular insurgency that has now permeated into what the West calls north west Pakistan.

Kagan, Kagan and Boot, in both the ‘Weekly Standard’ and the NYT versions of their fantasy, rely on a BBC-ABC News poll released last month but taken in the period December 2008-January 2009, that showed only 4% of Afghans wanted Taliban rule. For Kagan, Kagan and Boot this translates as ‘the other 96% must want the US and their allies to destroy the Taliban and their allies and keep the puppet government in power’.

When one takes a look at the poll, however, we find that this is nowhere near the case. Indeed, only some 40% of those polled (and remember those polled were in areas that were safe for pollsters to travel in and, therefore, in areas under allied control) believed that “…their country was headed in the right direction”.

There might well be just 4% that would like to see the return of Taliban rule but that’s not why the Afghan insurgents are joining the fight against the US and their allies; they are joining because they simply do not want them there anymore. They’ve had a taste of so-called ‘democracy’ but have now discovered that it’s actually only a pseudonym for an opportunity for Afghan elitists and warlords to indulge in corruption and nepotism.

There is no al Qaeda anymore and the Taliban per se barely exists as Kagan, Kagan and Boot actually concede, with the label ‘Taliban’ now simply being a catch-all name for those fighting the US and their allies in much the same way as the name ‘al Qaeda in Iraq’ was a catch-all name for those that resisted invasion and occupation in Iraq rather than actually having anything to do with al Qaeda.

Despite all this and Afghanistan’s history of repelling invaders, Kagan, Kagan and Boot now advocate that the current force of some 58,000 US and allied forces in Afghanistan be ‘surged’ to a staggering 250,000, a force that they reckon can beat the insurgency.

Of course, this isn’t going to happen, especially in the present economic climate and with Obama as President, but it does goes to show how desperately ridiculous the neoconservatives have always been in their warmongering ways. And in a post-George W. Bush world such continuing fantasies serve only to highlight just how gullible the world was back in 2001 when it listened to these people in the first place when they were demanding the West invades Afghanistan and Iraq because, so they told us, they were responsible for 9/11.

The self-righteous and war obsessed neocons know only violence. It hasn’t worked. It was doomed never to work. After years of neocon dominance in Bush foreign policy all the world has ended up with is death and misery for millions throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

Time to try something else – like talking!