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Whose Toes Are Those?

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By Jabari Asim

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A War Fought in Ignorance

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Posted on Feb 24, 2009
USAF / Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft deploys flares over Afghanistan.

By William Pfaff

In past columns, I have asked without success for an explanation of why the United States should be at war with the Taliban, a violent sectarian Muslim reform movement of modest size in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Neither side can give a coherent explanation of who the other is. The Taliban must ask what it could have done to the United States that Washington should now have some 40,000 troops in Afghanistan, accompanied by allied forces from Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and other countries, with 17,000 Marines waiting to ship out from the United States this spring.

Last weekend, the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Krakow made the search for replacements to rotate these troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan a major item of discussion, with little to show for it. There were a few tentative offers of temporary reinforcements during August, when Afghan national elections are scheduled, but that was the best they managed to do.

The usual Washington reaction is that this is the result of European pacifism, good living and loss of appetite for war, but the real reason lies elsewhere. The allies, too, are looking for an explanation as to why Americans and the NATO governments should be doing this to themselves.

What has the Taliban done to the Westerners that the United States and its allies should have twice (first in 2001-2 and again now) sent major air forces to destroy Taliban villages and warriors? In 2002 it was B-52 heavy bombers operating from very high altitude (out of fear that the Taliban might have Russian ground-air missiles). Now it is U.S., British and French fighter-bombers reinforced by aircraft carriers in the Arabian Sea.


Square, Site wide
The American command knows that, tactically and politically, aerial bombing is the worst way to do precision attacks on small ground units, since it produces high levels of what military-euphemism-speak calls collateral damage. But aerial bombing is what the allies have in the absence of more NATO and U.S. infantry.

However, back to the fundamental question: Why are we doing this? There are two answers, one of which is blunt, brutal and in the Cheney-Pentagon tradition. They are “bad folks” and “evil.” They provided traditional hospitality to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida after the government of Sudan had put the latter out of its country under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden to the U.S. as a matter of honor (although there also are reports that it provided American emissaries with opportunities to take bin Laden, which the U.S. failed to do because it was culturally blind to the signals being given).

Actually, there are three answers. The one that Westerners instinctively give is that the Taliban must be made to let girls go to school and marry as they wish, must abandon medieval criminal punishments and must set people free to say what they think. But no one is forcing the Afghans and the Pakistanis to adopt the Taliban’s deplorable practices; the people of those two nations are making the choice to do so.

The most important reason for the American war on the Taliban is that Washington under the Bush administration, and with the enthusiastic support of certain leaders of the neoconservative gang among think-tank intellectuals, had decided that America had to destroy “Islamo-fascism,” and the Taliban was the only radical Islamic fundamentalist group that Washington knew about. U.S. leadership was seriously unaware of the difficulties of invading other countries to stamp out objectionable forms of native religion.

Moreover, the Taliban had resisted the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, sent with orders to capture Osama bin Laden. So this is a grudge fight, which President Obama inherits from President Bush.

(In the months leading up to the presidential election last November, George W. Bush was quoted by a supposed witness as demanding of all his armed forces and intelligence chiefs: “By Nov. 1, bring me bin Laden’s head on a platter! Whatever the price!” It reads like a Jacobin scene: the king rending his garments, foam flecking his lips, crying out, “Ten thousand ducats shall be yours, and a Texas kingdom of your own, my youngest daughter as your queen!”)

My own belief is that what is going on is folly. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India should be asked to a conference on regional stability, in which the U.S. puts on the table an offer of complete non-interference in the internal affairs, including the religious affairs, of these countries, unless there is further attack on the United States by any of them.

None of the four nations has anything to gain from making the United States its enemy, the U.S. would point out. And the U.S. has no wish to have any as an enemy. The internal political affairs of all, including India and Pakistan’s Kashmir issue, are to be settled (or left unsettled) by themselves, possibly with international mediation of their own choice. The new American administration will deal generously with every government at peace with its neighbors, believing that peace is better than war.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at

© 2009 Tribune Media Services Inc.

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By Folktruther, March 1, 2009 at 12:41 am Link to this comment

Quite true, Omniedeo’

Tony, we don’t know what the money was used for, or why Atta gave some of it back.  The kind of thing Omniedeo was saying.

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By Tony Wicher, February 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

So, what about the story that the chief of Pakistan ISI wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta a week or so before 9/11, so he could blow it all on booze, hookers and cocaine?

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By jackpine savage, February 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

Ok, AFriend, i bow out gracefully.

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By omniadeo, February 28, 2009 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment


I actually believe your last point is the one of the most important. Intelligence agencies, at least the black opps divisions, are halls of mirrors. You never now what you are looking at.

They are also like extremely well funded and intricate criminal organizations, but even more secretive, since the discipline of cutouts and rationales on a need-to-know basis is even more strict. Finally they are all interpenetrated (that is part of the way they operate) and they know much more about each other (even their enemies) than the rest of us know about them.

Recent history makes it very plain that operations being conducted by one group for the hidden agenda of second while believing they are working for a third is common, but the permutations are endless and the games can be taken in whole different directions by another group who has access to more info or hidden ways to issue orders into the need-to-know mirror hall mix.

To sit where we sit and try to figure out what is going on in the depths of the intrigue between factions of the ISI and the factions in the CIA/NSA, (not to mention the Chinese, Mossad, and God knows whomelse) is probably not going to be very productive. The overall effects and who is after what is pretty clear, I think.

Even less productive is to take the monikers “Taliban,” “Al Qaeda” etc as concrete entities. They are intertwined but fractious coalitions, no doubt, when they are not just US Propaganda “brand names” used to frighten us.

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By Tony Wicher, February 28, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

RE jackpine savage, February 28 at 9:47 pm

I also recommend Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars. It’s good background material for understanding what is happening in Afghanistan now.

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By Folktruther, February 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

Thanks very much for the links, Jackpine.  Nobody seens to know much about the internal working of the ISI.  But hell, we don’t know much about the internal workings of the CIA either, and there are apparently a number of factions.

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By cyrena, February 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

RE:By jackpine savage, February 28 at 3:32 pm


Thanks so much for these links. I’m going to pass them on. I did read Coll’s book, Ghost Wars, and I couldn’t agree more to it being an excellent reference, with tons more information (references) in the footnotes alone.

Well worth its price for anyone who wants to really understand what’s happening there.

Meantime, from time to time, I ponder the ‘what ifs’ the Soviets had NOT been run out of Afghanistan. How would Afghanistan ‘feel’ to the Afghan people? I don’t know. I just ponder it…

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By jackpine savage, February 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment


My pleasure.  Steve Coll’s book Ghost Wars is probably an essential reference to understand the Afghan back-story.  He goes deep into the funding of the mujaheddin; covers the civil war; and ends the story at 9/11. It reads well too.

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By omniadeo, February 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

jackpine savage,

Can’t thank you enough for the great links. The COIN doc is unbelieva…what am I saying? It’s all too believable.

The one thing I didn’t quite expect was the outright evocation of the US campaign in the Philippines. Amazing.

You are right, this doc basically says, “you name it, we can invade it.”

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By AFriend, February 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Better to knowledge you have little real understanding of Afghanistan and bow out gracefully.

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By jackpine savage, February 28, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment


I wish i could give an answer about the ISI divisions, but i can’t.  Those waters are as muddy as they come.  And the ISI and Pakistan is incredibly proficient at double dealing America.

A good portion of my knowledge on this comes from an email list. I’ve promised not repeat the private speakings of members. (It is populated by ex-military, FSO’s, print journalists, etc.)

I can point you to a new article by Steve Coll that isn’t directly related to your question but is related and gives a good background on Pakistani machinations.

This is a good one too:

You might also like this, and it has a link to the PDF of the new COIN strategy…understanding that will help you make a lot more sense of what you’ll be seeing in the news over the next few years.

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By jackpine savage, February 28, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Writer on the storm,

Clearly the Taliban was an awful regime with little or no redeeming benefit.  But if that is the rationale for invading Afghanistan then there is a long list of nations waiting to be liberated.

Isn’t it strange that we saw fit to provoke a Soviet “invasion” (though they were invited by the Afghan government)...and that comes from Brzezinski’s testimony that we were there 6 months before the Soviet invasion…in order to trap the Soviets?

The way that funding worked was that the US put so much into a bank account and that was matched by the Saudis.  Once it entered the account, the US had zero control of how the money was spent.  The ISI was the conduit, but the Saudis were involved as well.  Ergo, a great deal of the money went to the foreign fighters and was used to promote Salfi-Islamic practices.

There is no question that the Taliban was rotten, but it served Pakistani interests (read the ISI’s interest) better than the other groups.  Keep in mind that the ISI has a long history of funding jihadists, particularly if they look like an asset in the Kashmir conflict.

According to a fair number of historical accounts, the foreign fighters were never very popular in Afghanistan.  However, the Pashtun code is explicit about giving refuge to anyone who asks for it…even one’s enemy.

The Bush administration had no qualms about dealing with the Taliban when they thought that they could get a pipeline deal.  Never mind Clinton; the man never met a foreign policy issue that he couldn’t fumble or ignore until it blew up in his face.

Our invasion of Afghanistan had nothing to do with the Taliban, that was window dressing.  And considering the events at Tora Bora (where US servicemen watched the ISI help al Quaeda forces - who no one with any first hand knowledge describes as serious fighters - escape into Pakistan) we’d be hard pressed to describe the invasion of Afghanistan as having anything to do with ObL and terrorism.

Sure, “we” (which means the Northern Alliance backed by US air power) “defeated” the Taliban.  But what good has it done us or Afghanistan?  Eight years later our puppet government is discontent as a puppet and controls most of Kabul. 

This is just another story, like our earlier foray into Afghanistan, of us screwing our long-term for the sake of the short-term.

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By jackpine savage, February 28, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

A Friend,

I did not say that the Taliban existed during the Soviet occupation.  I said that the Taliban won the post-Soviet civil war because they had superior funding.  (And i went back and read my comments to make sure that’s what i said.) That funding came via the ISI.  We still pump money into Pakistan via military aid that we cannot control.  And the ISI has a long history of funding jihadist movements when they think it will advance their strategic objectives.

Are you seriously making the argument that Clinton (a proven in court lair) “pressuring” Pakistan to support other factions actually did anything other than put a PR face on the situation?  The Pakistani government does not control the ISI…if anything it has mostly been the other way around.

No, i’m not saying that your list of luminaries are lairs and i’m not because i’m just not a lair.  But i don’t have any reason to lie, and they do/did.  Still, you seem willing to say that your history is correct while mine is wrong…pot, meet kettle.

Regardless, it is not another subject entirely because we very clearly funded the pre-cursors to the Taliban.  We flooded the country with weapons.  We funded the building of Pakistani madrassas.  We did a whole lot of things that came back to bite us on the ass, so the whistling innocent schtick doesn’t hold much water.

And in an effort to keep our hands clean, we simply handed the money to the Pakistanis to distribute.

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By diamond, February 28, 2009 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

Surely you remember Tony Wicher that Thomas Friedman said that no two countries with a McDonalds would ever go to war with each other? Behind that moronic statement lies a world of ignorance on America’s part and a world of suffering on the part of Iraq and Afghanistan, and I can assure you that the neo cons DO give a shit about Israel and they’ve only gone into hiding. They’re not gone and given half a chance they’ll do it all again having learned nothing, the way Cheney and Rumsfeld learned nothing from being on Nixon’s staff and watching his disgrace and demise.

When I saw a trembling journalist on TV in the 90’s describing the rockets flying over into Israel from Iraq I knew then that Saddam Hussein’s days were numbered and that Israel would get him however long it took. It took around 13 years. You must know that the invasion of Iraq was planned in the 90’s, beginning soon after the end of Gulf War I.

If the truth about how dire the situation really is got out no one would be talking about victory in Afghanistan at all. The British general who said that a military victory there wasn’t possible was one of the few people to both face and tell the truth. But, of course, he was on his way home at the time. The idea that getting the whole of Europe involved will fix things is just another pipedream. After all if the Russians lost in Afghanistan with 500,000 troops it certainly disproves the idea that more troops will change anything. Even the Russians have tried to warn NATO about the mirage of victory in Afghanistan but they’ve been ignored.

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By omniadeo, February 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

“*It should be noted that the Pakistani Intelligence Service did have factions within that supported both al Qa’ida and the Taliban. That, however, is another subject entirely.”

Oh, right. Entirely. That’s obvious. And you, AFriend, know that US tax dollars only went to the good ISI, not the bad ISI. Because we are good, no doubt. And they are evil.

It’s all clear.

Perhaps you would like to look again (you did read it, right, AFriend?) at the timeline I posted, which outlines how CIA $$ funneled through USAID $$ funded the textbooks that helped create the madrassas that helped stock Al Qaeda and the Taliban both with recruits. The same money and Corporate $$ was used to pay a central figure to invite Taliban leaders to the US.

Your quibble abut the word Taliban won’t erase the central point: Islamic Extremism in Central Asia is almost exclusively the creation of the US and it’s allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

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By AFriend, February 27, 2009 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)



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By Folktruther, February 27, 2009 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

AFReind—I for one would certainly trust Jackpine more than Tnoy Blair, Tenet, etc, and we disagree on things.  But he is honest and they aren’t.

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By Tony Wicher, February 27, 2009 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

By diamond, February 26 at 5:35 pm #

The answer doesn’t lie in Afghanistan or in anything the Afghans have done. It lies in Israel. The neo cons developed a theory that the entire Muslim world had to be ‘converted’(by force) to free market, American style democracies so that Israel would be ‘safe’.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Naw, Israel is just another red herring. Neocon imperialist war profiteers don’t give a shit about Israel; they just say they do to justify their depradations, and so they can call anybody who opposes the “anti-Semitic”. Don’t fall for the Israel con.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment


Thanks for the response, and my apologies if I led you to believe that I was putting forth any argument at all. I’ve made my position on Afghanistan clear on other posts.

If I was getting at anything other than picking the brains of some of TD’s best posters, it’s that the demonization-as-persuasion mechanism doesn’t quite apply in places where the regime is actually ‘demonic’, as I believe the Taliban (for lack of a better term) was.

The demonization/witch hunt phenomenon is better observed in the ME conflict, for example. In that instance it is common to hear the media refer to political violence as militant fundamentalism, or terrorist attacks.  Anyone who opposes American interests in that region is portrayed as a scimitar waving lunatic. You know the drill - these are deliberate efforts to preempt debate about the motives or grievances of the opposition. In the border regions of Afghanistan however, it seems to me that many of the militants really are scimitar waving lunatics. I was hoping that you or Jackpine might be able to enlighten me about that.

And while I take your summary of invasion motives at face value, I regard the demise of the Taliban regime as a nice fringe benefit - which is about the best us outliers can hope for.

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By AFriend, February 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

jackpine savage,

None of what you wrote on this subject is correct.

You did claim the U.S. supported the “Taliban” during the Soviet occupation. -Better to say you were in error and leave it at that.

Your claim that the U.S., in any fashion, supported the Taliban in the 90’s flies in the face of all known history. President Clinton made his policy toward the government of Afghanistan very clear. The U.S. State Dept. pressured Pakistan to support Ahmend Shah Masood of the Northern Alliance.—Quite the opposite of your claims.

Pakistan at the time had two main fears. The Indians on one front and the Taliban exporting it’s flavor of extremism on the other. Any support toward the Taliban from Pakistan was strategic in nature. Not ideological or “friendly”.

There was nothing friendly about the relationship between the Pakistan government and the Taliban. They shared a border. Stability was the order of the day.

*It should be noted that the Pakistani Intelligence Service did have factions within that supported both al Qa’ida and the Taliban. That, however, is another subject entirely.


So you believe Tony Blair, George Tenet, Sen. Bob Graham, Gen. Colin Powell and the entire Senate Select Intelligence Committee are proven liars and, YOU are the one who knows better the facts.

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By diamond, February 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Writer on the Storm none of the things you refer to were put forward as the reason for invading Afghanistan. It was explicitly stated that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 and this was the justification for invading. It was a woolly headed notion from the start. What good could it possibly do to invade such a country, even if Afghanis had been involved in 9/11? They weren’t and the Bush administration knew it but the crucial fact here is that Afghanistan is a tribal society. It’s in the position Europe was in hundreds of years ago before nations were formed: there is no central government to negotiate with and no central power to make a deal with: a peace deal or any other deal. This remains the case today. It’s why NATO can’t win militarily any more than you can catch water in your hands. Karzai is a puppet and he sits in Kabul, far removed from the suffering of the Afghani people. He doesn’t work for them. He works for the Americans.

There is no evidence that Afghanistan did 9/11 so clearly another agenda was at play, an unstated agenda. An agenda that couldn’t be stated because it involved the neo con plan to ‘remodel the Middle East’ and the world to a neo con design and it also involved the poppy fields burned by the Taliban, thereby cutting off the supply of 90% of the heroin that goes into America via the Turkish Mafia. You don’t need to be a genius to understand that other mafias much closer to Washington are also involved in this trade as they are in the arms trade, which can only benefit from any war, anywhere. As far as I’m concerned they needed a patsy and that patsy was Osama bin Laden and they invaded Afghanistan principally to ‘prove’ that he did it while, in fact, their real goal was to move on to the invasion of Iraq as quickly as possible. They wanted to remove a man they considered dangerous to Israel and to get control of and privatize the state owned oil fields of Iraq. Which they have now done. As others have pointed out, the poppy fields of Afghanistan are now back in full production, the heroin flows once again to America. Another victory for democracy. The Canadians among others put forward a plan to turn all that poppy into morphine (of which there is a worldwide shortage for obvious reasons) so that they could grow it legally but the Bush administration would touch that with a ten foot pole. Or a ten foot syringe. The biggest flaw in the argument you put forward is that it means any country can invade another country if they disapprove of their religion or how they conduct the law or government. This is a recipe for endless war, which the Pentagon and the arms dealers approve of, but it has to rejected completely if the human race is to survive or if democracy is to survive. Afghanistan won’t be conducted into the 21st century at the point of a gun. Others have tried and failed to do that. War is not the solution to Afghanistan’s woes.

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By KDelphi, February 27, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

“And the U.S. has no wish to have any as an enemy.”

Are you certain about that? What excuse would the Pentagon have to ramp up the military budget? They wish they had another Cold War, only this one is better. YOu can bomb with drones, and, the MSM will barely wimper!

The US helped invent the Taliban, and, Reagan had them for lunch! Bush Sr kissed thier asses, and, yes, they must have been shocked at the “response”.

Can the US survive without its “bad guys”? We havent had to try so far—-are we afraid to? Empire or people. Its one or the other.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 27, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

Diamond and Jackpine,

I take your points about demonization, witch hunts and oversimplifications when it comes to the way media and politicians portray Afghanistan. But I’m not clear about the implications of your arguments. Are you suggesting that there is/was no suppression of human rights, radical and violent fundamentalism, public beheadings, destruction of important historical and cultural monuments, censorship of the media, book burnings, harboring of international criminals, etc, etc. That all of this was a fabrication?

Or is it your contention (and I don’t mean to lump you together) that none of these are reasons enough to go to war? Or is it that while these may have been good reasons to want to oust the regime, the strategies employed were doomed to failure due to our hopeless misunderstanding of how things work over there?

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By omniadeo, February 27, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

May I put a plug in here for the “War in Afghanistan” Timeline at the Center for Cooperative Research?

It uses mainstream sources, but nevertheless makes it very clear that US, Military, Intelligence and Corporate power has been intimately involved in promoting almost every personality in, or brand of, Islamic extremism in Central Asia, whatever name, spelling or faction you wish to reference: Taliban, Taleban, Muhajedeen, Al Qaeda, you name it, we funded it.

While it is true, much of the funding came through the Saudis, the Pakistani ISI, and other third party sources (and let’s not forget Narcotics and Weapons Sales, the secret enzymes which work in tandem to turn Oil Zones into War zones all over the world)we did in fact supply direct funding to many of these factions.

Including my favorite, the actual printing of hate-filled Islamic extremist textbooks. “The textbooks are filled with…militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet[s]. For instance, children are taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles, and land mines.”

But I am sure that AFriend can explin why this was necessary in our attempts to free the Afghanis. (He won’t actually cite sources, though. Why bother with trifles like that while defending freedom in far away places?)

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By Folktruther, February 27, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Jackpine, it is seldom that insurgent groups are fully united, which is why revolutions are so hard to make. But all of the groups called ‘Taliban’ are Pushtan as far as I know and funded by the ISI via perhaps Saudi Arabia.

The Pakistan ISI appears to be split between the US faction and the opposition faction.  Jackpine, do you know any more about the split of the ISI, which the US appears to be funding. And the split in the Pakistani military and power system?

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By jackpine savage, February 27, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

A Friend,

Of course there was no Taliban during the mujahideen days, but the money that flowed to that nebulous group was what made the growth of the Taliban possible.  I never said that the Taliban existed during the Soviet occupation, but we also don’t know when the money stopped flowing.  Granted, Taliban money from the ISI probably came from our bestest friends…the Saudis.

Interesting that you base your argument on the bin Laden offer on the words of people we know are lairs.  This is not to say that the Taliban weren’t lying, just to say that using one lair to disprove another lair doesn’t work very well.

And the main point of my comments on this thread is that there is no “Taliban” as a distinct organization…yet the entire spectrum of US commentary continues to use the term as if it means something definite.

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By cyrena, February 26, 2009 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Hi Diamond,
(You ARE a Diamond by-the-way), because you contribute all of this great stuff, that just happens to be right up my academic alley. So, I’ve been pondering these things for quite a long time now. Your post is really helpful as a reference. These are indeed all of the components of this age old “Politics of Fear” tactic, and the thing is…it’s been used against other populations throughout the course of history, for centuries.
Hitler did it, and so have other insane and authoritarian dictators/regimes. They use these fear tactics to terrorize entire populations. They grab power that way…by selling fear and the psychological terror that accompanies it, so that the victims accept anything based on these irrational fears, because it will make them ‘safe’ from these CREATED ‘enemies’.
Meantime, all of these same tactics happen at the micro level as well, and this part of your sequence can also be applied to the mass spreading of propaganda..

•“3.Accept any incriminating evidence however dubious or vague.

4.Emphasize what you want to hear and ignore all evidence inconvenient to your theory.

5.Create or employ false evidence if necessary to convict.

6.Threaten anyone speaking in favour of a defendant as a suspected accessory.”

ALL of these same things are present in the spreading of the propaganda required to make the whole project work. For any of us who have the time (and I do only because it’s just about ALL I have)we can look through the comments on these and other forums, (actually, you don’t even HAVE to check other sites, because this one has more than it’s fair share) and find this same activity as above, specifically in terms of the Zionist Agenda in the Middle East.

And of course that is directly connected (at the hip) to the Neocon Movement that instigated the entire ‘war on terror’ hoax to begin with.
Anyway, thanks for this post.  I’m adding it to my collection of very helpful reference notes for my ongoing project/dissertation.

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By curmudgeon, February 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe the Talibans’ real crime is ingratitude.  After all, if it weren’t for the US, there wouldn’t BE any Taliban.

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By Kaiser Needlebaum, February 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Incase it has escaped publicity seeking Prince Harry’s attention, Afghanistan is not Beverly Hills, California.

So Harry can sound off with a sanctimonious “We do bad things to bad people” till he’s blue in the face.

He can go in Rambo like and kill every Afghan man, woman and child and it still won’t change the fact that Afghanistan is a harsh enviroment with limited resources.  And thus produces a harsh culture of War Lords, Corrupt politicians and virtually no infrastructure for the majority.

Incase the Pea Brained Royal brat can think his way out of a paper bag, he might do well to think about just who is he killing….and why.

If Afghanistan is a screw up these days, maybe he should also remember the CIA funded the Afghans with Billions to kill RUSSIAN SOLDIERS!

Remember that Harry, next time you’re out Fox hunting an innocent animal.

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By Folktruther, February 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Good points, Diamand.

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By diamond, February 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

The answer doesn’t lie in Afghanistan or in anything the Afghans have done. It lies in Israel. The neo cons developed a theory that the entire Muslim world had to be ‘converted’(by force) to free market, American style democracies so that Israel would be ‘safe’. All this piffle about bin Laden is just a smokescreen, the same way the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in ‘the shape of a mushroom cloud’ and the ‘yellow cake from Niger’ were. The war on terror is nothing more nor less than a witch hunt and that’s why such egregious human rights abuses have taken place in Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. According to Robert Rapley, author of ‘Witch Hunts: from Salem to Guantanamo Bay’ these are the hallmarks of a witch hunt:

1.Judge an accused person guilty before seeking evidence.
2.Apply whatever pressures are necessary on suspects including beatings and torture to extract confessions and obtain accusations against others.
3.Accept any incriminating evidence however dubious or vague.
4.Emphasize what you want to hear and ignore all evidence inconvenient to your theory.
5.Create or employ false evidence if necessary to convict.
6.Threaten anyone speaking in favour of a defendant as a suspected accessory.
7.Treat the accused as having no normal rights because he or she is dangerous.
8.Be prepared to accept secret accusations, to hide the accusations from the accused and to protect the identity of the accuser.
9.Search and expand the hunt for other witches, acolytes, supporters. Always assume that the witch is only the tip of the iceberg.
10.Justify and excuse all errors by appeals to National Security,the protection of society or The Good of the State.

Rapley also writes: ‘Fear was the prerequisite (for witchhunts). It still is. There are frightening parallels between the hunt for witches and the hunt for terrorists today…the most pronounced characteristic of a witch hunt is that the accused is automatically treated as guilty’.

We’ve been told that the plan for 9/11 came from bin Laden in Afghanistan yet according to the FBI not one of the hijackers was Afghan, they were Saudi and Pakistani. The director of the FBI has said that there is not one shred of evidence in their possession to link bin Laden with the 9/11 attacks. But he’s been accused, so he must be guilty. I say, where’s the proof that the United States had any reason whatsoever to invade Afghanistan? Where’s the justification for the attack on Iraq? Take away the manufactured intelligence, which is now known to have been manufactured, and there’s nothing. To pull out of Afghanistan would be to admit (a) that America has failed to defeat a third world enemy and (b) Afghanistan should never have been invaded in the first place and neither should Iraq.

But to pull out of Afghanistan, in particular, would be to admit that the war on terror was based on a hoax. You can see that would be kind of difficult for the Pentagon, just as admitting the hoax it pulled on the American people with Vietnam was difficult for them to admit. So difficult many of them still don’t admit it, to themselves or anyone else.

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By Folktruther, February 26, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

There is no way to win the war on Afghanistan-Palistan.  Obama is escalating it to avoid losing it until the next presidential election.  The same reason Johnson escalated the Vietnam war.  Losing Vietnam or Afghanistan would give the Gops an winning issue in the next election.  Because it would destroy US leadnership in Nato’s first non-European military engagement.

So the blood, money, opium, terror, etc is purely and simply for Obama to avoid losing the next election.  And to avoid a leadership defeat what megalomania stll refers to as the Superpower.  And the people of Europe and the world realize it and this realization is intensifying.  That is why Europe and the Ango-Saxon nations like Canada and Australia are LEAVING Afghanistan as US troops enter it.  It is a horriple no-win situation for everyone.
Which Obama is continuing.

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By PaulMagillSmith, February 26, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

How many people are aware that in 2001 the Taliban had caused the opium crop in Afghanistan to be reduced 96%, but following interference by the US the country now produces 92% of the world’s opium & heroin. In 2005, Tony Blair suggested legalizing production, buying the whole crop (since there is a serious shortage of pain killers in Africa), then getting farmers to gradually switch to other crops. Of course he got as far with that suggestion as someone in the US suggesting legalizing marijuana.

There is just too much money in this phoney corrupt “War On Drugs” to let either of those ideas get traction despite the sanity or logic.

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By AFriend, February 26, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
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jackpine savage,

You have the history of Afghanistan wrong. There were no Taliban during the Soviet occupation. The Taliban, which is indeed real, came later.—The United States never funded the Taliban.

It is not enough to write that the United States offered no evidence against bin Laden. It was never that simplistic.

According to Tony Blair, George Tenet, Sen. Bob Graham, Gen. Colin Powell and the Senate Select Intelligence Committee the Taliban offer to release bin Laden to a third party, if presented with evidence, was bogus. It was determined that the offer was a tactical measure that would have kept bin Laden and others protected inside Afghanistan for several years.

The United States, correctly in my view, made it clear there would be no negotiating over Usama bin Laden and a handful of others.

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By jackpine savage, February 26, 2009 at 6:08 am Link to this comment


Google, “Taliban offer bin Laden” and you’ll see that the “harboring” so necessary for your narrative is BS.  Bin Laden was offered on condition of the US producing some evidence; we didn’t even try…and note that 9/11 is still not on bin Laden’s FBI rap sheet.  That attack was planned in Hamburg and Florida, etc.  Should we invade Germany?

To all,

Stop saying “Taliban” like it means something.  It doesn’t.  There is no overarching group by that name.  Moreover, the original Taliban won the post Soviet civil war because we funded them more heavily than any other group.  Granted, we didn’t directly fund them…we funneled all that cash through Pakistan’s ISI who choose the Taliban.  Hekyamater and Massoud nearly had them whipped until the ISI stepped in and pushed all the funds towards the Taliban.

None of this can be figured out so long as nobody bothers to actually understand the realities of the situation.

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By bachu, February 26, 2009 at 2:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just pray to God that the US and it’s so called allies stay as long as it is possible in Afghanistan.  Only ignorance, ineptitude and irrational behavior can save mankind in the end. Look what happened to the empires that ended in the dust heap of history.

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By Marshall, February 26, 2009 at 1:39 am Link to this comment

The answer is simple, Mr. Pfaff.  If the US were to leave afghanistan, the taliban would reestablish party rule and the country would return to pre-9/11 status in a matter of time.  This poses a problem for us since they’ve shown a willingness to rent out their country to groups that have every intention of attacking the west.  I care little if the Afghan people choose sharia law or not - that’s their business.  i begin to care when the govt. in power becomes overtly hostile to western interests as it was during the decade leading to 2001.  There are multiple scenarios for how a taliban-ruled afghanistan can wreak havoc on the west; from engendering serious regional instability to direct hostility as we’ve already seen.  But what we’ve learned is that it’ll happen one way or another if nothing is done.  So the smart thing is to prevent it.

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By Richard Kane, February 25, 2009 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
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The author and commentators all think Obama is making small changes to US Afghan policy.  The link that follows complains that Obama is making too many changes, ie going along with Pakistan’s attempt to make peace with Taliban leaders who are willing to compromise, and in Somalia, willing to consider Sharif Ahmed a moderate while Bush called him a terrorist,

Clearly in my mind at least Obama is trying to isolate al Qaeda or even possibly the bin Laden wing of al Qaeda. 

There is a problem however, President Bush wanted to fight over there, happy to try to limit most of the war to Iraq rather than the US, and bin Laden wanted to limit the war away from Pakistan.  An attacked again under Bush, might have lead to US troops massing in Pakistan. 

Ominously, the more Obama isolates al Qaeda the more they have reason to attack the US again hoping to undo being isolated.  Remember before 9/11, most of the Muslim world had contempt for Taliban extremism, especially no music and no doctors for women, and now thanks to bin Laden getting many Muslims and many Americans hurt, far more Muslims are mad at the US instead. 

I see danger of an al Qaeda attack, just as the average American is giving up its fear of terror instead fearing mass depression.  However, bin Laden may see it his job to encourage mass currency collapse.

I hope people click on “Terror attack may be imminent” and spread it around,
The average American being caught by surprise again, is not a good idea.

Anyway, I would like to see Obama only demand that al Qaeda play by Prophet Mohammad’s rules, which is no attack on the innocent, or woman and children fighters.  Remember Joan of Arc was a Christian. Nothing similar is in Muslim history, or else put Spain in charge of trying to go in and arrest al Qaeda, then foreign troops under Spanish commend with the US making it clear that it would immediately send troops to Pakistan, if Spain is attacked again similar to the Madrid commuter bombing.  Also, as much as possible, challenge al Qaeda with words such as repeating Dr. Fadl’s statements and the statements of Muslim Spanish clerics at the anniversary of the Madrid bombings,

I wish Guantanamo was closed by now.  However, no sooner did Obama announce that he would do so, than al Qaeda announced that Jamal al Badawi was elevated to second in command in Yemen.  He was released to Yemen to serve a death sentence but escaped. However Israel and Saudi Arabia announced other terrorists who supposedly returned to their trade after being released.  Most who happened to be dead.  Obama is being set up for a terrorist attack that looks like it is his fault for releasing the future attacking terrorist.  Remember Saudi Arabia suggested that bin Laden picked Saudis for 9/11 out of the hundreds or dozen’s bin Laden could choose from in order to get the American people to dislike Saudi Arabians.  I hope Obama finds a way to stop giving al Qaeda the ammunition it wants for recruiting purposes, yet stops torture at the same time.  I think leveling with the American people of the real danger ahead would be a help. 

The bin Laden wing dreams of a warring Muslim class as long as the world remains religiously divided, and one Muslim Nation created through war.  If there was anything to compromise I would be for it.
Google RichardKaneaPA

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By ae calcuttawala, February 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
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By RichardKanePA, February 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to combine two stories.  The above, “A War Fought in Ignorance” and “Spain May Take Some Guantanamo Prisoners”,
To this I want to mix in some fantastic good news that was missed. President Bush decided not to fight piracy in Somalia after bin Laden threatened to send in suicide bombers. At first piracy soured, but then Italy and other countries took over and fought piracy in a way that didn’t convince many Muslims that the War Against Piracy was a disguised war against Muslims in general.

If the US decided to do nothing about the growing al Qaeda movement other counties would step up to the plate.  The world would not allow al Qaeda to inherit Pakistani Nukes without a big fight.  If Russia or China was in charge they would accidently convince more Muslims that the Muslim religion was the actually target than did the US.  But not Spain. 

Also individuals and small groups have been fighting or opposing al Qaeda terrorism, even though some are against admitting it like the Daniel Pearl Foundation.  Others like Queen Noor of Jordan stopped doing so in exchange for al Qaeda agreeing to leave Jordan alone.

Enclosed are some people who are challenging al Qaeda in the war for the hearts and minds. Dr. Fadl’s criticism of al Qaeda is extremely shill and pointed,

One thing that really gets me worried.  Because George Bush backed down and didn’t resist piracy, people didn’t counter that the piracy threat was just US propaganda.  Today in the US and Britain many are saying that the al Qaeda threat is just imaginary claiming the US attacked itself on 9/11 or Israel did.  People in the Middle East, Asia, and continental Europe know al Qaeda is a threat, If American critics had had a chance to claim that pirates are just CIA agents or rough CIA agents playing games, piracy would have been totally out of control by now.

There is a myth that terrorists strike when you show weakness, when actually Obama is pulling al Qaeda’s chain a lot more than Bush.  With Bush both preferred to fight in Iraq, for the US better than in the states, and for al Qaeda better than in Pakistan.  The punchline is that the more successful Obama is at cornering al Qaeda the greater danger of a huge domestic attack.  But now that the danger is real everyone in the US is relaxing about the terror threat.  Please see “Terror Threat may be Imminent” and, “Piracy being dealt with without the US getting bogged down . . .”,

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By Blackspeare, February 25, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Every country, no matter how civilized they believe themselves to be, needs an enemy.  Al Queda is OK, but an amorphous group with scattered and declining leadership.  On the other hand, the Taliban occupy part of Afghanistan and Pakistan and are moderately organized with a defined leadership——and they once ran a nation.

Also, every US presidents goal is to become a wartime president——Bush couldn’t wait.  Obama has more patience, but no less resolve.  Obama is looking at an Afghan/Pakistan campaign probably with India as more than a willing ally.

Wartime presidents are always famous and remembered no matter what.

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By Purple Girl, February 25, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

BS! Only One Reason- Afghanistan was a Red herring used to get the Oil Royals and their Corp henchmen’s foot in the Door. The goal was to invade Iraq, then Iran- Great lunching point. In reality Afghanistan was merely the college campus for the UAE native sons to continue their indoctrination.Teh majority of 9/11 attackers were Saudis.What does that tell you about Who is breeding these ‘terrorists’. Martydom runs rampant in their ideology- why is it so unconcieveable that theri martydom was to assure control over all ME oil for their royals.
9/11 was a scam, on US and those blind followers of Bin Laden. They thought it was a Holy calling, but was only a imperialistic calling.
“Hate US for Our Freedoms”, Then why not hit US were we display this ‘Freedom’- Statue of Liberty, Disneyworld , Mall of America? Instead they hit the MIC sites- Places of Power, Financial, Military and Policy.
I’m not a Conspiracy theorirst but when it looks like a duck…We spend One minute in Afghanistan and then rush into Iraq.Rattle Sabers at Iran.Bin laden Who?AQ Who?Add to that during the Oilmens reign in the WH our fuel prices skyrocket- Historical Windfall Profits for the Western Oil Corps, and their UAE ‘drug czars’.
We could have dropped a few bombs on the College Campus’ and left the remaining waste land of poppy fields- they aren’t the only suppliers of opiates in the world.
More Evidence is the fact that the Cold War rhetoric had gone stale, until just before Bush leaves office. Over What Oil pipelines.Not only is Oil rich in Profits so is War-Add to two together and you’ve won the pot!
Obama isn’t just trying to get US off the destructive Oil addiction, he’s working to destroy the Oil Cartels. Render their Product no more valueable than sludge and the entire Global Organized Crime Syndicate falls apart.Unfortunatley, He’s stuck with the Crystal the Oil Boys broke bullying their way through, so now We have to make it right. It’s gonna take time and finesse to fix the vile Oil mens Crime against Humanity. We don’t need to bomb the shit out of any ME country to rid ourselves of their Terrorist Faned ideology, We just have to pull the rug from under their Blood laden oily feet. Sand will be their only ‘valueable’ resource!And if we are able to generate our own renewable clean energy at home- the Energy ‘corps’ will be as Lucrative (and Powerful) as the Whale blubber dealers during the last century.Bend Over and Kiss Your Own Asses Good Bye!!!

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By Eso, February 25, 2009 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

“....America had to destroy “Islamo-fascism,” and the Taliban was the only radical Islamic fundamentalist group that Washington knew about. U.S. leadership was seriously unaware of the difficulties of invading other countries to stamp out objectionable forms of native religion….”

I have no objection to the use of the words “Islamo-fascism” if they are followed by the words “Christian-fascism”. On the other hand, I am not sure that naming either religion is necessary, because the wars on the Afghanistan front emerge from tbe force-field of Western geopolitical thought and strategy. Incidentally, Russia is heavily contaminated with a Western point of view, which takes stage there with the romanized Romanovs.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist ideology, neocons (east and west—U.S., Europe, Russia, China) appear to be the only ones with a claim to world leadership. This presumption still has to work itself out and prove to be so, and the opportunity for it has arrived with the collapse of the post-WW2 world order.

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By jackpine savage, February 25, 2009 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

Really, on a place called Truthdig we are willing to just say “Taliban” and run with it?

Which Taliban are you referring to, Mr. Pfaff?  Is it Omar’s Taliban, Haqqani’s Taliban, Mehsud’s Taliban, or local “Taliban”?

The first is the old-school, that really doesn’t even do much fighting anymore.  Haqqani is based in Pakistan but mostly fights in Afghanistan. Mehsud is in Pakistan too, but mostly operating in Pakistan.  And the local “Taliban” is really just whichever warlord is around who might have some sympathy to the Taliban (though we’d need to sort out which Taliban) but are basically just warlords.  And they all want different things.

I get it, just keep repeating the word Taliban and people will fall into line…even if it’s not exactly that “conquer the world of evil-doers” line from the Bush administration.

It raises mental images for Americans of 9/11 and the “good” war.  This was never about sending girls to school; the Soviets sent girls to school and we sent stingers to keep them out of school.

You’re telling us to question the official line by regurgitating it.  It shouldn’t be me who has to explain what “Taliban” really means (more nothing than something).

P.S. the “Taliban” situation is actually more complex than i described, but i don’t write posts for Truthdig.

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By Lawrence Oswald, February 25, 2009 at 5:33 am Link to this comment
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I am reminded of both “1984” where some enemy is necessary to unify the nation and also Pee Wee Herman who, after going over the handlebars of his beloved two wheeler, said, “I meant to do that.” No “mulligans” in foreign affairs without big embarrassment. How can we slip out the back door? I don’t know. The other NATO countries will “turn tail” and slither (not run) back home. Lucky them. We can’t do that. So we will continue to fight. We and the guilty and the innocent will continue to die. War itself is already failure. We will not “win”. No one will win.

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By elianita55, February 25, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

The United States should not underestimate the offense it has caused Pakistan by its attempts to project Pakistan as an extension of the issue of Afghanistan, as exemplified by the coining of the term ‘Afpak’.

By completing the dehypenation process and rehypenating Pakistan with another of its neighbors, by ostensibly shelving the Kashmir issue by removing it from special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke’s mandate, the U.S. is clearly pandering to India, who is keen to ensure that the militarization of Jammu and Kashmir will not be equated with what Israel is doing in Palestine.

For more on this:

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By prole, February 25, 2009 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

“In past columns, I have asked without success for an explanation of why the United States should be at war with the Taliban, a violent sectarian Muslim reform movement”  - and while you’re at it, you might also ask how a “violent, sectarian” movement can be a “reform” movement. You’ll never receive an answer to either question. Whoever holds power can pretty well do as they please without explaining much of anything to the rabble. Obama and his handlers bought the Oval Office fair and square and they ain’t hardly answerable to nobody no mo’. The U.S. rules the roost and their latest black (or half-black) potentate isn’t about to suffer any uppity natives. The same is true of the Taleban in their tiny sphere of suppression, what they say goes. And therein lies the rub. What’s the sense of havinng all that power, if you can’t use it, Anytime, anywhere. Badass Barack has to prove he’s got balls. Every American president has to flex his muscles as Commando-in-Chief by kicking around third-worlders and unflinchingly sheddinng innocent blood. And Horrible Hillary has to prove she has her own kind of balls too, in the deadly tradition of Kissinger and Condi,  So this is where irresistible force meets immovable object. Two lunatic governments, the U.S. and the Taleban, squaring off in another in an unending cavalcade of imperial turf wars. David vs. Goliath to see who calls the shots in that craggy corner of the world. Don’t be such a bore as to ask for a “coherant explanation”. You won’t find too many in all of recorded history. “The new American administration will deal” genocidally “with every government at peace with its neighbors, believing that peace” for pussies!

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By dmnalven, February 25, 2009 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
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“The Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden to the U.S. as a matter of honor”

Actually, Mr. Pfaff, the Taliban was willing to hand him over provided we could supply proof of his guilt for the attacks of 9/11,  . As a matter of fact, this is another promised “white paper” that the world still awaits.

And is it your intent to further rewrite history in the neo-con image by stating that we would remain hands off “unless there is further attack on the United States by any of them” in the absence of any evidence that the attacks of 9/11 were an act of a state?

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By Conrad Borovski, February 25, 2009 at 12:10 am Link to this comment
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It is very clear to me that the war in Afghanistan
will only get worse as long as the US and NATO try to “win” militarily. It may lead to a nuclear disaster
because it already involves two atomic powers, Pakistan and India, and the Taliban are made stronger by our disregard for human lives.

The fanatical Muslim forces (Mujahideen, jihadi - including the Taliban) were created by the US and Pakistan’s ISI with Saudi Arabian funding to oust the Soviets. When that was actually accomplished and some people expressed concern about the mess that had been made of the whole country, an American general exclaimed, “Our job was to get the goddam Russkis outta there, and, well, that’s what we did.”

Anyone can see now that our occupation of Afghanistan has been even less “popular”. Women were much better off under the Soviets, and far fewer civilians died by Russian arms! Since Obama is continuing Bush’s insane strategy, there will be no peace. We have failed to rebuild what had already been destroyed by the USSR, and we merely did more damage. Ironically, the Soviets were trying to eliminate the “Muslim threat” that we grossly reinforced!

Now the Swat Valley has now been handed over to sharia law thanks to the ISI and Pakistan’s “government”, and we’re still bombing civilians in northern Pakistan. The war is already LOST. We must withdraw all military as soon as possible. (To get the Russians out, the CIA even recruited fanatical young Algerians at the time, armed them, paid them and sent them to fight in Afghanistan. When they finally returned home, they started to shoot Algerians regarded to be “infidels”. Another civil war to our credit.)

As in Iraq before, European countries are no longer eager to get involved in this mess. We failed to help Afghanis to rebuild their infrastructure and did only more damage instead of negotiating a peace.
Condi’s prophecy of “a war without end” has come true and that is the suicidal trip we’re on…

It even seems to be too late to look for peaceful solutions where only violent hatred rules. But the hatred was started by the Bush-Cheney ignorance and their inability to use diplomacy which requires knowledge, patience, and the ability to persuade.

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By wildflower, February 24, 2009 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

As we know, there are known knowns.  .  . There are things we know we know.  .  . We also know, there are known unknowns. . . That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. . . But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know. [Donald Rumsfeld]

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By radson, February 24, 2009 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

Actually Bill were not at war against the Taliban or the Sectarian religious hardliners or the drug Barons for that matter .For instance if the US was really intent on stabilizing Afghanistan why are the border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan not sealed .Any military strategist would agree that the entry routes that maintain the influx of the opposing forces within the midst of the conquering forces would have to be secured before any rear areas could even be considered safe.It is very similar to a dam ,where the Pakistani border is the Dam ,but it is breached at several locations and the Taliban water flows and surrounds all
of the present Nato camps and isolates them -so to speak-.Every time a convoy or patrol moves it is swimming in a sea of uncertainty ,hence the constant demand for more air cover,especially from the Canadians.The big question is what is the proposed Obama surge going to accomplish ,are they going to be deployed to seal the Pakistani Afghan border ,if so ,how are they going to maintain their ground based supply routes which wind through Pakistan without the cooperation of the latter.Perhaps money is the answer since the ISI is so accustomed to receiving bribes ,which they convert to their own dubious machinations- when Nato supply convoys get ambushed inside Pakistani territory is that due to a lack of payment- . Since Kirgizstan has decided to close the US airbase , most likely due to Russian incentives
does that mean that the Ruskies are not really keen on having military supplies traversing their sphere of influence to combat the Taliban, although they did mention that non military convoys would be acceptable but
subject to negotiation.Perhaps a sort of Berlin airlift 1948 style is the answer ,but I doubt it ,much to costly even for Neocon supporters or the Secular Priests that you insist is a possible reason for this mess.Iran on the other hand is a realistic reason for this conundrum, it being the last domino in the Middle Eastern oil mess ,which refuses to fall and there exist many merchants of chaos that could profit immensely from war against the defiant Persians, the US, Russia and Israel along with other nations.But I do agree with you with regards that a peaceful resolution is the wiser choice and that there is more benefit for all through comprehensive negotiation where not only the parties involved prosper ,but the citizens also get their fare share.

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By cyrena, February 24, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

You nailed it with this Mr. Pfaff. So, now we know you had it figured out all along.

•  “The most important reason for the American war on the Taliban is that Washington under the Bush administration, and with the enthusiastic support of certain leaders of the neoconservative gang among the Washington think-tank intellectuals, had decided that America had to destroy what it named “Islamo-fascism,” and the Taliban were the only radical Islamic fundamentalist group they knew about. They were seriously unaware of the difficulties of invading other countries to stamp out objectionable forms of native religion.”

The key phrase here (I think) is that these think-tankers among the neocons had decided that we (America ) had to destroy what “IT” –NAMED- Islamo-fascism)  By the ‘it’, I’m presuming you mean the very think tanks and neocon intellectuals who came up with the whole ‘concept’ of Islamo-fascism to begin with.  Prior to 2000, the average American knew next to nothing or less about Islam, and sadly, we don’t know a whole lot more now, because this whole Islamo-fascism phenomena that was CREATED in order to promote Islamo-PHOBIA among the American public, and it has done exactly that among the non-intellectual bunch; even if the perpetrators of the fraud (Islamo-fascism) don’t believe it themselves, and it’s hard to know whether or not they actually do.

I listen to people like Dick Cheney (not even technically a neocon) and others like Richard Perle, and one could be convinced easily enough, that they actually DO FEAR this so-called threat. I simply find that impossible to believe. Nor do I believe that they would care a single whit about the forms of native religion or the fact that Afghans don’t allow their daughters to attend school, if they didn’t happen to be right where they are geographically located.

The establishment of a torture camp at Bragam AFB was among the very first things the Cheney Admin did upon attacking Afghanistan, capturing and torturing taxi drivers and sheep herders alike. It’s difficult – no impossible, for me to believe that all of those operations were pre-planned based on a fear of this created Islamo-fascism.

And, it’s NOT like the scholars didn’t weigh-in on these exact issues – all of them, but specifically in terms of the cultural and traditional identities of the population. They did the same in predicting what would come of the invasion of Iraq, based on the political and cultural dynamics of the region and the people in it. The former rogue regime would hear none of it; in my view because they already had their plans of attack/occupation long, long before,  and nothing would change that.

So indeed Obama has ‘inherited’ that, though I don’t know that it’s really a ‘grudge’ war as much as it has always been part of the neocon (PNAC) plan to control the access to resources of the Caspian Sea. The question is whether now President Obama has considered that far more hidden agenda as the reason for his predecessors war-mongering actions. We don’t know. (Or at least I don’t, though that isn’t intended to lower the collective bar for everyone else.)

Regardless, I’m with you on this:

•  “My own belief is that what is going on is folly. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India should be asked to a conference on regional stability, in which the U.S. puts on the table an offer of complete non-interference in the internal affairs, including the religious affairs, of any or all of these countries, unless there is further attack on the United States by any of them.”

So, hopefully you/us/whomever will find a way to convey this to a new President who is far more inclined to value the voice of academia and non-partisan intellectuals not associated with partisan think-tanks.

For whatever it’s worth, I’m on it.

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By marcus medler, February 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
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I second, I am annoyed as well. One does not ask why a baker is baking bread.  An Imperial army is all about conflict and staged power displays(intimidation). It is best to pick on weak fragmented states or people. I am doubtful that the new imperium will cut the military back to a defense force. I defy one to find a ten year period(from the colonial time) when the U.S military has not been engaged in a war of imperial enhancement, global commercial advantage or territorial expansion.

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By yours truly, February 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
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Isn’t it obvious by now that the our government pursues war so as to scare us into submission, as per Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine?”  Also to take over & exploit the world’s natural resources, of course, but had President Bush not lied to us about WMD, would the American people have bought into his Iraq War?  What’ll happen if we get together and stop our government from waging war?  For want of a way to paralyze us with fear, Empire falls, that’s what.  And then it’ll be up to us, the what sort of world.

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By Old Ed Of The Delta, February 24, 2009 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps in the American psyche lies a subliminal quest starting with the capture the Holy Land with the First Crusade of 1095-1099 and the attempted conversion of the inhabitants to that of Christianity. 

The weaponry used in this endeavor such as spears and swords has been replaced with modern arms. However, it appears that this subconscious kind of mind set is prevalent today in US foreign policy.

It is important that our military personnel know exactly why they are engaged in this conflict. This is where the caplins in our armed services can propagandize the need to shed our blood for our Commander In Chief in his objectives to keep American safe from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

I believe that we will be unable to change the fundamental mores of the Afghanistan culture. Tribal rulers run the outlaying villages and don’t hold democratic elections or send delegates to Kabul unless it is for bribes, arms and power. 

Any central government is ineffectual in the governance of these small islands of population. Where opium poppies being the the main cash crop for these hard scrabble farmers it will would be very hard or impossible to convert these folks to adopt to farming methods that need modern agriculture implements and farm the type of soil to raise food crops.

To be more realistic our current objectives are predicated on the recovery of the natural resources that lie below the surface of these Mid Eastern countries and the transportation of same for shipment to industrialized nations.

Our State Department is being disingenuous when they promulgate any reasons other than what our basic objectives are.

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By Big B, February 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment


I am glad to see that I am not the only one who still realizes that this situation in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan is simply the begining of the 21st century resource wars. We will begin with wars against shitty little countries like these, and in 10 to 20 years, with the oil running out and gas at 10 to 15 dollars a gallon, we will be at war with China, India, and Russia. But like the battle of the bulge, it will be big, loud, and short. For we will be out of gas, just like the Wermark.

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By omniadeo, February 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Once again Pfaff annoys, and then the annoyance grows from the limited, personal annoyance with him to the general, more universal annoyance with Truthout and most of the other “Progressive” sites.

Let’s examine these two annoyances:

1) The limited annoyance. Pfaff is apparently simply too dense to answer his own rhetorical questions and state the obvious: The “War” against the Taliban is simply an excuse to get into Afghanistan and then Pakistan as part of the general project to encircle Iran, contain Russia and China, and get our versions of the oil pipelines built rather than Russia’s. It has nothing to do with drugs or religious traditions. (Really, Mr. Pfaff, to mention the treatment of women under the Taliban and then fail to mention the numerous times and places in which we support these very traditions when it suits us, as in Soviet occupied Afganistan, as in Bosnia, as in our alliances with the Saudis and others. Shame.)

2) The more general anoyance. Mr. Pfaff, and the other writers who write in this vein, know all this and they know we know it, but they also know if they say it out loud they will be marginalized along with all of the rest of us who speak plainly about US imperial wars for land and resources. Mr.Pfaff and his colleagues will then be called “conspiracy theorists” and “the tin foil hat crowd,” and they will be writing like we do, in the comments section rather than with bylines on major sites. Therefore, they find these ways of introducing the arrows pointing to the obvious while coyly never mentioning the obvious.

Just spit it out, man. The whole thing is a fraud. The prime time news discussions of these issues are entertainment, propaganda and distraction. Your coy Roy routine is part of the problem.

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