With Obama’s declaration that “Combat Activities” will cease in Afghanistan & 33,000 US troops will be leaving it’s yet again time to separate the media propaganda from the truth.
Last night’s BBC documentary “Afghanistan – War Without End?” showed many a half truth in discussing the “Great Game V.2.0”. Then again, what can we really expect from John Ware, one of the pro israeli journalists embedded within the BBC.
Already Obama is under pressure from the military industrial complex to keep the troop numbers high. Despite Obama’s approval ratings riding high after the “deading” of Osama Bin Laden, what are the real chances of him still being President in 2013? seeing US presidential elections are due next year. This of course comes from a man who said Guantanamo would be closed as part of his election campaign – four years later, we’re still waiting.
The entire premise of foreign troops, especially American troops leaving a country they have invaded is an entirely false one. The media maybe reporting it as that, but what’s being said is that “Combat Operations” will cease. Just like combat operations ended in Iraq years ago, hasn’t led to a drawdown of troop numbers, Afghanistan will be precisely the same. No one builds the world’s largest “embassy” compound to leave it behind. The Second World War ended in 1945, yet American bases remain in the countries they invaded, principally Germany & Japan.
Listening to Radio 4’s Today Show this morning was far more revelatory than a whole hour’s worth of BBC programming.
Simply listen to what Michael Semple, former Deputy to the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan and a key proponent of talking to the Taliban had to say on the subject:
I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve had to explain to people that western military theory is based primarily on Carl von Clausewitz’s teachings, what is taught in every single military academy is;
“War is not merely a political act, but also a political instrument, a continuation of political relations, a carrying out of the same by other means”
War is a conduit to achieve a political objective, if you have no political objective to achieve, or the remit is changed regularly as has been the case in Afghanistan, then you are in a perpetual state of war, a never ending war, that has no end game in sight.
While negotiating a settlement with the Taliban is probably the only option left to “The West”, it’s a bit hard to be taken seriously if you are talking peace, yet continue to kill the people you want to bring to the negotiating table.
The Afghan War Logs showed the true nature of the Afghan War, one that the media doesn’t report on.
As Simon Jenkins, writing in The Guardian pointed out recently, it is not democracy that keeps western nations at war, but armies and the interests now massed behind them. Eisenhower’s farewell message to America was a simple warning against the “disastrous rise of misplaced power” of a military-industrial complex with “unwarranted influence on government”.
A burgeoning defence establishment, backed by large corporate interests, would one day employ so many people as to corrupt the political system. (His original draft even referred to a “military-industrial-congressional complex”.) This lobby, said Eisenhower, could become so huge as to “endanger our liberties and democratic processes”.
I wonder what Eisenhower would make of today’s US, with a military grown from 3.5 million people to 5 million. The western nations face less of a threat to their integrity and security than ever in history, yet their defence industries cry for ever more money and ever more things to do. The cold war strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented.”
The war on terror fulfilled all Eisenhower’s fears, as America sank into a swamp of kidnapping, torture and imprisonment without trial.
The belligerent posture of the US and Britain towards the Muslim world has fostered antagonism and moderate threats in response. The bombing of extremist targets in Pakistan is an invitation for terrorists to attack us, and then a need for defence against such attack. A self fulfilling perpetual cycle of violence.
Meanwhile, the opportunity cost of appeasing the complex is astronomical.
Eisenhower remarked that “every gun that is made is a theft from those who hunger” – a bomber is two power stations and a hospital not built. Likewise, each Tomahawk Cameron drops on Tripoli destroys not just a Gaddafi bunker (are there any left?), but a hospital ward and a classroom in Britain.
As long as bullets are fired in war, there will be a company profiting from their sale, with the invention of the global war against terrorism, it provides a blank cheque opportunity for the defence industry – the military industrial complex – the scenery maybe variable – Iraq or Afghanistan – the money source remains the constant and the end result remains constant.