News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
RAWA News


 

 

 

Add RAWA RSS Feed to Feedreaders



 




 


RAWA Photo Gallery
From RAWA Photo Gallery
 


Help RAWA: Order from our wish list on Amazon.com

RAWA Channel on Youtube

Follow RAWA on Twitter

Join RAWA on Facebook


The New York Times, June 13, 2010

The Courage to Leave

The government of President Hamid Karzai is breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent — and widely unpopular to boot

By Bob Herbert

There is no good news coming out of the depressing and endless war in Afghanistan. There once was merit to our incursion there, but that was long ago. Now we’re just going through the tragic motions, flailing at this and that, with no real strategy or decent end in sight.

The U.S. doesn’t win wars anymore. We just funnel the stressed and underpaid troops in and out of the combat zones, while all the while showering taxpayer billions on the contractors and giant corporations that view the horrors of war as a heaven-sent bonanza. BP, as we’ve been told repeatedly recently, is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the wartime U.S. military.

A report by a non-profit organization which tracks American military spending says the total cost of the US military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has crossed $1 trillion.
The U.S. military has so far appropriated $747.3 billion for the Iraq operation and $299 billion for the campaign in Afghanistan. A bill for supplementary grants of $37 billion for both the wars, in addition to $136.8 billion allocated for the current financial year, is now pending with the Congress.
RTT News, Jun. 10, 2010

Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Monday but hardly anyone noticed. Far more concern is being expressed for the wildlife threatened by the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico than for the G.I.’s being blown up in the wilds of Afghanistan.

Early this year, we were told that at long last the tide had turned in Afghanistan, that the biggest offensive of the war by American, British and Afghan troops was under way in Marja, a town in Helmand Province in the southern part of the country. The goal, as outlined by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, our senior military commander in Afghanistan, was to rout the Taliban and install a splendid new government that would be responsive to the people and beloved by them.

That triumph would soon be followed by another military initiative in the much larger expanse of neighboring Kandahar Province. The Times’s Rod Nordland explained what was supposed to happen in a front-page article this week:

“The goal that American planners originally outlined — often in briefings in which reporters agreed not to quote officials by name — emphasized the importance of a military offensive devised to bring all of the populous and Taliban-dominated south under effective control by the end of this summer. That would leave another year to consolidate gains before President Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing combat troops.”

Forget about it. Commanders can’t even point to a clear-cut success in Marja. As for Kandahar, no one will even use the word “offensive” to describe the military operations there. The talk now is of moving ahead with civilian reconstruction projects, a “civilian surge,” as Mr. Nordland noted.

What’s happening in Afghanistan is not only tragic, it’s embarrassing. The American troops will fight, but the Afghan troops who are supposed to be their allies are a lost cause. The government of President Hamid Karzai is breathtakingly corrupt and incompetent — and widely unpopular to boot. And now, as The Times’s Dexter Filkins is reporting, the erratic Mr. Karzai seems to be giving up hope that the U.S. can prevail in the war and is making nice with the Taliban.

There is no overall game plan, no real strategy or coherent goals, to guide the fighting of U.S. forces. It’s just a mind-numbing, soul-chilling, body-destroying slog, month after month, year after pointless year. The 18-year-olds fighting (and, increasingly, dying) in Afghanistan now were just 9 or 10 when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked in 2001.

Americans have zoned out on this war. They don’t even want to think about it. They don’t want their taxes raised to pay for it, even as they say in poll after poll that they are worried about budget deficits. The vast majority do not want their sons or daughters anywhere near Afghanistan.

Why in the world should the small percentage of the population that has volunteered for military service shoulder the entire burden of this hapless, endless effort? The truth is that top American officials do not believe the war can be won but do not know how to end it. So we get gibberish about empowering the unempowerable Afghan forces and rebuilding a hopelessly corrupt and incompetent civil society.

Our government leaders keep mouthing platitudes about objectives that are not achievable, which is a form of deception that should be unacceptable in a free society.

In announcing, during a speech at West Point in December, that 30,000 additional troops would be sent to Afghanistan, President Obama said: “As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service.”

That clearly defined mission never materialized.

Ultimately, the public is at fault for this catastrophe in Afghanistan, where more than 1,000 G.I.’s have now lost their lives. If we don’t have the courage as a people to fight and share in the sacrifices when our nation is at war, if we’re unwilling to seriously think about the war and hold our leaders accountable for the way it is conducted, if we’re not even willing to pay for it, then we should at least have the courage to pull our valiant forces out of it.

Category: US-NATO, Corruption - Views: 5314


Related

10.06.2010: US Military Campaigns In Iraq And Afghanistan Cost More Than USD1 Trillion: Report
09.06.2010: Rule of the gun: Convoy Guards in Afghanistan Face an Inquiry
08.06.2010: Kucinich: ‘We may be funding our own killers in Afghanistan’
07.06.2010: Rule of the Gun: With U.S. Aid, Warlord Builds Afghan Empire
03.06.2010: Afghanistan police corruption is fuelling insurgency
29.05.2010: We’ve Always Been at War with Eastasia
28.05.2010: Afghans believe US is funding Taliban
27.05.2010: Amnesty International Report 2010 Draws Bleak Picture of Human Rights in Afghanistan
25.05.2010: A flawed strategy and a failed war in Afghanistan
24.05.2010: Want to know why we should get out of Afghanistan?
17.05.2010: Civilian Casualties Raise Afghan Ire at U.S.
14.05.2010: Victims of Afghan wars demand justice before peace
14.05.2010: Afghans protest against NATO, say 12 civilians killed
14.05.2010: America’s Continued Thirst for War
13.05.2010: US actors, intellectuals protest Obama “crimes”
10.05.2010: Afghan warlords feed on US contracts, say critics
10.05.2010: Corruption, incompetence charges plague new Afghan police force
09.05.2010: Canadians believe Afghan detainees tortured -- and disapprove: poll
06.05.2010: Losing Afghan hearts and minds
05.05.2010: Secret tape of Blackwater founder exposed
02.05.2010: Hidden Toll of US Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: ‘Surge’ in Military Suicides
02.05.2010: Afghan civilian deaths are rising, government says
30.04.2010: Pentagon Report: The Afghan Bus is in a Ditch
29.04.2010: US Military Escalates Its Dirty War In Afghanistan
23.04.2010: Killing of Five Afghan Civilians by US Troops Sparks Protest in Logar
22.04.2010: Afghanistan War ‘A Waste of Blood and Treasure’
22.04.2010: No friendly waves only hatred for British troops in Afghan town
19.04.2010: McCHRYSTAL LOST IN AFGHANISTAN, IS IGNORANCE THE REAL EXCUSE?
19.04.2010: Rising Anti-Westernism in Afghanistan
17.04.2010: Afghans blame troops and Taliban
16.04.2010: The end game in Afghanistan
05.04.2010: Wikileaks reveals video showing US air crew shooting down Iraqi civilians
30.03.2010: UN report: Afghans plagued by poverty, corruption

Latest

Most Viewed

Comments