Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Meanwhile, over in the "other disaster" known as Afghanistan

Front paged at ePluribus Media. Recommended at Booman Tribune

Remember way back in 2002 and 2003 when we were told that it was ok to take resources away from Afghanistan in order to go git Saddam NOW? That we could still hunt for Bin Laden, secure Afghanistan and breeze in and out of Iraq carrying flowers while the Iraqis dance around and sing kumbaya?

Remember in 2003 when Rumsfeld declared that the US ended major combat activity in Afghanistan? Or when he said that defending freedom of the press in Afghanistan was part of the American way?
Remember how the State Department declared back in 2002 and 2003 that the Afghan mission of destroying the Taliban was met, and the mission to stop Al Qaeda was succeeding? Or how that same Taliban met with the Bush administration numerous times before 9/11 to discuss matters such as oil pipelines throughout Afghanistan and the Middle East? And remember how that same Taliban actually reduced the opium drug trade out of Afghanistan to the lowest levels ever? Remember back in 2004 when Bush touted the progress of women's rights in Afghanistan?

Yeah, well, things aren't going so swimmingly lately over in the forgotten example of half-assed-invasion-turned disaster. Afghanistan - that country that, despite being ruled by a "regime" that, six months before it was partially invaded, was at the bargaining table for a potentially HUGE oil deal. The country whose leaders wouldn't turn over Bin Laden. Remember Bin Laden? The guy who we really should have been going after for all this time? The guy who is still out there (assuming he is still alive) despite being responsible for, oh, ALL the attacks on the US from 1998 through 9/11/01.

Afghanistan - the ugly stepchild of the "waronterrahTM". It certainly can be argued that the Afghanistan is the forgotten one that is actually in worse shape than before we invaded. While Iraq is the "misbehaving big brother who gets all of the attention", Afghanistan has quietly turned into a friggin disaster.

Take the most recent "initiative": Operation Mountain Thrust (which sounds like a twisted Republican version of "Brokeback Mountain"). Since the Taliban has been removed from power we now have to:

quietly carry out the largest military offensive in Afghanistan since U.S. troops invaded the country in 2001.

"The Taliban has made a comeback, and we have the next 90 days to crush them," said a senior U.S. military official.

The offensive, "Operation Mountain Thrust," involves almost 11,000 U.S. troops and is focused on four southern Afghanistan provinces.

How about the leader of the vanquished Taliban?

The Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, remains at large despite a $10 million reward offered by the United States. U.S. military officials believe he has established a safe haven in Pakistan, where U.S. soldiers cannot operate.

And since the country is stable and the Taliban is no longer? We should be ok with our 11,000 troops, right?


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, will increase the number of troops in Afghanistan from some nine-thousand-seven-hundred to more than fifteen-thousand.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force is expanding its area of operation to southern Afghanistan, where insurgents are most active.

How about that "free press" that Rumsfeld gloated about back in 2003? Well......not so good:

The war against the Taliban has gone badly these last months, but Afghanistan's national intelligence agency has devised a secret plan to reverse the tide of bad news.

In a coordinated action this week, the intelligence operatives drove up to TV stations and newspapers in muscular SUVs and dropped off an unsigned letter ordering journalists to report more favorable news about the government.

In particular, the letter said, they should avoid "materials which deteriorate people's morale and cause disappointment to them."

No word as to whether this letter was still on Bush Administration letterhead or if they just copied the language used by Dear Leader when Rove handed these letters out to ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN (they didn't have to worry about Faux)....

Of course, it isn't like there is much support for this by Bush puppet Karzai or the warlords:

Karzai's aides there denied that authorities were infringing on press freedom. Rather, "the government ... requested the local media organizations in Afghanistan to refrain from glorifying terrorism or giving terrorists a platform," their statement said.

The security directorate's letter also demands special protection for the feelings of the mujahedeen -- veterans of the 1980s guerrilla groups that fought Soviet occupation. Many mujahedeen leaders are reviled in Afghanistan for destroying the country in civil war after the Soviet withdrawal -- but they regained positions of power by providing the ground forces that helped the U.S.-led military coalition topple the Taliban in 2001.

Moving on to women's rights, an area that Bush touted as a great achievement, well a recent report indicates that violence and discrimination against women continues in Afghanistan. What are these freedoms that women enjoy so much of in Afghanistan? Freedoms such as forced marriage (38% of women), domestic violence (over 50% of women), forced prostitution, twice as many boys attending school than girls due to lack of security and overall gender discrimination.

I guess to Bush and the "pro-family values" crew, this would be considered freedom for women and rights for women.

How about that terrorism that the State Department release noted above talked about? Um, not so good....Yesterday saw six killed in a tanker truck explosion, not to mention the accidental shooting of three Afghani police by coalition troops. Not to say this was done on purpose, because I certainly don't think that it was, but this will quite possibly lead to a backlash given the highly volatile situation lately.

And the drug trade? Well, start with the fact that the opium trade in Afghanistan has increased significantly since 2002, and recently was the source of 80% of the world's opium. Now add to this week's report from Russia that indicates how bad the drug threat from Afghanistan is. That kinda works well with these 2002 Super Bowl ads put out by the Bush Adminstration:

In 2002 Super Bowl ads, the White House sent out the message that "drugs fund terrorists". Doug Wankel, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official, says the opium industry is "financing terrorism. It's financing subversive activities. It's financing warlordism... And if it's a threat to the government of Afghanistan, it's a direct threat to the national security interests of the United States."

Drug trade back? Check.
Suppression of women's rights? Check.
Increased terrorism? Check.
Resurgence of the Taliban? Check.
Threats to freedom of the press? Check.
Taliban leader still at large? Check.
Bin Laden still at large? Check.

Very impressive. And still a disaster, no matter how much it is buried in the news.


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