KATHY KELLY, [email]
Just back from Afghanistan, Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She said today: “Obama is a ‘hawkish’ president who likes to sound ‘dovish.’ He spoke of ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and yet the Pentagon has already told the Afghan government that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan till 2024 and beyond. The Pentagon plans to keep U.S. Special Operations troops in Afghanistan. Just outside of Kabul, the former Blackwater firm, now called ‘Academi,’ is building a 10-acre base, ‘Camp Integrity,’ that will be used to train Special Forces for night raids, drone attacks and aerial bombardments.
“In Afghanistan, on Tuesday evening, February 12, at 10:00 p.m. U.S./NATO forces bombed two homes in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, claiming to attack Taliban forces. According to the Washington Post, nine civilians were killed.
“The Taliban has already responded to announcements about troop withdrawals, saying that troop levels don’t matter — they will continue fighting until the foreign troops leave. Continued U.S. military and security contractor fighting in Afghanistan will prolong the Taliban justification for fighting. The war will continue, and President Obama will force President Karzai to agree to immunity for all U.S. troops in Afghanistan, no matter what crimes they commit.
“U.S. war and development aid have not improved life for the majority of Afghans. The most recent U.S. ‘SIGAR’ [Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction] report said that the U.S. development aid to Afghanistan is now approaching a sum of $100 billion. Yet close to a million Afghans under five are acutely malnourished, according to a UN-backed survey.
“Mainstream media has begun to question ‘drones’ and the ‘kill list’ — U.S. citizens should healthily question everything they have presumed to be ‘acceptable’ — for example, they should question the acceptability of ‘immunity’ for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.”
NORMAN SOLOMON, [email]
Available for a limited number of interviews, founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of War Made Easy, Solomon just wrote the piece “What Obama Said — and What He Meant — About Climate Change, War and Civil Liberties,” which critiques Obama’s statements (in bold):
“After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.”
How’s that for an applause line? Don’t pay too much attention to the fine print. I’m planning to have 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan a year from now, and they won’t get out of there before the end of 2014. And did you notice the phrase “in uniform”? We’ve got plenty of out-of-uniform military contractors in Afghanistan now, and you can expect that to continue for a long time.
“And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”
If you believe that, you’re the kind of sucker I appreciate — unless you think “our war in Afghanistan” doesn’t include killing people with drones and cruise missiles.
“Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We’re negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.”
We’re so pleased to help Afghan people kill other Afghan people! Our government’s expertise in such matters includes superb reconnaissance and some thrilling weaponry, which we’ll keep providing to the Kabul regime. And don’t you love the word “counterterrorism”? It sounds so much better than: “using the latest high-tech weapons to go after people on our ‘kill lists’ and unfortunately take the lives of a lot of other people who happen to be around, including children, thus violating international law, traumatizing large portions of the population and inflicting horrors on people in ways we would never tolerate ourselves.”
Last week, Solomon debated Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, on “Democracy Now!” Solomon wrote the piece “Washington’s War-Makers Aren’t ‘in a Bubble,’ They’re in a Bunker” based on the debate.