Moral Outrage
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Afghanistan War without purpose

No one seems to be able to articulate why we are in Afghanistan.

Is it to hunt down bin Laden and al-Qaeda? Is it to consolidate progress? Have we declared war on the Taliban? Are we building democracy? Are we fighting terrorists there so we do not have to fight them here? Are we “liberating” the women of Afghanistan?

The absurdity of the questions, used as thought-terminating clichés, exposes the absurdity of the war.

The cost of the Afghanistan war is rising. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded. July has been the deadliest month in the war for NATO combatants, with at least 50 troops, including 26 Americans, killed.

Roadside bomb attacks are swelling the number of wounded and killed. In June, the tally of incidents involving roadside bombs hit 736, a record for the fourth straight month. (361 in March, to 407 in April, to 465 in May.)

The decision by President Barack Obama to send 21,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan has increased our presence to 57,000 American troops. The total is expected to rise to at least 68,000 by the end of 2009. It will only mean more death, expanded fighting and greater futility.

Al-Qaeda could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We can bomb Afghan villages, hunt the Taliban in Helmand province, build a 100,000-strong client Afghan army, stand by passively as Afghan warlords execute hundreds, maybe thousands, of Taliban prisoners, build huge, elaborate military bases and send drones to drop bombs on Pakistan. It will make no difference.

We have stumbled into a confusing mix of armed groups that include criminal gangs, drug traffickers, Pashtun and Tajik militias, kidnapping rings, death squads and mercenaries. The terrible algebra of military occupation and violence is always counterproductive to this kind of battle. It always creates more insurgents than it kills.

[Columnist Chris Hedges writing in Truthdig.com]

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2 Responses to “Afghanistan War without purpose”

  1. Update: With 4 American service personnel just killed by a roadside bomb, that brings the number of Americans killed this month to 30: the deadliest month for the U.S. since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion drove the Taliban from power.

  2. […] warriors are fighting without getting in harm’s way, using drones to attack targets in Afghanistan and […]


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