Eric S. Margolis 17 December 2010

Truth is always war’s first victim. After nine years of war in Afghanistan, costing over $100 billion in taxpayer money, Americans still don’t know the full truth about this murky conflict.

They deserve the facts. Instead, more lying and obfuscation from Washington.

Three reports about Afghanistan emerged last week in Washington.

First, a political whitewash issued by the Obama White House claiming the war was going well and some US troops might be withdrawn next year. This ‘don’t worry be happy’ summary was trumpeted by the pro-war New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other members of the tame US media.

Second, the Red Cross issued a grim report showing that Afghans were suffering widespread malnutrition and serious health problems after nearly a decade of Western occupation. So much for US-led nation-building.

Third, there were leaks about a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the combined findings of all 16 US intelligence agencies. This key intelligence report is explosive and may not be fully revealed.

The NIE reportedly asserts that the $13 billion a month Afghan War is at best stalemated; at worse, Western occupation forces are on the defensive and their vulnerable supply lines increasingly threatened. Taliban is expanding its control, particularly in northern Afghanistan.

Claims by US generals that “progress” is being made in the war are false.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who was installed by CIA, put it bluntly last year, saying the US-led war was “ineffective apart from causing civilian casualties.”

The new NIE may also restate a 2007 report that found Iran had no nuclear weapons program. The pro-war party in Washington is desperately trying to prevent its release.

Frustrated American generals and politicians, facing a failing war and ruined careers, are blaming Pakistan for the war they cannot win.

There is zero concern in Washington for Pakistan’s national interests, wellbeing, or the explosive problems in its tribal areas. Washington wants Pakistan to follow orders, pure and simple. That’s why the US is paying Islamabad $2 billion per annum. Sepoys of the Raj are supposed to follow orders.

It’s amusing watching Washington blast poor old Hamid Karzai in Kabul for corruption while the US is furiously bribing many top officials and generals in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Not to mention collaborating with Afghanistan’s top heroin kingpins and communist war criminals. Pretty sordid stuff that will one day come out and cause a furor.

Last week came news that US air, land, and mercenary forces would penetrate ever deeper into Pakistan. WikiLeaks show that Pakistan’s feeble government is quietly backing deeper US military involvement and targeted killings of Pakistanis.

The Pentagon is gripped by the misconception that “safe havens” in Pakistan are fueling resistance to western occupation. During the Vietnam War, the Pentagon was similarly convinced that eradicating communist safe havens in Cambodia and Laos were the key to victory.

The so-called safe havens are really all part of Pashtun tribal homelands that were sundered by the British imperialists. Pashtun don’t recognize today’s Afghan-Pakistan artificial border.

By now, 50% of Americans oppose the Afghan War. President Barack Obama is under growing pressure from his Democratic Party to wind down the war. Republicans and right wingers, by contrast, want it continued – and further expanded into Pakistan.

Most Americans know less than nothing about Afghanistan or South Asia and have absolutely no comprehension of its complexities, size, or politics. The few that do, like experts in the State Department and CIA, are not listened to.

CIA, whose role is to supply the president with unbiased information, has become deeply politicized and biased. Thank President Ronald Reagan for this. The yes-men he installed at CIA told him and subsequent presidents what they wanted to hear.

This process culminated during the Bush administration when then CIA’s sycophantic Director, George Tenet, validated all the lies about Iraq to please the president and vice president – culminating in Tenet’s shameful ‘slam-dunk’ assurances that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

Today, CIA has become a participant in the Afghan War, with its own little army of mercenaries and renegades, and an air force of Predator and Reaper drones. The over-militarization of US foreign policy continues. What next? Will the Department of Agriculture get its own little army and air forces? Or a naval armada for Fisheries and Wildlife?

As a result, CIA’s reporting on the war has become seriously tainted by institutional bias and career concerns.

Wars are wonderful for career advancement. But you can’t fight a war and remain objective. As a result, Obama is getting a lot of bad information from people with axes to grind. To certainly is not listening to the people who know.

President Obama declared last week that the US would continue fighting al-Qaida in Afghanistan. He is not telling Americans the truth.

Instead, we got a ludicrous scare campaign from the Obama administration about nuclear threats to US cities that was as dishonest and shameless as the mushroom cloud alarms of the egregious Condoleeza Rice. President Obama’s advisors on Afghanistan should be hiding in their cellars, not us.

CIA director Leon Panetta recently said there were no more than 50 al-Qaida members in Afghanistan. What, then, are 150,000 US and NATO troops doing there?

The war’s brutality and destruction are growing. US forces around Kandahar are now blowing up or bulldozing houses, assassinating suspected Taliban sympathizers and using mass reprisals against the civilian population. Death squads are hard at work murdering any suspected of backing Taliban and opposing western occupation.

It’s all a repeat of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, even to giant security walls chopping up the landscape and the night raids.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is in something of a panic. How can a bunch of lightly-armed mountain tribesmen in turbans fighting only part-time battle the world’s most powerful armed forces to a standstill?

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2010

This post is in: International Politics

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