Friday, February 19, 2010

The Afghanistan Story

On November 5, I posted this article as part of Blog Blast for Peace.  I am reposting it today, because they are featuring this article as I learned in the following email:
I wish the world could recognize today the sound of all our voices - crying for peace.
I applaud your entry for BlogBlast For Peace on November 5, 2009. I learned and was reminded of a great deal in this post. I am just now getting around to all the entries....reading them carefully.
One thing is certain: Bloggers and journalists in 50 countries have spoken in record numbers and continue to speak.
When will they listen?
You are #1640 in the official peace globe gallery found here.
http://blogblastforpeace.com/
It will post February 19, 2010 and will be linked back to this post.
Welcome to the peace globe movement. I am reminded to keep going and let the people speak.
You spoke eloquently.
I appreciate your time and effort, Tomcat.
Mimi Lenox
Thank you, Mimi.  Contributing my small part was an honor.
Before I begini5J, I wish to give credit to a rather remarkable woman on Facebook named Mimi Lenox.   She started a Facebook “cause” which has become quite successful, Blog Blast for Peace.  It is an annual event every November 5, and this article is my contribution to that cause.
Before long, President Barack Obama will have to commit himself on a way to proceed in the Afghanistan War.  It struck me that most Americans know little or nothing about that nation, because that’s not how the MSM covers news.  Most major networks cover only the sensational.  The one that does try to do a small amount of education does so only because they are the propaganda arm of the Republican party.  Education based on lies is not helpful.  So to assist you, here’s my take on the subject.
Afghanistan occupies an area between the middle east and the Indian sub continent.  It is peopled by at least a dozen separate ethnic groups including Baluch, Chahar Aimak, Turkmen, Hazara, Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Nuristani, Arab, Kirghiz, Pashai and Persian.  The Pashtun are the largest and represent about half the population.  The Tajik represent about one fourth of the population.  While there are small religious communities from other faiths, Islam is the country’s principle religion, brought there by Arabs in the eighth and ninth centuries.  Before that, Afghanistan was often occupied but seldom ruled by the Persians, Greeks, and Sassanians.  The Mongols ruled there from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries.  Next Afghanistan was caught between two warring empires, the Mughal of India and the Safavid of Iran.  Both concentrated on destroying the region’s population and resources to deny it to each other.
In 1747, Ahmad Shah, a Pashtun, unified and expanded the country well beyond it’s present borders.  After his death Afghanistan entered a period of civil war.  In the nineteenth century, Afghanistan became a bone of contention between the British Empire and Czarist Russia.  It became a British protectorate until 1919.  Following the Russian Revolution, Afghanistan revolted with Soviet help.  Britain agreed to Afghanistan's independence, but secretly organized a coup by King Zahir Shaw.  He ruled as a complete dictator until ke was overthrown in 1973 by family members who declared a Republic.  Dahoud became President, supported by the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a pro Moscow party.  The PDPA overthrew Dahoud in 1978.  Moscow, not pleased with the progress of “reforms”.  They invaded in 1979 and turned the government over to Karmal.
Following the Soviet invasion, the USA provided aid and weapons to the Mujahedeen.  The CIA, under Reagan and the GOP,  paid $30 million to Osama bin Laden to organize a network of terrorists and unleash them against the USSR.  In 1989 the Soviets withdrew.  The US had a perfect opportunity to help build the nation and use the goodwill we had developed.  But with the Soviets gone, GHW Bush and the GOP had no interest.  The country remained in a state of chaos until the ISI, Pakistani Intelligence, aided a new religious group, the Taliban, who stabilized the country over the next ten years.  In the meantime, Osama bin Laden had turned against the US, because he objected to US forces being stationed in his Saudi homeland during and after the First Gulf War.
afghanistan_pipeline_map To the north, a vast reserve of natural gas was discovered in Turkmenistan.  Allowed to develop without interference, it would become part of the Russian Gazprom network.  But Big Energy in the US had other ideas.  Unocal planned a pipeline between the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan and Karachi in Pakistan on the Gulf of Oman, cutting Russia out of the loop.  The route ran across Afghanistan, right through the enclave being used by bin Laden for his training camps.  So Unocal, backed by the Carlisle Group, a hedge fund whose most active participants are the Saudi Royal family and the Bush family, for the Taliban to agree to an election, to give the Taliban an aura of legitimacy, and a deal to build the pipeline.  The Taliban would not agree to an election.  Women’s rights groups got wind of the negotiations and objected in support of Afghan women and Clinton refused to invade as Unocal requested, so Unocal backed off and began negotiations with the Northern Alliance.  In 2,000 the pipeline was back on the table, because a stolen election in the US put the GOP back in power under GW Bush.  He threatened the Taliban to either turn over bin Laden or face military consequences.  Bin Laden launched his own preemptive strike to hit the US before we could get him.  That strike was the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon on 9/11/2001.  The rest is history.  The US invaded Afghanistan and installed a Unocal employee, Hamid Karzai to head our puppet government there.
Had we started nation building at that time, we still had an opportunity to stabilize Afghanistan, but GW “Chicken Hawk” Bush, Dick “5 deferment” Cheney, and Donald “I got Saddam his first chemical weapons” Rumsfeld were focused on attacking Iraq, in a failed attempt to control their oil and establish permanent military bases there.
In the meantime, Afghanistan has divided into two camps: a small, thoroughly corrupt, urban elite that controls the large cities and a much more populous, decentralized rural majority that hates the elite minority and the foreign powers whose backing keeps that minority in power.
So this is the mess Obama inherited.  The Afghan people have good cause to distrust foreigners, developed over centuries, and thanks to GOP duplicity from three different administrations, they have ample cause to hate Americans.  As much as I would love to see Afghanistan brought into the 21st Century, and Afghan women given the human rights they deserve, our troops are the wrong nationality in the wrong place at the wrong time to accomplish that goal.
Unfortunately, we have commitments with several allies to be there, so we cannot arbitrarily withdraw and leave them holding the bag, but the time has come to negotiate a withdrawal with those allies and work with the UN to alter the mandate backing our presence there.  Our men and women in uniform are far too precious to spend their blood on a war that we will not win.

20 comments:

Julie said...

Have a peaceful day reading peaceful things!

john said...

The NATO Secretary General said something about this on his blog:
http://andersfogh.info/2009/10/21/an-important-moment-for-afghanistan/ and about what should happen next http://andersfogh.info/2009/11/04/afghanistan-whats-next/

Bond said...

Thank you for participating in the BlogBlast For PEACE!


It is a very volatile situation and we need to make a decision on our actions


VinnyBond

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

TC! This is an excellent blog entry!
An education!
... the kind that informs and provides a foundation to understand Afghanistan and pointing to what kind of political reconciliation might be loom.

TY for the heads up on Blog Blast for Peace.

Holte Ender said...

Afghanistan is not known as "The Graveyard Of Empires" for nothing. The tribes almost seem to enjoy a good scrap against foreign powers, it has become part of their culture over the centuries. Although the terrain is desert and mountains the whole place is a swamp for invading armies.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

As an independent, I marvel at the way parties blame. People see one as supreme over the other and support whatever they do. The key is the opiate gold mine found there, and the corruption it causes. Time to get out

TomCat said...

Welcome, Julie and thank you. Same to you, and I hope you return!

Welcome John. It took a lot of bribery for Bush and his cronies to get NATO into this. I think getting them out will require considerably less coaxing.

Welcome Bond. You're most welcome. I consider the opportunity an honor.

You're welcome, Gwen, and thank you. Were I not I'll, I could have done a better job. Except for fact checking a couple names and dates, this is just something I rattled off.

Holte, an excellent observation that we should heed carefully.

TomCat said...

Welcome, Speedcat. I was replying while you were commenting. If you stiuck around, you'll find that I'm just as critical of my own party as I am of the Republicans. If Obama chooses to escalate, you will get to see an example of that.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

AWESOME Tomcat

I once was a one party voter, but the classic Rep vs Dem is now completely changed. It is time to evolve as educated thinkers, as I do not believe either party is looking out for the people. We are being brainwashed. FIND THE TRUTH !!

Peace from Eric "SpeedyCat"

Nice to meet you sir :-)

TomCat said...

Nice to meet you, Sir, as well. I was an Independent until Bush stole the 2,000 election. I think that I can have more influence as a Democrat that I could as an Independent. I see our national politics as a two step problem: Get rid of all the Republican alligators. Drain the Democratic swamp.

Cats rule!

RealityZone said...

SPEED CAT; I am probably more radical on this than you are. my talking point is[ THEY SELECT, SO WE MAY ELECT]. The American people have been bamboozled thinking there is a difference. Until we get a tax-payer funded election with independents running. Our system will stay broken. Choosing the lesser of two evils does not make a right. Obama was [ THE CHOSEN ONE] by [TPTB] the powers that be. Their agenda, not ours, continues.

Lisa G. said...

Thank you TC for that excellent education. That's why I love coming here - I learn something new every day. Feel better soon!

TRUTH 101 said...

I sincerely hope you are able to have some influence as a Democrat Tomcat.

I spent years as an active party supporter and all I have now is a small blog and a party that I don't think cares about mine and the other working families of America. They've become corporate shills just as the republicans always have been.

Don't want to bore with details.

Great post. Exiting both Iraq and Afghanistan will take time and patience. I hope exiting is the main goal. Not more troops with no end in sight.

TomCat said...

RZ, you're so radical you make Che seem like a Tea Bagger. ;-) I do agree with your proposed solution, however. Until we get the money out of elections, we'll have the best government money has bought.

Thank you, Lisa. That is most kind of you.

Thanks Truth. For the most part, my Rep and Senators (all Dem) represent my wishes, although they are outvoted more often than not. As long as they do so they will have my support. Their aides recognize the sound of my voice.

Mimi Lenox said...

I wish the world could recognize today the sound of all our voices - crying for peace.

I applaud your entry for BlogBlast For Peace on November 5, 2009. I learned and was reminded of a great deal in this post. I am just now getting around to all the entries....reading them carefully.
One thing is certain: Bloggers and journalists in 50 countries have spoken in record numbers and continue to speak.

When will they listen?

You are #1640 in the official peace globe gallery found here.
http://blogblastforpeace.com
It will post February 19, 2010 and will be linked back to this post.

Welcome to the peace globe movement. I am reminded to keep going and let the people speak.

You spoke eloquently.

I appreciate your time and effort, Tomcat.

Mimi Lenox

TomCat said...

Mimi, thank you so much. I'm swamped at the moment, but wull by bye in a couple days to see other entries.

the walking man said...

It, every war, everywhere always boils down to resources that the smalls have and the bigs want. People do not matter to an entity, only resources do. A corporation cares little for human rights, women's suffrage, or anything else made of flesh and bone because war is good for all sectors of economy that supply it and that is good for the faceless name on a building the men hide behind.

You already know what button I would have pushed in the days following 9/11 but even that is a moot point now.

2000 years of continuous turmoil has made the Afghan people a curious and unique genus upon the planet. They will know peace when they take their government for themselves and they will join the global effort when they stop shipping poppies all over the planet and start to farm and build for themselves their vision of a unified Afghanistan without ANY outside influences or corporations trying to rape them.

ivan said...

Why aren't they getting it, maybe even President Obama, who has just set up a committee to deal with the deficit.

The two wars are bleeding America dry.

Get up on the rooftop with your hirelings. Bring in the helicopters. Get the flock out.
Like yesterday.
I need a million dollars for this consultation?

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Great post, TomCat!

Congrats on some recognition. I can see you put quite a bit of work into this - some recognition helps make it worth the effort doesn't it? :)

TomCat said...

Mark, your button aside, I fully agree.

I don't know Ivan. He has a bunch ob bad advisors, and I think he fears the right wing reaction if he withdraws.

Thanks, Bee. In truth, recognition from regulars is morte meaningful. :-)