Posted by: Tony Carson | 16 November, 2009

Taliban: US strawmen

Why is the Taliban perceived as a US enemy in Afghanistan? By all accounts they’re indistinguishable from the war lords in the north and no more corrupt than the government in Kabul.

And what have the Taliban done to the US? Nothing. They simply, and reasonable, want the occupying forces out of their country.

Yes, they were hardly an enlightened government when in power and they may well have unwisely succoured the tiny al Qaeda forces in their country. But once the US had pretty much dealt with Al Qaeda, why continue a fight to a domestic force that has been proven in history to be un-defeatable, as recently as the ten years before the US invasion? Ask the Russians.

The US is making a habit of declaring undeclared war against strawmen they neatly construct — pro-communist Vietnam, WMD-equipped Saddam and now, not the drug-running Afghan government, but some stone-age thugs who want their country back.

War, What Is It Good For? — the Springsteen, Elaine Bennis line was never a more salient question. What has the US gained from all this militant misery.

They even lost the Iraq oil-field development to the Chinese.

It must be the toys. If you spend $680 billion a year building the toys of war you’re going to want to use them. And it’s pretty easy to find a concocted excuse when you have a compliant media to cheerlead your aggression.

Not one of the contrived wars since Korea has has been justified.

And now there is talk of escalation.

There is a sickness running through the US body politic that is in urgent need of diagnosis. The symptoms are the propensity for reckless aggression — unrestrained bullying; the need to spend heavily on the tools of war, and call it defence; a tethered, pooch-like press anxious to raise the flag of patriotism; a population that can’t wait to offer sons and daughters to a war machine — a war machine that has no difficulty constructing a neat propaganda narrative about its target ‘enemy.’

Result? Civilians slaughtered, America’s best and brightest killed, treasure lost, a recklessly destabilized world, a broken domestic economy and, a few years on, if Vietnam is any example, new trading partners and fresh apologies.

Hard to make any sense of it.

Lest we forget, indeed.

Who cares?


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