America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s (William Pfaff in Truthdig)

William Pfaff zet zich (ook) af tegen de uitbreiding van Westerse militaire bemoeienis in Af-Pak. Wat is het doel ervan? Wie zijn ‘de vijand(en) en wat willen zij bereiken? Vormt de Taliban werkelijk een gevaar voor het Westen? Allemaal vragen die, volgens Pfaff, niet (voldoende) zijn beantwoord terwijl we ons in een doel- en uitzichtloze strijd storten.
[ Ik ben het met hem eens, maar het valt op dat hij Al Qaida en diens terroristen trainingskampen, niet noemt. Hoofdreden voor de Westerse betrokkenheid is immers, om te voorkomen dat in Af-Pak terroristen worden opgeleid die ook in onze landen kunnen optreden. Daartegenover staat, het gevaar dat de Westerse bemoeienis juist leidt tot meer radicalisering onder moslims, ook in eigen land. Die afweging wordt m.i. te weinig gemaakt].

..George W. Bush’s war on terror was the front door, and Barack Obama now has gone through the waiting room door into what the Pentagon has prepared for him, our very own thirty years’ war: purposeless, neither winnable nor losable short of genocidal measures—or, as in the 17th century, by laying waste the lands and ruining nations…

America’s Long War began with the destruction of two skyscrapers—temples of American commerce, as their Arab attackers identified them, plus an attack on the Pentagon, the closest the United States has to a temple honoring war.

The cause was intrinsically unimportant to anyone except the attackers and victims.

The former were “punishing” the United States for building “enduring” military bases in Saudi Arabia, the sacred land of Muslim prophesy, and punishing the Saud dynasty for having permitted this sacrilege.

Only a few score, nearly all of them Saudi Arabians, were active in the attack, and the fatal casualties numbered some 3,000, a holiday weekend traffic toll.

As in the 17th century, one thing led to another, much of it having nothing directly to do with the attacks. Afghanistan was attacked, bombed, its government overthrown. Iraq was invaded because the Bush-Cheney government had a long-standing interest in controlling Iraqi oil and because the neoconservatives wished to destroy the Arab state thought most likely to threaten Israel.

The Taliban returned to Afghanistan while Washington’s attention was on Iraq. European NATO became involved for no better reason than that the United States told it to do so.

This brought terrorist outrages in London and Madrid, as well as an attempt in Scotland, by disgruntled Muslim immigrants or students at Western universities. The United States remained untouched.

The extension of the war into southern Afghanistan and Pakistan means tripled economic aid to Pakistan during the next five years, augmented military aid, U.S. military expenditures and the costs (actually increasing) of Iraq withdrawal (if it does take place), and as many as six new U.S. bases in southern Afghanistan, plus the enlarged Army and Marine Corps President Obama has promised. This adds to the commitment of funds made in the past six months to the cost of remaking the international economy.

I can add nothing to the financial estimations for Barack Obama’s new war. I can only plead for an answer as to what it is for? Can anyone really believe that the United States and the NATO countries of Europe are in danger from the Taliban in Afghanistan?

If the people and government of Afghanistan are incapable of defending themselves against their own Taliban nationalists and religious extremists, as after the first American intervention in 2001, surely that is their problem.

The Afghan people have run off everybody else who tried to conquer them during the past two and a half thousand years, and it has not led to Afghanistan’s domination of the world.

What if the Taliban convert all the other Muslims in the world to Islamic fundamentalism? What difference would it make to Barack Obama?

Are North and South Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and all the non-Muslim people of the world going to be overrun by bearded Taliban counter-Crusaders on motorbikes?

Suppose they stole a nuclear bomb? So what? There have been thousands of nuclear weapons around for more than half a century and nothing has happened; and suppose they did shoot one off? Everyone else is going to take a look at the consequences and be very impressed—just as last time.

The consequences of expanding this meaningless war will not be Taliban nuclear conquest of the world but, as in the case of the Thirty Years’ War, involvement of one group or country after another for goals of their own, having nothing to do with the governments or the issues that started it all. The only thing that will stop this before it gets worse is simply to stop, or go bankrupt.

America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s (William Pfaff in Truthdig)

‘Aanpak Afghanistan moet ouderwets vastberaden zijn’ (Commentaar de Volkskrant)


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