[Note for WoP readers: As the resistance in Afghanistan grows up day be day [About a few days back, CNN in its headline news informed viewers that the current month so far has been the deadliest in Afghanistan. More number of US and British soldiers have died in Helmand province and elsewhere than in Iraq.
It appears Washington’s policy makers are shifting the burden of their setbacks in Afghanistan to Pakistan. Consequently drone attacks in Pakistani borderlands have been intensified as well. First were the reapers. Predators were primarily used in Afghanistan only but now these deadly machines are also in operation in Pakistan as well.
One can though give some element of doubt to US policy makers of “droning” Pakistani borderlands but who knows these assassins in the air bomb the hardcore militants or common civilians. In our last post some estimates on civilian vs. militants’ causalities were provided. A simple glance shows the number of civilian deaths far exceeds the number of militants.
It is understandable to some extent as the US officials themselves admit they gather the data on whereabouts of militants or the Al-Qaedists as they say is either based on media inputs or the common populace in the area. In both cases the wisdom of such a policy can be judged as nothing but fallacy.
The stark naked fact which people sitting in the glass houses of Washington D.C. are unable to understand these attacks are turning more and more youth not only in the FATA regions but also in the hitherto neutral or anti militants – anti-Taliban (the Pakistani brand) areas of Pakistan as well. According to recent reports, in the southern Punjab too, many youth have joined the ranks of militant groups, some of whom have also reportedly been involved in the suicide bombing attacks at Manawan Police Training Centre and a Rescue Centre in Lahore.
Question arises whom do these drone attacks benefit and till when? Does the US president want to bomb every home, every city to flush out terrorists?
If the State Department is banking upon the views held by a totally incompetent, impotent and an imbecile bunch of Pakitani nincompoops in Washington and Islamabad, then it is high time they revise their policy for they are falling into the same paranoia which the previous US administrations had in the Korean and Vietnamese wars. US is bound to loose this war as it lost the previous two wars. Interestingly, in the post WWII era, the only war it won was against the Soviets which it did with an active and solitary participation of the very people it is bombing now day and bight.
Tragedy of this whole scenario is that in the name of terrorism, so many lives will be lost, of Pakistanis, Afghans and the US, British and other nations’. Soldiers will be killed for a war which has no end.
At the end of my note, a few words from Chris Hedges (follows next) and Eric Margolis (following post):-
So says Chris Hedges: we’re in a quagmire in Afghanistan, and that we are, by meeting violence with violence, creating more problems for ourselves than we are solving:
India, not Afghanistan, is Pakistan’s primary concern. Pakistan, no matter how many billions we give to it, will always nurture and protect the Taliban, which it knows is going to inherit Afghanistan. And the government’s well-publicized battle with the Taliban in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, rather than a new beginning, is part of a choreographed charade that does nothing to break the unholy alliance.
The only way to defeat terrorist groups is to isolate them within their own societies. This requires wooing the population away from radicals. It is a political, economic and cultural war. The terrible algebra of military occupation and violence is always counterproductive to this kind of battle. It always creates more insurgents than it kills. It always legitimizes terrorism. And while we squander resources and lives, the real enemy, al-Qaida, has moved on to build networks in Indonesia, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Morocco and depressed Muslim communities such as those in France’s Lyon and London’s Brixton area. There is no shortage of backwaters and broken patches of the Earth where al-Qaida can hide and operate. It does not need Afghanistan, and neither do we.
And Eric Margolis ends his finest piece on the subject as do I:
Dropping 2,000-pound bombs on apartment buildings in Gaza or Predator raids on Pakistan’s tribal territory are as much murder as exploding car bombs or suicide bombers. Nayyar]…
The U.S. has been trying to kill al-Qaida personnel (real and imagined) since the Clinton administration. These efforts continue under President Barack Obama. Claims by Congress it was never informed are hogwash.
by Eric Margolis
CIA director Leon Panetta just told Congress he cancelled a secret operation to assassinate al-Qaida leaders. The CIA campaign, authorized in 2001, had not yet become operational, claimed Panetta.
I respect Panetta, but his claim is humbug. The U.S. has been trying to kill al-Qaida personnel (real and imagined) since the Clinton administration. These efforts continue under President Barack Obama. Claims by Congress it was never informed are hogwash.
The CIA and Pentagon have been in the assassination business since the early 1950s, using American hit teams or third parties. For example, a CIA-organized attempt to assassinate Lebanon’s leading Shia cleric, Muhammad Fadlallah, using a truck bomb, failed, but killed 83 civilians and wounded 240.
In 1975, I was approached to join the Church Committee of the U.S. Congress investigating CIA’s attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem, and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Add to America’s hit list Saddam Hussein, Afghanistan’s Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Indonesia’s Sukarno, Chile’s Marxist leaders and, very likely, Yasser Arafat.
Libya’s Moammar Qadhafi led me by the hand through the ruins of his private quarters, showing me where a 2,000-pound U.S. bomb hit his bedroom, killing his infant daughter. Most Pakistanis believe, rightly or wrongly, the U.S. played a role in the assassination of President Zia ul-Haq.
To quote Josef Stalin’s favourite saying, “No man. No problem.”
Assassination was outlawed in the U.S. in 1976, but that did not stop attempts by its last three administrations to emulate Israel’s Mossad in the “targeted killing” of enemies. The George W. Bush administration, and now the Obama White House, sidestepped American law by saying the U.S. was at war, and thus legally killing “enemy combatants.” But Congress never declared war.
Washington is buzzing about a secret death squad run by Dick Cheney when he was vice-president and his protege, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. This gung-ho general led the Pentagon’s super secret Special Operations Command, which has become a major rival to the CIA in the business of “wet affairs” (as the KGB used to call assassinations) and covert raids.
Democrats are all over Cheney on the death squad issue, as are some Republicans — in order to shield Bush. But the orders likely came from Bush, who bears ultimate responsibility.
Americans are now being deluged by sordid scandals from the Bush years about torture, kidnapping, brutal secret prisons, brainwashing, mass surveillance of American’s phones, e-mail, and banking.
In 2001, as this column previously reported, U.S. Special Forces oversaw the murder at Dasht-e-Leili, Afghanistan, of thousands of captured Taliban fighters by Uzbek forces of the Communist warlord, Rashid Dostum.
CIA was paying Dostum, a notorious war criminal from the 1980s, millions to fight Taliban. Dostum is poised to become vice-president of the U.S.-installed government of President Hamid Karzai. Bush hushed up this major war crime.
[Bush Cheney duo doled out millions of dollars to Gen. Dostum (right) a former commander of the Soviets backed regimes in Afganistan, a warlord and war criminal, who should have been put to trial for he is the man who slaughtered thousands of Afghan resistance units during the anti-soviet liberation war in Afghanistan. Instead Cheney transferred millions to him in lieu of his assisting the CIA to get the former key elements of Mujahideen and later the Talibans.]
America is hardly alone in trying to rub out enemies or those who thwart its designs. Britain’s MI-6 and France’s SDECE were notorious for sending out assassins. The late chief of SDECE told me how he had been ordered by then-president Francois Mitterrand to kill Libya’s Qadhafi. Israel’s hit teams are feared around the globe.
History shows that state-directed murder is more often than not counterproductive and inevitably runs out of control, disgracing nations and organizations that practise it.
But U.S. assassins are still at work. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. drones are killing tribesmen almost daily. Over 90% are civilians. Americans have a curious notion that killing people from the air is not murder or even a crime, but somehow clean.
U.S. Predator attacks are illegal and violate U.S. and international law. Pakistan’s government, against which no war has been declared, is not even asked permission or warned of the attacks.
Dropping 2,000-pound bombs on apartment buildings in Gaza or Predator raids on Pakistan’s tribal territory are as much murder as exploding car bombs or suicide bombers.
© 2009 Toronto Sun
Eric Margolis is a columnist for The Toronto Sun. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World
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