War Without Purpose

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U.S. marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, trying to push into Garmser, in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As war intensifies, so do the casualties on both sides. Nobody knows how many more will be sacrificed on the altar of this endless war becoming terror itself, especially for the non combatant civilians who have nothing to do with the war games being fought in the area.

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WAR WITHOUT PURPOSE

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BY CHRIS HEDGES

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Note: Before you go to the main post by Chris Hedges, here is a brief note from www.brusselstribunal.org/

The occupation is not about “security” for the Afghan people, any more than the occupation in Iraq is about “security” for the Iraqi people. Hiring of intelligence staff won’t help the presentunintelligent’ US-NATO activities.

Nor will the present U.S. bombing c ampaign in Pakistan bring them “democracy” — the many “apologies” for killing civilians ring hollow.

Too many innocent civilians have suffered murder for this U.S.-NATO “security” in the so-called “War on Terror.” In the last two months, civilian deaths have multiplied exponentially. US contempt for life is evident.

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Al-Qaida could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We can bomb Afghan villages, hunt the Taliban in Helmand province, build a 100,000-strong client Afghan army, stand by passively as Afghan warlords execute hundreds, maybe thousands, of Taliban prisoners, build huge, elaborate military bases and send drones to drop bombs on Pakistan. It will make no difference. The war will not halt the attacks of Islamic radicals.

Terrorist and insurgent groups are not conventional forces. They do not play by the rules of warfare our commanders have drilled into them in war colleges and service academies. And these underground groups are protean, changing shape and color as they drift from one failed state to the next, plan a terrorist attack and then fade back into the shadows. We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq.

The cost of the Afghanistan war is rising. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded. July has been the deadliest month in the war for NATO combatants, with at least 50 troops, including 26 Americans, killed. Roadside bomb attacks on coalition forces are swelling the number of wounded and killed.

In June, the tally of incidents involving roadside bombs, also called improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hit 736, a record for the fourth straight month; the number had risen from 361 in March to 407 in April and to 465 in May. The decision by President Barack Obama to send 21,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan has increased our presence to 57,000 American troops. The total is expected to rise to at least 68,000 by the end of 2009. It will only mean more death, expanded fighting and greater futility.

We have stumbled into a confusing mix of armed groups that include criminal gangs, drug traffickers, Pashtun and Tajik militias, kidnapping rings, death squads and mercenaries. We are embroiled in a civil war. The Pashtuns, who make up most of the Taliban and are the traditional rulers of Afghanistan, are battling theTajiksand Uzbeks, who make up the Northern Alliance, which, with foreign help, won the civil war in 2001. The old Northern Alliance now dominates the corrupt and incompetent government. It is deeply hated. And it will fall with us.

We are losing the war in Afghanistan. When we invaded the country eight years ago the Taliban controlled about 75 percent of Afghanistan. Today its reach has crept back to about half the country. The Taliban runs the poppy trade, which brings in an annual income of about $300 million a year. It brazenly carries out attacks in Kabul, the capital, and foreigners, fearing kidnapping, rarely walk the streets of most Afghan cities. It is life-threatening to go into the countryside, where 80 percent of all Afghanis live, unless escorted by NATO troops. And intrepid reporters can interview Taliban officials in downtown coffee shops in Kabul. Osama bin Laden has, to the amusement of much of the rest of the world, become the Where’s Waldo of the Middle East. Take away the bullets and the bombs and you have a Gilbert and Sullivan farce.

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No one seems to be able to articulate why we are in Afghanistan. Is it to hunt down bin Laden and al-Qaida? Is it to consolidate progress? Have we declared war on the Taliban? Are we building democracy? Are we fighting terrorists there so we do not have to fight them here? Are we “liberating” the women of Afghanistan? The absurdity of the questions, used as thought-terminating clichés, exposes the absurdity of the war. The confusion of purpose mirrors the confusion on the ground. We don’t know what we are doing.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, announced recently that coalition forces must make a “cultural shift” in Afghanistan. He said they should move away from their normal combat orientation and toward protecting civilians. He understands that airstrikes, which have killed hundreds of civilians, are a potent recruiting tool for the Taliban. The goal is lofty but the reality of war defies its implementation. NATO forces will always call in close air support when they are under attack. This is what troops under fire do.

They do not have the luxury of canvassing the local population first. They ask questions later. The May 4 aerial attack on Farah province, which killed dozens of civilians, violated standing orders about airstrikes. So did the air assault in Kandahar province last week in which four civilians were killed and 13 were wounded. The NATO strike targeted a village in the Shawalikot district. Wounded villagers at a hospital in the provincial capital told AP that attack helicopters started bombarding their homes at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. One man said his 3-year-old granddaughter was killed. Combat creates its own rules, and civilians are almost always the losers.

Pakistani analyst Hamid Mir, explains how US drone attacks are proving counterproductive for both the US and Pakistan.

The offensive by NATO forces in Helmand province will follow the usual scenario laid out by military commanders, who know much about weapons systems and conventional armies and little about the nuances of irregular warfare. The Taliban will withdraw, probably to sanctuaries in Pakistan. We will declare the operation a success. Our force presence will be reduced. And the Taliban will creep back into the zones we will have “cleansed.” The roadside bombs will continue to exact their deadly toll. Soldiers and Marines, frustrated at trying to fight an elusive and often invisible enemy, will lash out with greater fury at phantoms and continue to increase the numbers of civilian dead. It is a game as old as insurgency itself, and yet each generation of warriors thinks it has finally found the magic key to victory.

We have ensured that Iraq and Afghanistan are failed states. Next on our list appears to be Pakistan. Pakistan, like Iraq and Afghanistan, is also a bizarre construct of Western powers that drew arbitrary and artificial borders, ones the clans and ethnic groups divided by these lines ignore. (Though Chris is right in calling Pakistani borders as artificial, but so are the borders in so many other countries too including India, Great Britain and the United Sates itself. Changing of geographical borders is no new phenomena. Throughout history, this process has been on and one for centuries Ed.). As Pakistan has unraveled, its army has sought legitimacy in militant Islam. It was the Pakistani military that created the Taliban (But in collaboration with the CIA and MI5 of Britain Ed.)

The Pakistanis determined how the billions in U.S. aid to the resistance during the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was allocated. And nearly all of it went to the most extremist wings of the Afghan resistance movement. The Taliban, in Pakistan’s eyes, is not only an effective weapon to defeat foreign invaders, whether Russian or American, but is a bulwark against India. Muslim radicals in Kabul are never going to build an alliance with India against Pakistan. And 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.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges has authored many books including the best selling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).
Source:
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The gravity of challenges ahead would have been worked out well before initiating a declared war against the Islamic Jehadee forces .These forces have been identified.Some of them are operating quite away from the battle field.Secret services of different countries must be in the process of developing suitable streategy to handle them………Since the author is not in seat therefore his commets on the issue is not going affect at the policy planning level. His findings could of some value to the agencies operating out side the battle field but of no use to a determined coalision force engaged in operation in any way.

  2. Plutocracy vs Democracy
    By Christopher Bollyn – American Free Press

    Voting Machines vs Hand Counted Paper Ballots.

    The widespread use of electronic voting machines has completely undermined the integrity of elections in the United States. Behind the Omaha-based company making most of the flawed voting machines is a small, and very secretive, group of men, which includes a well-known U.S. senator from Nebraska, who also happens to belong to part of the REAL “shadow government,” i.e. Bilderberg group.

    Is it much of a surprise then that the unexpected “upset” U.S. senatorial election in which that U.S. senator [Charles T. Hagel] was elected in 1996, the voting machines that counted the votes that brought him to the U.S. Senate were made and operated by the company of which he had, until recently, been chairman [from 1988 until March 15, 1995].

    Furthermore, isn’t it odd that Mr. Hagel did NOT disclose his relationship with that vote-counting company on his required documents and financial disclosures?

    In 1997, that same company, American Information Systems (AIS), had been a “wholly-owned subsidiary of Omaha World Herald Company, a large company of which the newspaper is actually but a small part. They are much more involved in data accumulation and more profitable ventures than newsprint.

    This company, AIS, seems to be guided by billionaire and millionaire conservatives of the “Christian Coalition” type, who have been politically active, and successful, in making the Republican Party into a extreme pro-Israel, Christian “fundamentalist” party – one that will do ANYTHING to win.

    The recent mid-term elections have been described as “revolutionary” due to the unusual success of Republican candidates while a sitting president from the same party occupied the White House. However, the upset election results that heralded the Republican revolution have been accompanied by a largely ignored credibility gap because of the more significant and historic devolution in how Americans cast their votes.

    As a result of the 2000 election fiasco in Florida, expensive electronic voting machines have replaced paper ballot voting systems in a growing number of jurisdictions across the United States. However, the electronic touch-screen voting and ballot-counting machines lack the transparency and credibility of hand-counted paper ballots. As Rick Fulle, in Chicago, head of technology for the Illinois Board of Elections told AFP about touch-screen voting machines, “Nobody knows what happens inside of those machines.”

    Furthermore, troubling revelations about the people who own the companies that make these voting machines raise a host of serious questions about the condition of the democratic franchise in the United States – even whether it actually exists on a national level, or not.

    The companies that design, build, and operate most of the voting machines currently being used in America, are privately held and extremely secretive. Before the 2000 elections, when this reporter [Bollyn] tried to learn who owned Omaha-based Electronic Systems and Software (ES&S), the largest voting machine company in the United States, the information was simply not available. A visit to the ES&S office in Chicago [across the street from the Board of Elections] resulted in no answers from ES&S, but a number of men in suits escorting Bollyn to the door – Chicago style.

    [Bollyn, writing for the court-killed SPOTLIGHT newspaper of Washington, D.C. received a thinly-veiled death threat for asking questions about who made the “control cards” which record the data and tell the vote-counting machine what to do.]

    ES&S, whose motto is “Better elections every day” claims to have counted 100 million ballots in the 2000 election and 56 percent of the vote in the last four presidential elections. However, ES&S company officials repeatedly refused to discuss the [electronic] security of their voting machines or divulge who owns and directs the company.

    Two independent writers, Bev Harris of Talion.com and journalist Lynn Landes of EcoTalk.org have investigated the voting machine companies operating in the United States and have discovered a number of political connections to the Republican Party and a well-known senator from Nebraska. These connections are too important to ignore.
    THE OMAHA CONNECTION

    According to Nebraska’s Elections Office, ES&S is the only voting machine company certified to count votes in the state. A small percentage of the vote in Nebraska is still hand-counted.

    Election Systems & Software was formed in 1997 by a merger of Omaha-based American Information Systems (AIS) and Dallas-based Business Records Corp. (BRC). BRC was partially owned by Cronus Industries, a company with connections to the Hunt brothers from Texas, as well as other individuals and entities, including Rothschild, Inc.

    In 1997, American Information Systems was an unincorporated, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Omaha World-Herald Company according to a Department of Justice press release about the merger of AIS with BRC. American Information Systems’ 1996 sales in all of its product lines were about $14.3 million.

    Nebraska-born Charles T. “Chuck” Hagel moved to Omaha in 1992 to become chairman of AIS and the McCarthy Group, a private investment bank, Harris told AFP. AIS was the voting machine company that counted the votes by which Hagel was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. Hagel had only resigned as CEO of AIS in 1995.

    Josh Denney, spokesman for Sen. Hagel’s Washington office told AFP that Hagel had been a member of the board at AIS since 1988 and had been chairman of the board at AIS “for about a year.” Denney said that Hagel had resigned from the AIS board on March 15, 1995, but had continued to serve as president of McCarthy and Co., until 1996. Denney said that the “only inaccuracy” that Hagel’s office had found on the Talion.com website was the mention of Hagel as “CEO” of AIS. However, reports in the Omaha World Herald suggest that Hagel was CEO of AIS at different times during his 6-year term on the board.

    Today, Hagel has investments in the renamed McCarthy Group worth between $1 and $5 million, according to documents published on by Harris on her website. Because the McCarthy Group reportedly owns some 35 percent of ES&S, Harris has raised the matter of Hagel’s investment in a company that counts the votes in Nebraska. Omaha World-Herald reportedly owns about 45 percent of ES&S.

    Lawyers representing ES&S have recently asked Harris to remove the documents and information from her website. Harris, however, has not removed the material saying that voters need to know who owns the companies that make voting machines to avoid any possible conflict-of-interest issues.

    Two brothers, Bob and Todd Urosevich, founded AIS in the 1980’s. Today Bob is president of Diebold Election Systems, while Todd is a vice president at ES&S.

    Diebold Election Systems, Inc., a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Diebold, Incorporated, recently won a $54 million contract to overhaul Georgia’s election system technology. Georgia thus became the first state in the country to implement a uniform state-wide computerized touch-screen voting system. The Diebold system was sold to voters in Georgia as a “state-of-the-art system” that is “more accurate, convenient and accessible to voters.” Most importantly, the electronic touch-screen system does not provide a verifiable paper trail, which removes any credibility that the results truly reflect the intent of the voting public. Finis

    The Oil Monarchs: George W. Bush and his Royal Kin
    By Christopher Bollyn – American Free Press

    While President George W. Bush is portrayed in the mass media as the chief architect of the plan to conquer Iraq, his family’s intimate connection with those oil-rich European royals who also support him is seldom discussed.

    On a daily basis the mainstream media presents expert opinions as to who is behind the military campaign against Iraq and why. Lately there has been a flurry of editorials seeking to debunk the notion that the major British and American oil companies are behind the planned conquest of Iraq and its rich oil fields. What is never discussed, however, is the kinship between President George W. Bush and the European royals who support the U.S.-led campaign against Iraq.

    There are basically two schools of thought among those who do not accept the official reasoning for war against Iraq. The first is that the conquest of Iraq’s oil resources is an agenda being pushed by the major oil companies and their agents in the British and U.S. governments. The second is that Israel and its supporters, seeking to further the Zionist agenda, are the true architects behind the war of aggression being planned against the most populous Arab state.

    While these two theories are usually presented as being mutually exclusive, the secret networks that exist between the government leaders in the United States and Britain, “Big Oil” and Israel indicate they are connected and appear to be part of a master plan.

    The huge anti-war protests of Feb. 15 clearly demonstrated that a significant majority, estimated to be 80 percent, of the people in Europe are strongly opposed to war in Iraq. The largest protests were seen in those nations that have allied themselves with the U.S. war policy on Iraq: namely Britain, Spain, and Italy.

    With so many Europeans opposed to war, the question being asked is: “Who is supporting the Bush policy, and why?”
    “Blair Petroleum”

    Tony Blair, the British prime minister, is Bush’s staunchest and most visible ally in the campaign against Iraq. Blair has long taken an aggressive position on Iraq and says it was the first thing he discussed with the new president after Bush was declared winner of the flawed election of 2000.

    While Blair’s intimate relationship with the Anglo-American oil giant British Petroleum (BP) should be a matter of discussion in the context of his war policy against Iraq, it is seldom mentioned in the main steam British press.

    Blair’s “New Labor” policies are now more closely connected to both Big Oil, particularly BP, and Israel, than they are with the British working class. The close links between BP, which was originally known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. having been founded to exploit Iranian oil reserves, and Blair’s politics have led to the company being dubbed “Blair Petroleum.”

    During his first term, Blair appointed then chairman of BP, Lord Simon, to be trade minister in May 1997. A controversy surfaced when it emerged that Simon still owned a considerable shareholding in the company.

    BP’s current chief executive Lord John Browne, whose mother was an “Auschwitz survivor,” is also said to be “close to the prime minister.” Blair added a peerage to Browne’s knighthood after he helped end fuel protests in Britain.

    Anji Hunter, Blair’s former secretary and close friend, was said to “be among New Labor friends” when she left government to take the position as director of communications at BP in November 2001. Hunter went to school with Blair and has worked with him continuously since 1986.

    “There is a bit of a revolving door,” says Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat member of parliament who has looked into the ties between BP and the Blair government. The connections are probably more extensive than with any other UK company, Baker said.

    One of Blair’s closest allies is Lord Michael Levy. Levy serves as one of the most important fundraisers for the Labor Party and Blair’s unofficial envoy to the Middle East, according to Red Star Research of London, which investigates the ties of Blair’s New Labor to Big Oil – and Israel.

    Levy reportedly met Blair at a dinner party in 1994 held by Gideon Meir, a senior Israeli diplomat, and became his tennis partner. Levy was put in charge of donations to the ‘private trust,’ which funded Blair’s office before the 1997 election (which reached more than $10 million), and is now the chief fundraiser for the ‘high value’ donors account at the Labor Party. He is reported to have raised $18 million for the ‘high value’ fund before the 1997 election, and became known as ‘Mr. Cashpoint’, according to Red Star Research.
    King George

    While President Bush’s war policy is strongly opposed by the leaders of Europe’s largest republics, Germany, France, and Russia, he is supported by those nations where royal families are still in power, or close to it: Britain, Spain, The Netherlands, and Bulgaria. What the U.S. mainstream media fails to mention is that he is actually related to the royal families of those European states where his policy on Iraq is supported.

    As the media reported during the election of 2000, Bush is closely related to every European monarch on and off the throne and has kinship with every member of Britain’s royal family, the House of Windsor.

    Saxe-Coburg Gotha is the true name of Britain’s royal family, but the name was changed to hide their German ancestry during the First World War.

    Bush has more ties to European royalty than other president to date, having “blue blood” from both his paternal and maternal lines. His mother, Barbara Pierce Bush, is related to European royalty through the Pierce family, which also produced the fourteenth U.S. president, Franklin Pierce (1853-1857).

    Harold Brooks-Baker of London’s Burke Peerage says Bush’s royal connections are startling. “Bush is closely related to every European monarch both on and off the throne,” Baker told American Free Press.

    “They are cousins.” Baker said when asked about the relationship between Bush and the Bulgarian prime minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, who visited the White House on Feb. 25. Gotha is the former King of Bulgaria who was returned to power after decades spent in exile.

    About the apparent close relationship between Bush and the Spanish king, Juan Carlos, Baker said: “They know they are related.” Asked why the media fails to report these family ties, Brooks-Baker said, “The American public does not know who these kings are. Not one person in a thousand has any idea who these people are.”

    “Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush have an unusually large number of royal and noble descents,” Baker said during the election campaign of 2000. “In point of fact, never in the history of the United States have two presidential candidates been as well endowed with royal alliances.”

    There has always been a significant “royalty factor” in those who aspired to the White House, with Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, among some 30 other presidents, all boasting blue blood links.

    Asked if the support of the European royals for Bush’s war policy could be attributed to the fact that these families are heavily invested in the leading oil companies, Brooks-Baker said, “That’s an interesting question. Indeed, Royal Dutch Shell petroleum made Queen Beatrix of Holland one of the richest women in the world. She owns more land in New York and the United States than any other foreigner.”

    Queen Beatrix, the matriarch of the secretive Bilderberg group, is like Queen Elisabeth of Britain and is not allowed to play a public role in political matters. Behind the scenes, however, these monarchs continue to exercise political influence.

    Asked if he thought that kinship with the European royals was the reason for their support of Bush’s war policy, Brooks-Baker said: “I don’t think there is any question about it. These people are obsessed with supporting relations. It has a great deal to do with it. They all work together as one family.”

  3. […] 1. The Terror-Industrial Complex 2. War Without Purpose […]


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