Afghanistan

Afghanistan

A view on war in Afghanistan:

And in the interests of balance here is another:

If I have the time and inclination later I’ll splice these together to better make or to labour the point.

Not a Lone Nut

Justin Raimondo’s article Robert Bales – Lone Nut or Scapegoat challenges the official US story that the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians, mostly children was carried out by a single rogue soldier. This account is disputed by Afghan villagers and Raimondo raises other questions that appear to undermine it.

Apart from the discussion of this particular massacre what is instructive about Raimondo’s article is his reference to an article about ‘night raids’ from a Pakistani source discussing the hostility of Afghans towards the occupiers:

By far the biggest single factor, other than the desecration of the Quran that has contributed to the public dismay and hostility towards the foreign forces, is the most despicable practice of night raids. The method employed is simple: Identify those who provide financial support or protection to the militants. And those who even have sympathies with them. Constitute teams which would go to the houses so identified, knock at the door and as soon as the wanted man appears, shoot him dead. At times a substitute is killed who may be a guest in the house but was unlucky to greet the intruders at the door. On an average about 50 night raids take place daily. And every night about 25 people are killed in cold blood in different parts of the country.

The abominable practice of night raids was introduced by that much trumpeted and widely acclaimed head of the US forces Gen Stanley McChrystal. The idea was to save US ammunition and soldiers on the one hand and to eliminate all those who show any inclination to support the resistance. The assassination of targeted persons in cold blood is an insidious innovation in counterinsurgency. McChrystal’s successor Gen David Petraeus continued this cowardly programme that has become an entrenched tool of policy in counter-terrorism.

This is no different from behaviour we associate with the Nazis. Raimondo suggests that the massacrer attributed to Bales is contiguous with US policy in Afghanistan. Whether perpetrated by Bales on his own or as part of a unit this is not in essence different from what US soldiers are expected to do.

The practice of ‘night raids’ was news to me but the criminality of US global policy is not news to anyone. And yet the mainstream media contributes to present that policy as somehow reasonable.

American soldiers like Jon Turner in this video openly admit to murder. They don’t have to worry about being prosecuted in US courts however because of the implicit sanction for their acts. Soldiers like Turner have no excuse for their crimes but I have to respect honest repentance and must consider them less guilty that the politicians who sent them to kill.

I find it difficult to believe that politicians and the media are unaware of the nature of the wars being fought. That they can still talk of sending soldiers to ‘defend their country’ when they are being sent as aggressors to kill people who are defending their own country. There is a disconnect between the reality of being the aggressor and the myth that the US and British soldiers going to Iraq or Afghanistan are bravely doing their duty ‘defending our country’. This video of Prince Harry neatly encapsulates that myth.

The enemy are faceless and voiceless, they are always Taliban, not Afghans, as though the Taliban rather that the NATO forces were the alien entity. The battle is uneven with the Taliban being vastly overmatched by NATO forces who deploy tanks, artillery and air power against an enemy using hand weapons. The demonisation of the Taliban is perhaps contiguous with a demonisation of Islam which makes it possible for public consciousness in the US/UK to see injustice against Taliban/Afghans/Muslims as somehow justified. This is illustrated by this video of an anti Muslim demonstration in California 2011:

Bales may or may not have been along in perpetrating a particular massacre but he was not alone in in being violently deluded.