The Afghan War Lies Trump Will Tell
August 23, 2017
The White House & Matt Hoh / Common Dreams
Commentary: Speaking of the decision to escalate the failed strategies of the 16-year war in Afghanistan, the White House stated: "President Trump's top priority remains . . . protecting the American people." But critics note that "there has never been progress by the US military in Afghanistan." The only "winners" have been the US military contractors, Afghan drug barons, and US allies in the Afghan government, militias and security forces. Most Afghans have only known suffering and destruction.
New American Strategy For Afghanistan
Will Undo Past Failures
The White House
President Trump's top priority remains Making America Safe Again and protecting the American people. The President has approved a new strategy for South Asia to ensure that terrorists will never again use Afghanistan as a haven to attack the United States.
President Trump Addresses the Nation on the South Asia Strategy
Shortly after President Trump's inauguration, he directed Secretary of Defense Mattis and his national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia. Last night, the President outlined his strategy for the region.
Watch the President's Address
Vice President Pence's OpEd in USA Today
"President Trump's strategy for South Asia will undo the failed policies of the past and put the safety and security of the American people first. And with the president's leadership, with the courage of our armed forces, and with the prayers of our people: America will be stronger, safer and more secure than ever before."
-- Vice President Pence
The Lies on Afghanistan Trump Will Now Tell
Matt Hoh / Common Dreams
(August 21, 2017) -- There has never been progress by the US military in Afghanistan, unless you are asking the US military contractors or the Afghan drug barons, of whom an extremely large share are our allies in the Afghan government, militias and security forces, there has only been suffering and destruction.
American politicians, pundits and generals will speak about "progress" made by the 70,000 American troops put into Afghanistan by President Obama beginning in 2009, along with an additional 30,000 European troops and 100,000 private contractors, however the hard and awful true reality is that:
* the war in Afghanistan has only escalated since 2009, never stabilizing or deescalating;
* the Taliban has increased in strength by tens of thousands, despite tens of thousands of casualties and prisoners; and
* American and Afghan casualties have continued to grow every year of the conflict, with US casualties declining only when US forces began to withdraw in mass numbers from parts of Afghanistan in 2011,
* while Afghan security forces and civilians have experienced record casualties every year since those numbers began to be kept by the UN.
Similarly, any progress in reconstructing or developing Afghanistan has been found to be near non-existent, despite the more than $100 billion spent by the United States on such efforts by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR). $100 billion, by the way, is more money than was spent on the Marshall Plan when that post-WWII reconstruction plan is put into inflation adjusted dollars.
Oft-repeated claims, such as millions of Afghan school girls going to school, millions of Afghans having access to improved health care and Afghan life expectancy dramatically increasing, and the construction of an Afghan job-building economy have been exposed as nothing more than public relations lies.
Often displayed as modern Potemkin Villages to visiting journalists and congressional delegations and utilized to justify continued budgets for the Pentagon and USAID, and, so, to allow for more killing, like America's reconstruction program in Iraq, the reconstruction program in Afghanistan has proven to be a failure and its supposed achievements shown to be virtually non-existent, as documented by multiple investigations by SIGAR, as well as by investigators and researchers from organizations such as the UN, EU, IMF, World Bank, etc.
Tonight, the American people will hear again the great lie about the progress the American military once made in Afghanistan after "the Afghan Surge," just as we often hear the lie about how the American military had "won" in Iraq.
In Iraq, it was a political compromise that brought about a cessation of hostilities for a few short years and it was the collapse of the political balance that had been struck that led to the return to the violence of the last several years. In Afghanistan, there has never even been an attempt at such a political solution and all the Afghan people have seen in the last eight years, every year, has been a worsening of the violence.
Americans will also hear how the US military has done great things for the Afghan people. You would be hard-pressed to find many Afghans outside of the incredibly corrupt and illegitimate government, a better definition of a kleptocracy you will not find, that the US keeps in power with its soldiers and $35 billion a year, who would agree with the statements of the American politicians, the American generals and the pundits, the latter of which are mostly funded, directly or indirectly, by the military companies. It is important to remember that for three straight elections in Afghanistan the United States government has supported shockingly fraudulent elections, allowing American soldiers to kill and die while presidential and parliamentary elections were brazenly stolen.
It is also important to remember that many members of the Afghan government are themselves warlords and drug barons, many of them guilty of some of the worst human rights abuses and war crimes, the same abuses of which the Taliban are guilty, while the current Ghani government, and the previous Karzai government, have allowed egregious crimes to continue against women, including laws that allow men to legally rape their wives.
Whatever President Trump announces tonight about Afghanistan, a decision he teased on Twitter, as if the announcement were a new retail product launch or television show episode, as opposed to the somber and painful reality of war, we can be assured the lies about American progress in Afghanistan will continue, the lies about America's commitment to human rights and democratic values will continue, the profits of the military companies and drug barons will also continue, and of course the suffering of the Afghan people will surely continue.
Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War. In 2009 he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama Administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the US Marines. He is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy.
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