Saturday, April 5, 2014
Afghans Go To Polls : Will The U.S. Now Remain Past 2014? - And WHO Will Pay For It?
"Unlike the old empires, we don’t make these sacrifices for territory or for resources. We do it because it’s right." - Barack Obama, 2011
Today is a big voting day in Afghanistan, and likely will be an even bigger one for the American Military- Industrial National Security State. It means there is a good chance the vote will see pressure for the U.S. to remain long term, possibly even through 2024 - despite the fact we lack the money to do that. Hell, we have more pressing problems here at home with a collapsing infrastructure as well as middle class. We can't be the world's cop forever!
What we know is that eight candidates are competing in the race. The problem is that the five minor candidates’ separate shares of the total vote will make it even more difficult for any one candidate to reach the 50 percent threshold that would allow an outright victory. In this case, a runoff vote is unlikely to take place until the end of May at the earliest. The leading candidates going into the vote were Ashraf Ghani, 64, a technocrat and former official in Mr. Karzai’s government; Abdullah Abdullah, 53, a former foreign minister who was the second biggest vote-getter against Mr. Karzai in the 2009 election; and Zalmay Rassoul, 70, another former foreign minister.
All three of these guys are said to be in favor of approving a long term American troop presence. Up in the air is how long an American force will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a long-term security deal to allow that presence through 2024 was a major point of tension between the American and Afghan governments. Why, baffles the mind of the objective and rational observer, given the continued costs to Americans in blood and treasure. Hell, we've already been there over 12 years and have little or nothing to show for it other than a lot of pissed off people - at home and over there. (Many of the latter pissed and outraged at drone strikes that took out family members and for which they were offered a few head of sheep and a thousand bucks as reparation.)
I mean, in the normal world of logic and rationality and given our dwindling resources and stupendous debt - with domestic needs already stretched beyond limits - we ought to have taken Karzai's 'out' and left, lock, stock and barrel. But oh no, we have to continue the pretense of Pax Americana and being the cop of the world. But, of course, why would a national security state that killed the President who inveighed most against Pax Americana (in 1963) pay any attention to it now? They wouldn't because they removed the sole obstacle to its future implementation, via the document NSC-68.
As in the case of Vietnam, which ought to have had its plug pulled much earlier (thereby saving thousands more lives), we ought to be pulling the plug on this Afghan fiasco and THIS year! We can't do the Afghans' nation building for them. It's now their job. We invested in their security forces as much as we can and as it is that trillion dollars pissed away over there has set us back in sundry ways. Hell, to me it'd be more crucial to use the projected money we might spend there on lowering the interest on college students' debt.
But make no mistake that Amerikkan Neocons and the military-industrial state want a presence there if for no other reason to bleed down our domestic resources even further - thereby widening the nation's economic inequality and hastening the end of the American Middle class. The longer the U.S. presence, the more money pumped into the pockets of defense contractors for more stupid weapons, including setting up a "combat air brigade" at a cost of $1 billion here in Colorado Springs. (And ranchers here are already in an uproar that the Army wants to claim over 200,000 acres for "drone maneuvers", for cripes' sakes!)
Yes, it may take six months or even longer for the Afghan issue to be settled, following today's election, but make no mistake the end result will be an unwise extension of our presence, of at least 10,000 troops - maybe more. Obama has made it clear this is what he wants- for reasons I cannot begin to fathom- other than that the neocons have burrowed into his head. In effect, making 10,000 (or more) targets for the Taliban as well as laying the potential for more incidents to piss off the Afghans and surrounding nations, likely leading to more terrorist blowback.
Which, of course, the national security state welcomes as more justification to keep its expansive surveillance system going. They ought to be more concerned with the additional thousands of returned troops likely to go mentally 'haywire' and ending up with tragedies such as we beheld at Fort Hood 2 days ago.
See also: 'Afghan Elections for Another Fake Regime' - by Eric Margolis
Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington. The candidates include US -groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.
Such is the rotten foundation on which Washington is hoping to build a compliant Afghan “democracy” that will continue to offer bases to US troops and warplanes. Afghanistan’s majority, the Pashtun tribes, have little voice in the election charade.