Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ending the War in Afghanistan: Freedom, Democracy and Justice Cannot be Enforced at Gunpoint

On Tuesday, with no security forces in tow, a young Afghan woman who goes by the pseudonym Zoya slipped into Des Moines to speak at a public library. A member of the underground Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which has been in the vanguard of resistance to the Taliban, she shields her real name for fear of being targeted.
She says war and occupation are not the answers, either to eradicate terrorism or to bring peace to her homeland: "Freedom, democracy and justice cannot be enforced at gunpoint by a foreign country."
Ron Jacobs, RAWA (Reality of Life in Afghanistan) News
Perhaps, there was once a time when most westerners could pretend that the US-led onslaught against the Afghan people was a good thing. Perhaps they convinced themselves that because the government of that country had allowed Osama Bin Laden to live in the mountains there that there was reason enough to attack his neighbors and destroy what remained of their nation. Perhaps, too, westerners (especially US citizens) believed that the true purpose of the US-led military mission in Afghanistan was to capture Bin Laden and destroy his terror network.
Yes, perhaps there was a time when the facade of justice and righteous revenge provided enough of a moral veneer to the US war in Afghanistan that even intelligent westerners could live with the death and destruction occurring in their name. However, that time is long past. The war has gone on for more than eight years without any sign of cessation. Indeed, since Barack Obama took up residence in the White House, the casualties in that war have spiked.
There are at least 40,000 more US troops in the country since that date last January and another thirty or forty thousand more getting ready to go there. In addition, the number of mercenaries has similarly increased. The reasons provided for this escalation range from going after terrorists to creating a civil society. As I write, another offensive against Afghans is being prepared. It primary purpose is to install a governor appointed by the US-created government in Kabul. No matter what the reason, it is painfully clear that those of us expecting a truthful explanation for Washington's presence in Afghanistan will not receive it from those who continue to send troops and weaponry over there. Nor will they receive it from those in Congress that continue to fund this lethal endeavor.
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