For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Obama and Afghanistan
reports: "The United Nations said on Tuesday it had found convincing
evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed
in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last
Co-author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence,
Kolhatkar said today: "The war in Afghanistan is an issue where the
Democratic and Republican candidates are very similar. The Republicans
think the war is going well but they want more troops. The Democrats
think the war is going badly so they want more troops. And they're both
wrong because the same types of problems with U.S. military strategy in
Iraq are occurring in Afghanistan such as bombs, civilian casualties,
detention and torture. On top of that, the U.S.-backed central
government is rife with corruption and is an additional oppressive
force against ordinary people. The media portrays NATO and the U.S.
defending the central government and the people from the Taliban, but
more and more people are seeing the U.S. and NATO as attacking them.
And though they may not like the Taliban, the Taliban's popularity is
Hedges wrote the recent piece "Pouring Gas on the Afghanistan Bonfire,"
in which he writes: "The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind forward
with their terrible human toll, even as ... we prefer to waste our time
on the trivia and gossip ... and do nothing to advance our
understanding of either the campaign or the wars fought in our name.
"As the conflict in Afghanistan has intensified, so has the indiscriminate use of airstrikes, including Friday's...
"Barack Obama, like John McCain, speaks about Afghanistan in words that
look as if they were penned by the Bush White House. Obama may call for
withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq, but he does not want to send
them all home. He wants to send them to Afghanistan, or to what he
obliquely terms 'the right battlefield.' Obama said he would deploy an
additional 10,000 troops to Afghanistan once he took office."
Hedges is co-author of Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians. He worked as the bureau chief in the Middle East and the Balkans, as well as in other assignments, for the New York Times from 1990 to 2005.