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Scrutinizing US Goals in Afghanistan
Porter recently wrote the piece "Obama Had Rejected His Own Speech's Surge Rationale," which states that Obama in his West Point speech "said the escalation was for a 'vital national interest' and invoked the threat of attacks from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, asserting that such attacks 'are now being planned as I speak.'
"Despite Obama's embrace of these new national security arguments, however, he has rejected within the past few weeks the critical link in the national security argument for deploying tens of thousands of additional troops -- the allegedly indissoluble link between the Taliban insurgency and al Qaeda."
Grossman, a geographer and faculty member at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA), just wrote the article "Afghanistan: The Roach Motel of Empires," which states: "In just a few months, Afghanistan will surpass Vietnam as the longest single war fought by the United States in its history. In his West Point speech, President Obama denied that 'Â“Afghanistan is another Vietnam' -- and in some senses he is correct. Vietnam in 1975 was a far more unified state -- ethnically and politically -- than Afghanistan ever has been. Afghanistan is far more mountainous and difficult to occupy. ...
"Like the Soviets, the Americans are perfectly capable of denouncing human rights violations by their Islamist enemies, but completely ignoring abuses by the violent warlords they are supporting. ... The Islamization of Afghanistan did not begin when the Taliban took power in 1996, but when the U.S.-backed mujahedin ousted the pro-Soviet government four years earlier. ...
"Instead of unifying the different ethnic regions of Afghanistan, the NATO occupation seems headed more toward a de facto partition of these regions. The foreign policy team that President Obama has assembled includes some of the same figures who advocated the ethnic-sectarian partition of Yugoslavia and Iraq. ... Some trends in Afghanistan show traces of a similar partition strategy. ...
"In both former Yugoslavia and Iraq, the U.S. interventions have left behind large permanent military bases, just as they have in Afghanistan. ... Many of the largest air bases, at Kabul, Bagram, Kandahar, Shinand and Jalalabad, were the same bases from which the Soviets launched air attacks on the mujahedin in the 1980s. These military bases are the epitome of the 'roach motel' -- they become a self-fulfilling argument for continuing an occupation: to defend the bases."
Grossman also wrote the piece "New U.S. Military Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War?"