For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Afghanistan: Endless War 2.0?
Reuters reports: "Afghan President Hamid Karzai renewed criticism of U.S. and NATO-led forces on Wednesday and said he was determined his government would take a stronger role in the deployment and work of foreign troops. ... The U.N. said on Tuesday the civilian death toll in 2008 had increased by 40 percent to 2,100, more than a third of them killed by Afghan and foreign forces."
He said today: "The U.S. and NATO appear to have forgotten that the current crisis is a direct result of a similar surge in 2005. According to former British Foreign Service officer Rory Stewart, 'When the decision to increase the number of troops in 2005 was made, there was no insurgency.' Thinking that the Taliban were on the ropes and eager to suppress the burgeoning opium trade, NATO poured troops into the countryside.
"When the locals -- many of them former Taliban who had returned to their villages following the 2001 U.S. invasion -- resisted, the Coalition stepped up its aggressive tactics and increased the number of air strikes, tactics which ended up recruiting more foot soldiers for the Taliban."
Solomon, the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He recently wrote the piece "Why Are We Still at War?" -- which states: "The United States began its war in Afghanistan 88 months ago. 'The war on terror' has no sunset clause. As a perpetual emotion machine, it offers to avenge what can never heal and to fix grief that is irreparable. ... The new U.S. 'war on terror' was rhetorically bent on dismissing the concept of peacetime as a fatuous mirage.
"Now, in early 2009, we're entering what could be called Endless War 2.0, while the new president's escalation of warfare in Afghanistan makes the rounds of the media trade shows, preening the newest applications of technological might and domestic political acquiescence.
"And now, although repression of open debate has greatly dissipated since the first months after 9/11, the narrow range of political discourse on Afghanistan is essential to the Obama administration's reported plan to double U.S. troop deployments in that country within a year."
Solomon is also a national co-chair of the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign.
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