Declaring Victory in Afghanistan, Facts Notwithstanding

John Glaser, April 08, 2013

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In an article at Der Speigel entitled “Leaving Corruptistan,” Susanne Koelbl reflects on what we’re left with after eleven years of war in Afghanistan:

  • A state with a security apparatus that might be strong enough to at best hold the Taliban halfway in check.
  • A country whose order will be guaranteed by brutal warlords.
  • And a president who will play the kingmaker and wait until the last moment to reveal the person he will back as his successor and who will look like a puppet of Karzai’s interests when the latter steps down next year.

As the article details, the name of the game right now in Afghanistan is for the US to reduce its troop presence significantly by 2014 and declare victory, facts notwithstanding.

As for the 5,000-10,000 troops to remain beyond 2014, Washington and Kabul are haggling over the details. “Afghanistan’s parliament wants to be able to prosecute American soldiers in Afghan courts,” Koelbl reports. “But, says one US diplomat, ‘That will never happen.'”

US soldiers must be permitted to act outside the law indefinitely. How else are we to get away with systematic abuse of Afghans?

Incidentally, that very dispute is what bungled the Obama administration’s effort to establish an enduring troop presence in Iraq beyond 2011. But the Afghan state is much weaker than the one in Baghdad, and it’s unlikely Washington will allow such defiance to spoil plans to continue the occupation and nation-building project in Afghanistan.

Most importantly, US presence in Afghanistan provides Washington with a way to justify the drone war in neighboring Pakistan. That’s an important asset to the war-makers.

It must be hard for even the most brainwashed jingoes to look at Afghanistan and honestly say the fight has been worth it. But with 2013 almost half over, Americans should expect a wave of propaganda about Uncle Sam’s glorious achievements there – both to vindicate the past decade of wasted blood and treasure, and to justify our nefarious occupation into the future.