By N.S. Palmer, Ph.D.
“Don’t know much about history” is more than just a song lyric. It amounts to the credo of a significant minority of Americans.
Their most obvious manifestation is their adulation of erstwhile Alaska governor Sarah Palin of the Opportunist Party. That such a drooling imbecile would be considered a credible candidate for any political office by anyone of any party speaks volumes about the future of the American republic, such as it remains.
Their complete ignorance of history makes these Americans easy prey for political propaganda. They don’t know, for example, that both the British and Soviet empires invaded and occupied Afghanistan, just as the sagging American empire did under Bush II. As a result, they have no historical context that might make them question the official story that the U.S. government invaded Afghanistan because it refused to extradite Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Neither do they know that both empires nearly bankrupted themselves trying to conquer Afghanistan, so they have no context to understand the economic costs of open-ended warfare to benefit the oil industry at the expense of Americans generally.
The plan to invade Afghanistan was hatched in the Bush-Cheney regime long before the 9/11 attacks. The oil industry wanted to build a pipeline through the country, and had concluded that the Taliban government was an unreliable partner in the project. Hence, it had to be replaced, and a suitable cover story had to be concocted to justify the aggression needed to do it.
None of that is meant to criticize the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces who now fight to put down the Afghan resistance. They didn’t ask to go there. They largely believe what the Bush-Cheney regime told them as a justification for the attack.
The Afghans are fighting tooth and claw to expel the occupiers from their country. Dubya Bush wouldn’t understand, but British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who held Britain together during World War II, certainly did. In his History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Churchill wrote:
“It is the primary right of men to die and kill for the land they live in, and to punish with exceptional severity all members of their own race who have warmed their hands at the invaders’ hearth.” (Book I, Chapter II)
That’s why the Afghans fight on. And that’s why the West’s hand-picked viceroy, Hamid Karzai, won’t last for five minutes after his imperial sponsors leave Afghanistan. His life depends on their continued support.
U.S. President Obama undoubtedly understands the situation but has no good options to end the occupation of Afghanistan.
If he simply declares victory and withdraws, then the families of Afghans slaughtered by the Bush-Cheney invasion and occupation will be free — and motivated — to retaliate against the United States, most likely through acts of terrorism.
If he continues the occupation, then he makes even more enemies for the U.S., while draining resources that are desperately needed to rebuild America after years of pillage and neglect by the Bush-Cheney regime.
The “least bad” of Obama’s options might be:
- Make a clean break with the past by apologizing to the Afghan people for the invasion and occupation.
- Withdraw support for the West’s puppet government and let the Afghan people work out a less-illegitimate government.
- Pay reparations for the rebuilding of Afghanistan. This would be a lot of money, but less than it would cost to continue the occupation.
- Announce that the U.S. government will cooperate in extraditing any members of the Bush-Cheney regime for war crimes, as long as the Afghan government respects international law and the rights of the accused individuals.
Copyright 2009 by N.S. Palmer. May be reproduced as long as byline, copyright notice, and URL (http://ashesblog.com) are included.