May 28, 2009
The Backlash In Pakistan
Yesterday a car bomb exploded in Lahore killing some 30 and wounding 250 people. Today four bombs exploded in Peshawar.
This is the backlash for the U.S. demanded campaign by the Pakistani military against the neo-Taliban. More will come.
2.4 million have fled from and at least 200,000 are trapped in the fighting areas. Some of the refugees are with relatives but many live in makeshift camps where some of the radical organizations are already recruiting new followers.
The Pakistani military lets no media into the fighting zone so reports about casualties are sketchy. I feared that it does not do counterinsurgency but fights as it was trained to do - with massive artillery barrages and air raids and with disregard of any collateral damage. Now the first accounts are coming in from refugees. It appears I was right:
Taken together, their accounts — along with those of aid workers and hospital staff — suggest significant civilian casualties, mostly as a result of aerial raids by an army more equipped for conventional war with India than guerrilla warfare with the Taliban.
"Civilian casualties are much higher than those of either the army or the Taliban," said Ali Bakt, speaking at a hospital in the northwestern capital of Peshawar after fleeing the Taliban mountain stronghold of Peochar. He said both sides were firing mortar shells — an inaccurate weapon that often hits targets other than the intended one.
The heavy handed campaign may well press the neo-Taliban out of Swat and other areas. Some may cross the border to Afghanistan and the U.S. hopes to fight them there. But this hammer and anvil operation will also see many flee into the big cities and the fight will carry on there.
With damage in the cities increasing and reports of civilian casualties rising the Pakistani public will at some point no longer support the armies campaign. Then the government will again have to make with the neo-Taliban.
Strategically nothing will have changed but millions will have been uprooted and thousands will be dead or wounded.
Despite what the Obama administration insists to believe the conflict can not be solved by military force. There must and will be a political solution in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan. Meanwhile the civilians have to pay the bloody price for the politicians small-mindedness.
Posted by b on May 28, 2009 at 01:38 PM | Permalink
I'm not sure that nothing will have changed, strategically. I fear it will be worse if the Talibans are a part of the vast urban population of Pakistan. It might be far harder to ever hope to uproot them, or even to reduce their social and political influence - even if this won't be enough, per se, to create an uprising big and powerful enough to take over the country.
Posted by: CluelessJoe | May 28, 2009 2:09:26 PM | 1
And when will the refugees get to go home?
Posted by: dh | May 28, 2009 2:09:48 PM | 2
What America is after is a business-friendly group of nations stretching from the Mediterranean to the Arabian Sea.
Some have called it Syriana.
From that oil-rich base, America can move north into the Caspian Basin to claim control of those enormous petro-reserves.
All under the rubric of fighting terrorism, all to the detriment of Russia and China and India and Brazil. Got to keep on top of the world.
What American voters think of this, and what the rest of the world thinks of this is irrelevant to the masters of the American Empire.
To fail to make the attempt to create/conquer Syriana is to surrender the American Empire without further ado.
And that won't do.
Posted by: Antifa | May 28, 2009 2:12:10 PM | 3
@CluelessJoe - @1 - if the Talibans are a part of the vast urban population of Pakistan
I do not foresee the neo-Taliban to gain any significant number in Pakistani metropol areas except for maybe Karachi. I do not see the danger of Punjabi and Sindh cities falling to Pashtun neo-Taliban.
But if the neo-Taliban set out a fight for land distribution and acting for the poor (like they partly did in Swat) AND if they bridge the ethnicity gaps they may indeed get some mass behind themselves in the rural non-Pashtun areas.
Unlikely so far as they miss a ideological lead but it is a possibility. For now it is still quite small though. The Washington panic is much overdone.
Posted by: b | May 28, 2009 3:33:27 PM | 4
Pakistan, as the world's 6th most populous nation, is an enormously fertile ground for blow back to sprout from. I wonder if America's leaders have considered this. Or maybe they're hoping for it?
Posted by: JohnH | May 28, 2009 3:50:18 PM | 5
There was a "political solution" and it was "the taliban."
Didn't work out so great.
Also, the political class and the bourgeoisie in Pakistan support the military.
Why do you give these people so little credit? They possess volition. It's not as if the US snaps its fingers, and the pakistani elite jump to attention.
Sometimes, as in posts like this, you're an unreconstructed orientalist, b.
Posted by: slothrop | May 28, 2009 4:09:58 PM | 6
my friend, sometimes you are so blind to the realities that pass before your eyes - because of blindness to empire you miss the most fundamental fact - clouded as you are by your hermetic's obsession for theory. for all your 'marxism' - their is very little of the dialectician in you & that always surprises me. there is an absence, also - of any comprehension of contradiction in the way either mao tse tung or althusser wrote about it
& i wonder why you insist so, from time to timpe, that there are no crimes of empire specific to the us & after all these years commenting with you - i find it mostly perplexing but sometimes offensive
Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 28, 2009 5:27:45 PM | 7
Or maybe they're hoping for it?
Ding, ding , ding, ding,ding, we have a thread winner thus far...lol
The elite know what they want and, they do it every ten to twenty years. Death = $$$$.
Sometimes, as in posts like this, you're an unreconstructed orientalist, b.
Haha... yeah, and your a regular Edward Said... hehehe...
Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 28, 2009 5:38:20 PM | 8
a lot of these bombings may not be the work of islamic radicals..but of american or israel forces.
Posted by: brian | May 28, 2009 6:03:22 PM | 9
@ brian I agree with you. That would be true to form for American or israeli secret services. Its obvious that the US wants to break Pakistan up and is playing the divide and conquer game.
Posted by: Charles | May 28, 2009 8:08:00 PM | 10
Actually, under the Taliban, life for Afghanis and Pakistanis was better than it has been at any time in, oh, the last forty years or so.
And don't give me that bullshit about the Taliban somehow being involved with 9-11; that was Bin Laden, and his group, and the U.S. hasn't actually done any better about grabbing them than the Taliban ever did.
The U.S. has the best weaponry in the world and the direct cooperation of a considerable portion of the Afghani, Pakistani, and Iraqi population. With all of that, they haven't been able to eliminate or capture the Al Qaeda leadership. Isn't that what we used as the pretext for invading Afghanistan in the first place? That the Taliban wouldn't hand 'em over to us?
Or rather, i think it was more that the Taliban wouldn't hand 'em over to the U.S. unless it first provided evidence that Bin Laden, et al, were involved, and convened an international court on Afghani territory.
Heh. Funny how well that worked out, isn't it?
This war is about oil and isolating China -- not the evils of the Taliban and 9-11.
Posted by: china_hand2 | May 29, 2009 1:38:50 AM | 11
ch2 11) right on.
AfPak's kismet was sketched in the burning red sands the moment mom.gov.af awarded their world class Ayak copper prospects to MCC:China Copper in April, 2007, and from that very moment, the US:UK Golum lifted it's scaley head, maw dripping with fresh corpses, and turned from Babylon towards Kabul. Remember Obama's words? 'We have to 'surge' in Afghanistan.' Why? Well, it's the "Right War", it's "Hearts and Minds", it's "Global War of Terror Against Those Who Would Do US Harm", Hillary's mouth full of marbles new age acronym GWOT@WW.DUH
Duhh... Defense USA™ is the greatest monster in human history and it needs constant feeding, in taxes and blood.
The 'surge' and 'SWAT' is all about keeping China from executing on the lease, and they only have four years to start up production, or the mining lease lapses. The US:UK placed hard economic sanctions on Iran, to make sure Iranians couldn't build a railway to the sea. That left Pakistan. China built the Baluch port in Gwadar. The rail line had already been mapped for more than 100 years over the Khyber Pass, right through the North-West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where the fighting is now. Then 'surge' became 'AfPak'. Then it was 'SWAT'.
US:UK isn't clearing a path for China to build their railroad to Gwadar, they're making sure that mining lease lapses. Yet even at this moment, tenders are out for the Afghan iron ore reserves, largest and highest grade in Asia, and Afghanistan's billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of gas, all controlled by a US-based leasing advisor, all under a World Bank written Hydrocarbon and Mineral Laws, written (in English!) clear back in 2001 while Cheney feinted around in Tora Bora, preparing for the Golum's attack of empire on Baghdad.
They needed those laws executed and the lease contracts signed, so they installed a Republican Executive form of government in Afghanistan, instead of a parliamentary one. No debate is required or allowed in Republican government. Karzai signed both Hydrocarbon and Mineral Laws in 2003, on the eve of Cheney's GWOT, as a gift of appreciation for being secretly selected to head the US:UK Afghanistan franchise.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2042040.stm Secret electoral ballot.
Soon Karzai will sign away those iron, and oil & gas contracts, before the August presidential elections, even though constitutionally he is no longer the Executive, his term of office and those of his cabinets have already expired. A minor detail. Karzai will automatically be re-elected. His thugs, goons, and political appointees in office are beating political rally go'ers, closing businesses, driving political opponents out of the country, or murdering them ('Taliban did it').
We are fighting and dying and bleeding out our taxes to support a drug and natural resources extortion mafia, that will leave the Afghan people utter peons, and has left 4.3 MILLION people as refugees, the largest refugee population since Rwanda. The Jewish diaspora, that forces US to watch their Holocaust morality play each and every year, hasn't said one word in protest. Over one TRILLION dollars in natural resources, countless BILLIONS in opium poppies, but Afghan people see not one penny.
In 15 years when all the loot has been siphoned off to Dubai, Afghanistan will be just another lawless bankrupt narco state, and by IMF:World Bank and US:UK design.
Your taxes and your investments paid for all this. Stop shopping, grow your own, and move your investments into Swiss franc bonds. But it will only delay the inevitable. The whole world is IMF'd now. Soon the whole world will be a lawless bankrupt narco state. America's kismet was sketched in the stars the moment Ronald Reagan was elected to office by making Iran promise not to release the American hostages until after the elections. By promising Gorbechev support, then looting the Soviets. By Thatcher. By turning US:UK into kleptocracies. That fraud started the whole arms-for-drugs star wars wheel in the sky that keeps on turning, burning.
December 21, 2012.
Say goodnight, Dick.
Posted by: Wu Wu Wu | May 29, 2009 2:30:27 AM | 12
To avoid to get squeezed between the U.S. hammer and the Pakistan army anvil the fighters move with refugees and into the cities. Some will be caught, most not.
Police: Taliban suspects among Pakistani refugees
ISLAMABAD – Police have arrested 39 suspected Taliban fighters hiding among refugees from a military offensive against militants from Pakistan's Swat Valley region, a senior officer said Friday.
The arrests, made in the past few days, were the first of alleged militants among more than 2 million people who have fled the fighting.
Posted by: b | May 29, 2009 8:36:12 AM | 13
And don't give me that bullshit about the Taliban somehow being involved with 9-11; that was Bin Laden, and his groupA,/i>
This is the most outrageous lie repeated with perennial naivete by tangerine here. And now appears to be another gem of common wisdom adorning MoA historicism.
Whatever. And by the UN and Oxfam's own accounts, life under "taliban" rule was atrocious.
These sententious commonplaces in what passes as leftist thought (read: Empire!!) are boring mystifications of reality.
But then, 9'11 was an inside job--the master topos of the "left."
Posted by: slothrop | May 29, 2009 2:16:20 PM | 14
sloth, i don't see a lot of 9-11 talk happening here, and i also don't see it as the master topos of the "left.", so maybe over on the Open Thread you could enlighten some of us skeptics about what your take on the events of that day are. thanx.
Posted by: Lizard | May 29, 2009 2:36:54 PM | 15
@sloth - any source that shows the Taliban were involved in 9/11?
I am not aware of any at all.
Posted by: b | May 29, 2009 2:55:17 PM | 16
And by the UN and Oxfam's own accounts, life under "taliban" rule was atrocious.
Atrocious it may have been --
But if you're going to hold them up as an example, then you can't neglect another point: the UN and Oxfam both agree that Afghanis' life under the Taliban was better than their life under the Americans.
As for 9-11, I presume that Bin Laden and his cronies were responsible for 9-11, but i am honestly so far removed from the events and the evidence that i really cannot say that's anything other than an extremely weak opinion, if even that. Every now and then, though, something comes out that makes me go "Hm!" -- thermite traces in the ruins, for instance.
Since i have no access to the actual evidence, and no means of gaining access or examining it, and wouldn't have the technical expertise to undertake a proper analysis even if i did -- and in addition, since i have received virtually all of my information from government agencies and media sources that i know routinely lie or allow themselves to be manipulated -- then for me 9-11 simply remains a big black hole. i prefer to think that it was done by Bin Laden, and i fully support the all-out effort to bring him to justice, but as for arguing the point, i really have no basis beyond a religious faith.
Thus i reject the decision to create anonymous dungeons like Guantanamo, because i do sincerely believe i have the right to see all of the alleged perpetrators and accomplices tried, in court, before a jury, so that i can hear their side of the story and make up my own fucking mind.
What's more important here, though, is that you, too, have nothing beyond that weakly supported religion -- especially in light of the recent revelations 'bout the Bush junta's political manipulation and torture of supposed "terrorism" suspects and the sloppy imprecision and horrific abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Bagram air base.
Forty years ago i might have believed, unequivocally, whatever the U.S. government determined to be the truth (but aren't we still debating the facts surrounding the Kennedy assassination? If it's such a clear-cut case, why hasn't the Warren Commission been fully disclosed?). These days, i'm not so sure. On that basis, I'd suggest that you are living in the past, my man. Your certainty is fantastic. Perhaps admirable. But it's not something i share.
Posted by: china_hand2 | May 30, 2009 2:03:24 AM | 17
And one more thing:
Not even the U.S. government pretends there were any Afghanis on those planes. All of the accused perpetrators were Middle Eastern Arabs, and the vast majority Saudis.
The most the Taliban could be accused of, under any circumstances, is hosting Al Qaida bases. Yet even that would be extremely debatable.
Posted by: china_hand2 | May 30, 2009 2:06:55 AM | 18
The documentation of the complicity of taliban leadership in the 9/11 atrocities is incontrovertible. They gave refuge to bin Laden. Over and over again.
The problem, as always, is that I can't find the support I need on Counterpunch. Their imprimatur is needed.
But try http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB97/index3.htm>here.
Also, the claim that the "taliban" are some kind of proletarian revolutionaries is just laughable. They're primarily deobandi nutcases ("the mad mullahs") hailing from the hotaki tribe and who have a millennium-long axe to grind with durrani elites.
They gave succor to bin laden. Period.
Posted by: slothrop | May 30, 2009 11:44:38 AM | 19
b, you'd support the "taliban" against your monster "empire" if it looked like the "supply lines get cut."
dream on, b.
Posted by: slothrop | May 30, 2009 11:51:34 AM | 20
The documentation of the complicity of taliban leadership in the 9/11 atrocities is incontrovertible.
simply does not follow from this:
They gave refuge to bin Laden. Over and over again.
The U.S. gave refuge to Bin Laden for a full six years or ten years, back when he was a stduent. Singapore, i think, gave refuge to him when they worked on his kidney. A gazillion more examples can also be garnered, i'm sure, of European nations as well as U.S. allies in the Middle East -- hell, apparently Saudi Arabia gave refuge to him even after he was placed on the U.S.'s most wanted list.
So are you telling me that the U.S, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore were all complicit in 9-11 as well?
If we use that logic, then the U.S. was complicit in the Oklahoma City Bombing, since it gave -- and continues to "give" -- refuge to the right-wing, white-nationalist scum who carried it out.
No, slothrop -- what you're putting forward here not only doesn't carry any legal or diplomatic weight of any sort, it doesn't even pass the most basic ethical consideration. There is no content to this argument, at all.
And that link you provide backs up my own assertions, above:
The Taliban, in order to halt American concern over bin Laden, suggested, in October 1999, a trial by a panel of Islamic scholars or monitoring of "UBL Afghanistan" by the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) or the United Nations (UN).
That's on the front page, and is one of the main points: the Taliban were fully committed to cooperating with the U.S. and bringing OBL to justice. They even offered, as is evident, to place him under house-arrest, under the auspices of either one of two neutral international organizations.
What they refused, however, was to extradite him to the United States as a prisoner.
There is nothing unethical, illegal, "complicit" or "succoring" in those propositions. The Taliban offered to have the man tried under a neutral court, and offered to assist in his incarceration. The U.S. refused. Then the U.S. invaded. Then, after invading, the U.S. discovered that it's not an easy thing to track down a bunch of people who don't want to be found, at least when they're living in the Afghani mountains. Which, as i said, suggests that it would have been at least as difficult for the Taliban to manage, since they don't have all those nifty technological toys and deadly firepower to assist them.
In the process of that learning curve, however the U.S. slaughtered untold tens of thousands of innocents, and has turned untold millions out of their homes and made them into refugees. Not to mention all of the aerial strikes that just happened to 'miss' and drop on top of wedding parties, and children's hospitals, and things like that.
It really doesn't look good, sloth, when the links you provide undermine your own argument. No, indeed -- you've entirely lost the plot on this one.
Posted by: china_hand2 | May 31, 2009 12:47:16 AM | 21
china_hand, imho you gave a much more reasoned response than sloth's comment deserved.
i can almost see the point sloth tries to make; that the evil (US) empire critique can be carried so far that anyone who resists it is unduly elevated to freedom fighter, but the style of his attack is too personal, bitter, and arrogant.
and his constant snide belittlement of counterpunch is interesting. must be something there, but i don't care to hazard a guess.
Posted by: Lizard | May 31, 2009 2:22:11 AM | 22
I have a lot of sympathy for Sloth's crustiness. The U.S. isn't responsible for every evil, and an awful lot of what it gets blamed for isn't blameworthy, in my opinion -- they're just the same human failures that every country is suffering, in this overpopulated age.
However, i'm a much greater believer in international law than is sloth, and i have a lot greater respect for inter-national diplomatic traditions than he does. Call me a bleeding-heart, but i believe that people everywhere deserve to be accorded the same rights and respect as we demand for ourselves. Sloth believes that these two wars were justified, and he hums the 9-11 refrain whenever their justice is questioned; he doesn't want to talk about what really happened, just about the pain and fear we all felt back when the towers came down.
That's one symptom of a weak and fearful heart. Sloth wants to be protected, and he wants to paint the U.S. in the great white monkeysuit, astride a noble charger and carrying the holiest of righteousness deep in its bosom, riding off to punish the evildoers and save our way of life.
He needs reassurance that everything's o.k, and he thinks he's getting it through a fantasy of vengeance.
Except his fantasy isn't what's happening; there's no vengeance involved here, just the slaughter of untold innocents and an obscene profit from the wealth from within the lands they inhabit. 9-11 was an atrocity, but the Taliban had almost nothing to do with it, and what relationship they did have was less significant than the involvement of five or ten other nations -- Saudi Arabia and Pakistan chief among them. For sloth, that isn't a problem because he doesn't really care who gets punished, just so long as his faith in the Great White Policeman is reinforced.
For me, i'd rather see the right people punished, or nobody punished at all.
I don't understand how the deaths of innocent people make sloth feel better, but apparently they do -- or at least, he sure wants us to believe they do. It's a tragic thing. For me, the people who were injured and died in the 9-11 atrocity were innocents; that's what angers me about their deaths.
That's also what angers me about what's been done to Iraq, though, and about what's happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But sloth -- i guess he just doesn't think darkie blood is as valuable as whitey blood.
So since i can't change his heart, i'll content myself with correcting his factual errors.
Posted by: china_hand2 | May 31, 2009 4:33:41 AM | 23
sometimes I want to think that slothrop wants to play devil's advocate and present us with the rightwing authoritarian viewpoint to stimulate some debate. perhaps that is too generous as very often he simply disrupts without any constructive input whatsoever.
whatever, with all his book learnin it would be fair to expect some reasoned arguments rather than hit and run one line attacks.
the main point is that he is afraid and wants some strong men to protect him. and is quite ready to give up everything other brave men have fought and died for if those strong men tell him they need it for his own good.
really quite pathetic actually.
Posted by: dan of steele | May 31, 2009 7:53:11 AM | 24
No. I want to get the facts straight, not engage in wish-fulfillment.
Posted by: slothrop | May 31, 2009 11:03:26 AM | 25
sometimes our slothrop is so far from the facts, i wonder where he actually is
clearly, he detests marxism, especially of the old-school variety especially leninism - but he must go to the new boys in town who have emasculated marx from marx - it is no accident at all that the young cadre in china go to him again & again, not of orthodoxy, but through necessity
i know tho that here - slothrop has read the books like ghost wars, then the first book written on the taliban by a pakistani, then of course he has read robert fisk's great tôme but slothrop works against the very clear evidence they brought to the table
& china hand - while i accept that the mutation of u s imperialism is a slightly different creature - it is everything that lenin asserted about imperialism. i have noted too, for a very long time here - that the mass murder of the other & of their displacement, their exile, their torture at the hands of us forces or their minions has no place in slothrop's arguments- in fact they are clearly absent
somehow slothrop segues into german & french culpability especially their pensionners for the actual crimes of u s imperialism. somehow the 68 year old ex postier from sette is responsible for abu ghraib & bagram. somehow thay are responsible for the massacres of fallujah, tal afar, tikrit & haditha
i think sloth is a good man but he is seriously bent about what constitutes u s imperialsm today - & the crisis of capital today has caught sloth with his pants down - their power & force are clearly those of a wounded animal & he knows it -& so his writings of decumpabilisation are not incidental to his argument but in fact essential
& anybody who hides from the fact that this is a long war with china hides from all the facts
i respect slothrop but i am afraid i do not understand him at all, indeed i understand less & less of his incantations that posess all the force of fever but alas, not of the facts
Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 31, 2009 12:42:51 PM | 26
And I profess no sympathy for any person who holds beliefs contradicted by reality.
Fuck you. Of course, produce any documentation you want demonsatrating, without sophistry and weepy outrage, why the taliban of Omar are not complicit in aiding al-qaeda.
dan, don't try. You're too stupid.
BTW. I don't support the conduct of these wars. Never did.
Posted by: slothrop | May 31, 2009 2:10:42 PM | 27
Well, we agree on that, then.
...produce any documentation you want demonsatrating, without sophistry and weepy outrage, why the taliban of Omar are not complicit in aiding al-qaeda.
I documentation that they aren't involved?
As any good Sophist will tell you: when you're up against the wall, the easiest way out is always to demand that someone give evidence of a negative.
The Taliban were the government of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda was a few hundred leaders presiding over a few thousand fighters, all holed up in mountain redoubts that the U.S. itself has yet to find.
The Taliban were to Al Qaida what the Southern Republican Party is to the Nationalist Front and the KKK.
Set, game, and match.
Posted by: china_hand2 | May 31, 2009 9:01:15 PM | 28
Suit yourself. You didn't honestly read the documentation. Typical.
This is why so many people for 6 years+ have made the most glaring mistakes of judgment about GWOT.
I dunno. Until b erases his (proprietary) database of MoA bullshit, then at least we have an archive even someone as stupid as dan can reference in order to correct many false impressions.
Posted by: slothrop | May 31, 2009 11:19:11 PM | 29
I guess the defense here of the "taliban" here is the enthusiasm to preserve an enclave of neolithic culture, in which bearded men get to stone their bitches.
It's the same enthusiasm that compelled most here to defend Saddam as a perverse autocracy, sure, but he shakes his fist at the yankees! Yahoo!
If we could clone the old nazis and have them nuke Washington, well what a fine day, all around!
Posted by: slothrop | May 31, 2009 11:38:44 PM | 30
Back to hit-and-run again, eh?
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 1, 2009 1:54:38 AM | 31
slothrop @ 30:
I guess the defense here of the "taliban" here is the enthusiasm to preserve an enclave of neolithic culture, in which bearded men get to stone their bitches.
Considering that the people we are putting into power come from the same culture I don't see your point. A while back they convicted a man for converting to christianity and sentanced him to death using his bible as evidence. These are the same people that let bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. None of these people captured any 9/11 terrorists. Pakistan did that. All they did was round up stooges for US bounty money, making the Pentagon look like idiots.
It's the same enthusiasm that compelled most here to defend Saddam as a perverse autocracy, sure, but he shakes his fist at the yankees! Yahoo!
More distorted logic. Do you think putting Iran's buddies into power in Iraq is an improvement? The Dawa party was declared a terrorist organization by our government and was convicted in Kuwait for killing Americans and now their leader is the Prime Minister of Iraq. You want to paint this atrocity as some honorable deed worth the sacrifice?
Posted by: Sam | Jun 1, 2009 2:54:26 AM | 32
Since this otherwise excellent thread has been so disrupted I feel justified in continuing on that vein.
I think I have at least partially figured slothrop out r’giap.
I haven’t seen Hir offer anything I would consider constructive or meaningful for a very long time. SHe is always arrogant and is usually crudely and vulgarly attempting to belittle someone writing meaningfully on this blog. Hir antagonism for b and this blog in general begs the question, “Why in hell would someone keep vexing oneself by visiting and participating in a forum which one so throughly disdains?”
The only two answers that come to me are:
Sloth so throughly hates the political ethos that the MoA so effectively communicates that SHe must try to derail it at every opportunity. I would tend to think then that Hir elite station within the empire SHe so pathetically denies, feels severely threatened here or else SHe is just another paid agent of the empire doing Hir job.
My second thought is that slothrop is suffering severe emotional/psychological pathology and finds Hir excesses of pathos here. Perhaps even psychopathic?
I admire b’s forbearance for not banning slothrop but then wonder why we even keep responding to Hir continual periodic outrages. I recommend, shun, shun, shun and keep the conversation going by ignoring the interruptions.
Posted by: Juannie | Jun 1, 2009 11:20:46 AM | 33
Lookit. i have great respect for what b does here, and I tend to respond to things said here that piss me off.
The predilection at MoA is to consolidate all the historical conflict, everywhere, and assign causation to the titular evil "Empire." So, it hardly matters who fights the empire, because who fights the empire is always an ally. Even lunatic mass murderers and tyrants.
I've said it a thousand times here, if it was up to b, well, saddam forever!
china hand. Do you have anything, besides an opinion, that contravenes the evidence I provided that the taliban were complicit in providing active, strategic support for al-Qaeda? I haven open mind.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 12:34:01 PM | 34
Shut the fuck up, juannie.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 12:35:58 PM | 35
there are a series of books, 'the ghost wars', 'the looming tower', jason bourke's book & also robert fisk amongst many tohers - who have made it abundantly clear exactly what china -hand suggests - that is - at all points a q acted in independance from the taliban - even from elements of the taliban who had benifited directly from the arab fighters
to read these histories is also to know that the arab fighters & their leaders were not popular amongst the afghanis except with psychopaths like hektamayer who always kept his distance from the taliban
no one here is positing taliban as anything other than what they are - a national force waging war against consecutive empires & winning - you don't have to support it but that is the reality & a reading of the monigraphs openly available from american elite military schools will tell you that
you may conssider me a bad poet, slothrop, you may consider me a whiner over my health - but i am not delusional as you seem to be about what is happening, really in irak, in afghanistan & in pakistan. unfortunately, the left in all these countries failed the people or were exterminated by the forces of empire but the people use the tools that they have before them. i am neither surprised by their methods or by their alliances or by the way they can stretch & bend 'timetables'
slothrop, you say you detest the methods of 'empire' but in all the time we have known each other - i have not read one post where you devote your energies to it & for me that is telling
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 1, 2009 1:53:54 PM | 36
& i do not understand why you have to be so bitter with people - in this case juannie or dan of steel, i can well deal with your manner as i've been insulted by experts but yr -harridan like attacks on others possesses a nitterness you have no right to, in fact a bitterness no one has a right to - whatever their condition
class hatred, the most elevated hatred there is - has not a bone of bitterness in it bus is covered completely in reason's shroud
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 1, 2009 1:58:18 PM | 37
Oh good grief. In not one of those books you mention is there the unequivocal proof that al Qaeda acted "independently of Taliban." That's just ridiculous. True, the leadership were often annoyed by bin Laden's sloppy jihad. But, the two were bound ideologically and strategically. And the taliban were provided numerous opportunities to sever support of AQ. But the Taliban never relented in support of Aq, neither after the Africa bombings nor after 911.
These points are supported by the books you mention. You and others here routinely reject the evidence in defense of the hackneyed politics of america-hate.
You can be a leftist and engage the facts honestly. If you did, and your expectations and analysis were less manichaean, you'd occasionally produce an expert augury
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 6:22:32 PM | 38
Haha. I'm mean to people eh? You have an interesting summary of events here, giap.
But who cares. Nobody has feelings in cyberspace.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 6:24:22 PM | 39
You and others here routinely reject the evidence in defense of the hackneyed politics of america-hate.
if that's the case, then how can it be changed? i can only speak for myself, but i sure don't like being hated for simply being born in a particular country, so if the hackneyed politics of america-hate is being unduly wielded by r'giap, b, and others, what can be done?
i'm asking this sincerely. i've tried to understand where you're coming from, sloth, but you make it difficult.
in regard to this particular sticking point about the taliban, which has successfully derailed this entire thread, you make the claim that their complicity in hosting Osama is the reason we (should be?) indiscriminately bombing and murdering people.
you don't really believe that's the reason we're there, do you? payback for 9-11? really?
maybe folks here and elsewhere will stop referring to america as an empire when we stop acting like one (or when it collapses like all other past attempts to dominate the globe).
Posted by: Lizard | Jun 1, 2009 6:53:37 PM | 40
About the taliban responsibilities and justification for intervention: it is insufficiently analytical to assume the US or westernpowers cannot act morally to mitigate crises historically produced by american-european capitalist colinialism. The tragedy of the routine euro-leftist analysis here is that any opposition to the euro-american foreign policy bloc is preferred as a redemption of history. Well, this is stupid, because even our jejune french socialist pensioners here would prefer de gaulle to mullah omar.
But immediately our comrades will protest: oh no! you are are a paranoic babe of empire! mullah omar is no threat to berlin!
Well, how many organic intellectual jihadists did it take to raze two of the biggest buildings on the planet?
Have to do something. Not make an abattoir out of the m.e. etc. But something needs to be done. We can't ignore this. You wouldn't if you were running the show.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 7:15:18 PM | 41
Consider one need for active, aggressive engagement: nuclear proliferation.
According to our euro-comrades, if truman could be trusted w/ the bomb, why not bin-laden? Truman was pure evil, no doubt. But again, if you were running the show, you'd do just about anything you could to counter proliferation. If you were in charge, you'd immediately unbderstand the contradictory burden of posing yourself as the only solution to every problem you create, but you'd soldier on, anyway, until someone convinced you that "leaving" meant no foreseeable threat of proliferation. I mean, you'd demand more than the ipse dixits offered here by our comrades who give no reason for the certainty they have that everything's ok on the southern front, forget about 911.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 7:36:15 PM | 42
Or to put the whole mess in the perspective of a sociology of power, the problem you'd have if you were running the show is your compassion would soon be at odds with the functional imperatives of your own power. There's an inertia of structural power which would quickly problematize your general ideas of disengagement.
I'm all for "leaving"--but let's get real.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 7:49:50 PM | 43
about your health, giap. I wish only the best for you.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 7:52:32 PM | 44
Well, how many organic intellectual jihadists did it take to raze two of the biggest buildings on the planet?
i was told by official sources i no longer trust that the answer to your question, sloth, is 19. as for them being organic intellectual jihadists, if that's what you want to believe, so be it.
as for the rest of your gobblygook, you are smarter than i am, sloth, and your explanations only serves to mystify a simple person like myself. if i was running the show i am sure the inertia of structural power would quickly problematize my general ideas of disengagement, but i'm not running the show. i'm just watching an empire die slowly from the inside.
Posted by: Lizard | Jun 1, 2009 8:48:36 PM | 45
i'm just watching an empire die slowly from the inside.
This is the single, most debilitating error made here for 6+ years. If by "empire" you mean what it should mean, there is every proof you need that the capitalist class has used this crisis to vastly consolidate power.
And to be sure, the persons who managed 911 were definitely "organic intellectuals" and bourgeois arabs.
BTW. If you don't know that much, why are you so arrogant?
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 1, 2009 10:18:52 PM | 46
the capitalist class has used this crisis to vastly consolidate power.
which crisis? 9-11? and who is "the capitalist class?" the western capitalist class? and what "should" empire mean? is the debilitating error being made the assumption that capitalists have national aspects of their greedy aspirations?
i agree "they" are trying to consolidate power, and the consequence will be a global escalation of violence, featuring an eager police state here in the US waiting to scoop up the dissidents, which i assume is desired, since the crony capitalist class will be far removed from the consequences.
also, it's true, i really don't know that much. i guess you just bring out the best in people, sloth.
Posted by: Lizard | Jun 1, 2009 11:19:32 PM | 47
BTW. If you don't know that much, why are you so arrogant?
Asshole. I was beginning to appreciate why I don’t shun you and then you fuck up everything again. Stick to the point and not the personalities sloth.
Posted by: Juannie | Jun 1, 2009 11:28:29 PM | 48
this capitalist class, sloth?
Posted by: Lizard | Jun 1, 2009 11:55:51 PM | 49
Wow. Quite the exchange.
Before i go on, i'm curious if you'd expand on what you mean by this, sloth:
If by "empire" you mean what it should mean, there is every proof you need that the capitalist class has used this crisis to vastly consolidate power.
And could someone clue me in as to what an "organic intellectual" is? Is it just another word for "redneck dumbshit", or am i missing something?
At your behest, slothrop, i went thru the doc-by-doc summaries provided here. I'm sorry, but i just don't have the time to sift through each document and verify the summaries, but if they're accurate -- and i don't see why they wouldn' be -- this FOIA release makes it quite clear: Bin Laden and the Taliban were not very close associates (when the Taliban finally took over the country, they didn't even know exactly where he was); Mullah Omar considered him a "guest", which in Pashtun culture basically means "I've got to die before i do anything that my neighbors might perceive as unjust towards him, or allow that injustice to occur;" the Taliban moved to curtail Bin Laden's foreign activities, specifically w/r to Iran and Iraq (? - that one seems suspicious to me), but also in several other respects, as well; and each time the U.S. demanded "action" on the Bin Laden "problem", the Taliban/Mullah Omar responded by saying "show us the proof".
In the context of the other qualities of the Taliban as laid out by the documents -- that they were fiercely independent, and refused to be managed even by their supposed handlers in the ISI -- the picture suggests that they would have been a force the U.S. could deal with, provided it did not attempt to dominate them and interfere in the management and business of their country.
However, one more element comes out in those documents: the repeated appearance of fossil fuels as a piece on the playing board. Meetings with Unocal, the pipeline that Bhutto insisted was so important for Pakistan, and the repeated references to said pipeline in the State Department communiques all indicate that yes, indeed, the U.S. was already preoccupied with "securing" access to Afghanistan's natural resources, and in using it as a transit arena for exporting oil to Europe.
Further, it's also quite clear from those documents that the U.S. considered Rabbani as "their man", and the Taliban as an unknown -- and worrisome -- force. That suggests that when Rabbani lost power, and the Taliban ascended, the U.S. was already scheming to either sublimate them into the U.S. web of profit, or to find some way to install another Karzai or Bhutto in their place.
All of that supports my version, as enunciated above, and works to undermine your own. So, presuming that i haven't convinced you, what is it that you think i missed, then?
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 2, 2009 12:38:59 AM | 50
P.S. -- i don't really see that this thread's gotten "hijacked". Backlash in Pakistan almost certainly involves the Taliban in its estimation, and there's nothing untoward in re-examining fundamentals.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 2, 2009 12:43:42 AM | 51
I went back and looked over that website again, and then read the PDf that purports to show how the Taliban "gave refuge" to Bin Laden, even despite U.S. "diplomatic" efforts to get him extradited.
First, i'll note: there was no extradition treaty with Afghanistan. That is almost certainly because of U.S. intransigence, not the Taliban's. The U.S. was, from very shortly after the outset of Taliban rule, working to isolate the regime so that it could replace them. That included a refusal to give full diplomatic recognition to the regime. Thus, with no extradition treaty, the U.S. had -- from Afghani eyes -- no legal basis to demand extradition. Even so, the Taliban repeatedly reiterated that they would consider any evidence offered, and would host an international court of neutral legal experts to adjudicate the proceedings. This, the U.S. refused, saying it would only accept the judges' determination if the outcome was foreordained.
Second, the only time the U.S. gave the Taliban anything approaching evidence, it was essentially a power-point list of the charges against Bin Laden -- not the evidence itself.
Third, 20 of November, 1999 (1998?), the Taliban openly state that, without evidence to back up the U.S. stance, turning over Bin Laden would result in the fall of their regime. Can't get any more clear than that.
Fourth, throughout the entire time of this dialogue, the U.S. was placing increasing sanctions upon the Taliban; when the U.S. demanded the Taliban stop opium production, they did -- and as the income dried up, widespread starvation hit the country. When the Taliban asked for food and other assistance, the U.S. refused to give it, citing Bin Laden as an example.
Clearly, from the Taliban's perspective, the U.S. was trying to force Afghanistan to giving over Bin Laden -- yet it refused to provide the evidence or support an official, public review of that evidence.
What is most provocative, however, is that only six months after the Afghans had concluded a treaty with China, to provide for a pipeline that would bring them the food and necessities their people required, the U.S. decided to go to war with them over harboring Bin Laden.
If the U.S. wanted Bin Laden so badly, then why didn't it simply give over the food and supplies, stop trying to isolate the Taliban, and arrange to have a public, UN sponsored judicial review of the evidence against Bin Laden? It would have been an easy enough thing, and -- in theory, at least -- 9-11 would never have happened. It worked rather well in Nuremberg, right? Milosevic? Please name me any other instance where the U.S. went to war against an entire nation simply to secure the person of an alleged war criminal --
one single instance, please.
Oh, wait -- i know why they didn't do it -
because the U.S. refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the ICC, nor of any binding adjudicative power of the U.N.
Really, Slothrop -- it was the U.S.'s provocation and anatagonism towards the Taliban that resulted in their failure to secure Bin Laden. If the U.S. had tried any of those shenanigans with, say, France -- or even Serbia -- they wouldn't have worked, and everyone in Europe and the U.S. would know why. But the Afghanis are Muslim Darkies, so obviously they should jump when the U.S. yells, and then kiss their ass and thank them for the privilege.
The only reason the U.S. got away with invading Afghanistan is because the government succeeded in convincing people that the Taliban were in cahoots with Bin Laden, and the only reason that worked is because so few of the sheeple that inhabit the U.S. are even slightly aware of the harsh austerity that everyday afghanis deal with on a moment-to-moment basis.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 2, 2009 1:17:55 AM | 52
i am reminded, by exchanges like these, how much there is to learn (remember) about "world events"
i really don't know all that much, on account of my relative youth, and there have been some excellent recent posts/commentaries that have been incredible sources of information.
and special props to china_hand for rallying this thread away from invective and back to content.
Posted by: Lizard | Jun 2, 2009 1:55:30 AM | 53
Props to you, for not going ballistic over the "arrogant" comment.
Personally, when sloth drops those bombs, i just sorta see 'em as an opportunity for me to drop my own.
But the internet is too silly for me to get worked up over 'em, and i'm glad you didn't, either.
One of its great advantages, though, is that one never needs to "know" a lot to have a good discussion. The only reason i've got anything to refer to is because slothrop was kind enough to provide the link. I've bookmarked it, even though, much as i'd like to, i doubt i'll ever find the time or opportunity to put it to good use myself.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 2, 2009 2:34:56 AM | 54
In postscript, both the Taliban and AQ were previous clients of the CIA during the Soviet occupation. They fit nicely in a long list of former CIA clients that eventually turned the tables on U.S. strategic interests such as Noriega and Saddam or the Iranian revolution. The "woman scorned" scenario has as much to with why the U.S. chooses to invade (or threaten) these countries as any actual terrorist threat they may have imposed.
Posted by: anna missed | Jun 2, 2009 5:00:01 AM | 55
Your reading of the history is disingenuous in part when the aim is to defend the narrative arc preferred by moa: US creates talib anm/aq, and then "blowback," baby. There is something to support this view, sure.
But, to the point. After 1996, the taliban supported aq. There's just no doubt about it. They ran hekmatyar and some of the militias out of business, but aided and abetted ISI proxies like Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islam (luinked to the mumbai atrocities), and Harakat ul-Ansar, etc.
According to you, china hand, the taliban were intransigent because the US wouldn't recognize the regime because we wanted our durrani puppets to approve an oil pipeline? meh. The taliban were more the allies of Pakistan sponsors of regional terror in kashmir and against India. The taliban from the start were up to their eyeballs in international terrorism.
And it is simply untrue what you say abut the US lack of interest to get bin laden. The US pakistan consulate was exasperated by the repeated failures of the pakistan government to impel the taliban to cooperate. This wax even more the case in 1998 when the Saudis sent al-Turki (I'm pretty sure it was him) to negotiate to have bin laden extradited. The taliban, with tacit support from pakistan, refused.
On and on.
I appreciate your engagement, china hand. But, you're cherrypicking.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 2, 2009 11:28:27 AM | 56
And so, back to the beginning.
Something had to be done. There's just no way the int'l communi9ty can permit the band of pashtuns to run afghanistan. No fucking way. And for good reasons.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 2, 2009 11:31:23 AM | 57
The taliban were more the allies of Pakistan sponsors of regional terror in kashmir and against India. The taliban from the start were up to their eyeballs in international terrorism.
Nonsense. You're inferring relationships that are not supported by the evidence -- or rather, "inventing things".
For instance, i've never mentioned anything about blowback. I can see it as a reasonable explanation for what happened, but i have no evidence one way or the other, and what evidence i've read is slim.
What is undeniable, though, is that the CIA gave money to the ISI to help them create the Taliban, Al Qaida, and other "freedom fighter" organizations. Indirect blowback is something not only debatable, but pretty much incontrovertible. The CIA may not have been running those organizations, but they were paying the people who were and didn't see fit to worry about the future consequences -- that's what typically happens when you get a military and intelligence establishment that are run by ideologues who want to rule the world.
The Taliban don't and didn't care about Kashmir or India. They have only ever cared about Afghanistan, and about bringing law and order to their communities. They weren't interested in exporting Islam, nor their influence -- they were (and remain) intent on keeping their peoples and lands independent of foreign interference. So far as their "cooperation" with organizations concerned with such things went, it would entirely have been at the urging and handling of the ISI.
There is no evidence -- none -- that the Taliban ran or helped run Pakistani ISI creations. The most they can be blamed for -- if you can say that -- is not provoking a second civil war to try and purge their country of those elements.
Something had to be done. There's just no way the int'l communi9ty can permit the band of pashtuns to run afghanistan.
It's not your choice. It's not the "international community's" choice, either -- but let's get real. You don't really mean "the international community". You mean "The U.S., Britain, and their clients of the moment". China, Russia, Pakistan, most of Africa, most of the Middle East, and most of Central and East Asia couldn't really care less if the Taliban run Afghanistan.
And what's more to the point: it's none of your damn business who runs Afghanistan. It's the Afghans' choice, and -- like it or not -- some day the U.S. is gonna hafta find some way to co-exist with the Taliban and the Pushtun.
See, the problem is this: there are people like you, in the U.S. government, who think they get the power to choose who thinks what, and who runs what, all over the world. That's the root of this problem.
If the U.S. had given full recognition to the Taliban and worked with it as the representatives of the sovereign nation of Afghanistan, then the Taliban would have been more cooperative vis a vis Bin Laden. Even with that cooperation, however, the U.S. would still have needed to submit to some basic principles of international law -- which it refused to do. So what we have here is a hubristic, corrupt nation that believes it can reserve the right to dictate to other nations what the law will be, and how it will be interpreted, and how it will be enforced, and reserves the right to wage full-scale war upon the peoples of that nation if it refuses to submit to its authority and vision.
This theory explains clearly the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan and accounts for all of your supposed "justifications" --
yet, as i have pointed out again and again, your account does not allow for the realities of the internal Afghanistan at the time. Commanded by the world to stop opium production, the Taliban did (and since the U.S. has been in Afghanistan, opium production has dramatically risen). Yet when the predicted falloff in revenues created the predicted famine and hardship, the world community that was so unilaterally dictatorial about stopping the flow of opium turned its back on the Afghanis and let them starve -- led, of course, by the U.S., who was crying and weeping over the Taliban's inability to follow through on the proposed pipeline project, and Bin Laden.
But of course, now we're back to the original problem: the Taliban couldn't really hand over Bin Laden without having some sort of firm, incontrovertible evidence that he was doing something wrong -- something they could show their people, to justify handing over this man to what was clearly their enemy, the United States. Yet everything up to that step, they did: they curtailed his movement in-country, they cut off his connections to neighboring countries, and they cut off his contact with local peoples. Beyond that, they would have had to start a second civil war to eliminate him -- and clearly, that's something they were unwilling to do.
Anyone who has the slightest understanding of the last forty years of Aghan history can easily understand why, too -- but for some reason, the U.S. diplomatic offices couldn't. They just couldn't figure out why the Taliban weren't willing to provoke that civil war. They just couldn't figure out why these darkies weren't jiggy-dancing when commmanded. They just couldn't figure out why there might be some need for the U.S. to compromise on some of these core "principles" -- if you can call them that -- regarding international law, state-to-state relations, and Afghan independence.
Call it what you want -- State Terrorism, extortion, tyranny, whatever -- but it's certainly not fair, just, reasonable, nor -- in any society, anywhere -- acceptable.
The fault for not bringing in Bin Laden lies squarely at the feet of the U.S. Department of State, the CIA, and the U.S. and British petrochemical industries, all of whom were squarely fixated upon regime change as the only option.
This explanation of events accounts not only for all the documented evidence -- as in, every last shred, including petrochemical meddling and the State Dept. policy of regime change, neither of which you feel the need to include in your own account -- but it also manages to show why the Afghan government's actions were not, in fact, the addled insanity you would like to portray them as, but were in fact careful and calculated overtures towards cooperation that were overtly, purposefully twisted and ignored by the U.S. mechanisms of government.
So yes, we're back to the beginning: you lose. Again. Get with it, Slothrop -- if you're going to talk foreign policy and declare that you have tangible, real solutions, then you're going to need to do more than just pretend like there's one side to the argument.
There is a world that exists beyond the borders of your country, and believe it or not, they aren't your niggers.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 3, 2009 1:12:17 AM | 58
Again, why so arrogant when what you offer are only opinions about matters in the world? I don't get it. I really don't.
Here's some links which I think do a more than adequate job disabusing your odd certainties about the world:
About the links of AQ/taliban to ISI, well, boy, there's just scads of of information, particularly the much more focused documnenbtation proving taliban's safe harbor for the notorious HUA:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB253/index.htm>The aftermath of the 1998 cruise-missile strikes
There are so many peer-reviewed journal articles documenting these relationships. Just google scholar.
And in Lawrence Wright's book giap recommends, but of course hasn't bothered to read, there's really a lot on the early relationship of taliban and bin laden.
Oh well. I'm sorry, they're not my facts, they're just facts. What the fuck is a guy like you going to do w/ them, china hand?
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 3, 2009 10:37:56 AM | 59
it is slothrop who has not read his wright - as is usual - his reading is cursory - & a close reading would reveal the most sketchiest of relationship between aq & the taliban & that relationship like yemen was heavily determined by the economic input of ubl
slothrop tries to create a material link between them & little exists - even his sources would tell him that if he was honest. so all this talk about facts is in fact a refuge from the facts. steven coll's book , 'ghost wars' is even clearer on this & he ulucidates in what way the relationship between the cia & the taliban were a great deal closer than the one beween aq & the taliban
it seems in this particular argument slothrop is doing his best in creating this fictive relationship - to hide the relation of the empire's intelligence agencies & especially their minions, the saudis with the taliban & if the ruth be told there is no complete ideological thrust within the taliban except anti imperialism. mullah omar was just a dressed up warlord as was so called lion of pashtun
slothop, needs for there to be a state to exist - & no such state existed - at best a series of alliances of which which aq & its arab fighter were far down the line
wright makes clear in his book that if there was a possibility of a relationship - it would have been with the palestinian theoretician azzam who was far more deeplt respected
as always slothrop is selective with his so called 'facts'
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 3, 2009 1:45:36 PM | 60
& let's be fran, outside the demented dramaturgy of the war on terror - ubl & his egyptian comrades are a small srct - of no real strategic importance
what is happening in pakistan is about pakistanis
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 3, 2009 2:12:03 PM | 61
I agree, r'giap.
Arrogant? No. You're confusing righteousness with ego. I feel frustration at your antagonistic rhetoric, and sizzable dismay at your mundane refusal to reconsider, but not much else beyond that.
Your first set of documents, "Taliban Godfather?", reinforce everything i've said above: that the Pakistani ISI was managing all of these various groups, that the Taliban was only one client amongst many, and that the Taliban maintained a firm and superior independence from the rest of the ISI's clients.
In the earlier group of documents higher above, it's made clear that Bhutto -- who,i should add, i consider little more than a shill (but yes, slightly more) for the most cynically greedy elements of Pakistani and U.S. society -- and her clique were "worried" by the Taliban. Documents linked to earlier today on this blog make clear that, among the various juntas vying for control of Pakistan, Musharraf was a moderate secular actor from within the Pakistani military; Sharif had fired quite a few generals who represented a more secular view, while also pushing forward Pakistan's nuclear plan, and at the same time proposing a more conservative legal system based on the Qu'ran -- i.e: clearly, a Saudi Wahhabist representative, and it was that country to which he fled at the time of his forced exile.
What your first set of documents present now is nothing more than a list of various groups funded and promoted by the ISI, on behalf of the Saudis, to at one and the same time antagonize India and Iran while supporting "Islamic Fundamentalism" in Afghanistan. It's all about Pakistani influence over the various groups, and throughout the documentation no mention is made of Taliban co-dependence, or assimilation of these groups into the Taliban. Instead, it is repeatedly reiterated that these groups are independent operatives concerned with non-Afghani objectives.
Thus, we have the grand triangle: the independent Taliban, the confused Pakistani elite, and the foreign jihadis balanced between them.
Once again, i reiterate: the Taliban are not the ISI, and they weren't the handlers of the ISI's clients. The most the Taliban can be accused of is going along with the ISI's plan -- or, in other words, the Taliban and Pakistan are much like the U.S. and Israel.
But now we get back to the real problem: the only reason ISI influence over the Taliban wasn't ameliorated is because the U.S. Dept' of State wanted to keep the Taliban at arms length, to isolate them, because they had already fixed upon regime change. There were many, many opportunities to draw them closer, but the U.S. was determined -- for reasons of profit, and ideology, and geopolitical greed -- to make them an enemy.
The second group of documents you present confirms that analysis: because of the combined targeting of Al Qaida and the Taliban, and because of the undeniably inhuman missile strikes the Clinton administration made upon Kenya, Tanzania, and Somalia, the U.S. wound up driving these two enemies into one another's camps.
But let's re-examine that: if, in 1998, Al Qaida and the Taliban were just discovering their affinity for one another, then there were many months -- if not years -- before the 2001 attacks during which the U.S. could have made rapprochement with the Taliban and isolated Al Qaida.
But they didn't. Because the U.S. wanted regime change. Because the U.S. felt it could dictate the terms upon which the Afghan-U.S. relationship would develop. Because the U.S. just didn't think Bin Laden was really all that dangerous a guy.
In fact, throughout that entire period, the Taliban were constantly giving the most simple and reasonable preconditions for cooperation:
* U.S. recogniation of a neutral, third-party adjudicator to review the evidence being called against Bin Laden,
* Full recognition of the Taliban-led government by the U.S, and
* A public review of the claims against Al Qaida.
But one would be a fool to believe that these three points were the only places the U.S. could have made headway on the relationship.
Medical and food supplies could have been delivered; agricultural and fiscal aid could have been delivered; beyond that, the U.S. could have simply facilitated greater trade between the Taliban and European countries, or could have pressured the Saudis to curtail or mollify their promotion of such ferocious Wahabbism, or pushed to reduce the tensions between Pakistan and India --
any of those measures would clearly have been either welcomed by the Afghan government, the Pakistani government and ISI, or welcomed by the local peoples-- but the U.S. didn't do any of those things. Instead, it chose to enforce sanctions against the Taliban and Afghan people while dictating to them the terms upon which their surrender would be accepted, economicall isolating Afghanistan and making the Taliban into martyrs of the people, while at the same time pouring pots of money into the Pakistani government and ISI -- money which was then used to finance the self-same organizations that the U.S. is now claiming were consequences of the Taliban ascendancy.
Mistake, after mistake, after mistake, and every one following the same pattern of over forty years of mistakes --
you insist that the Taliban were never capable of negotiation and diplomacy, but the facts suggest the opposite: the U.S. was the intransigent dictator in that particular relationship, and it was the Taliban leadership who slowly underwent a transformative shift against the aggression being aimed at them.
Again: no arrogance here. Just facts.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 3, 2009 2:17:30 PM | 62
Show me anywhere in looming tower or the fiske book where anything I say in not supported.
Ok. I'll show you. From Looming Tower:
In a place where magical legends sprouted so easily, bin Laden soon became a part of jihadi lore. Many of the Arab Afghans swore fealty to Azzam, but it was bin Laden who was paying their rent. His wealth and his charity immediately distinguished him. He passed through hospital wards, a lanky, singular figure, handing out cashews and chocolate to the wounded fighters while carefully noting their names and addresses. He built a theological library for the edification of the mujahideen who were killing time in the city, and he tutored at least one young Afghan warrior in Arabic. He gave money to Sayyaf to start the University of Dawa al-Jihad just outside Peshawar in the Tribal Areas, which would become internationally known as a terrorist training academy. He also pitched in at Jihad, the Arabic-language magazine that Azzam published. He was not politically sophisticated, like some of the others in the bureau, but he was tireless-"an activist with great imagination," Abdullah Anas, an Algerian who worked with him in the Services Bureau, observed. "He ate very little. He slept very little. Very generous. He'd give you his clothes. He'd give you his money."
Bin Laden did not, however, make much of an impression as a  charismatic leader, especially in the shadow of Abdullah Azzam. "He had a small smile on his face and soft hands," a hardened Pakistani mujahid recalled. "You'd think you were shaking hands with a girl." He was shy and serious, and he struck many as naive. When he laughed, he covered his mouth with his hand. A Syrian who eventually became a confidant of bin Laden remembered their first meeting: "It was in November 1985. He had no name at the time. We were in a prayer hall in a guesthouse. People asked him to talk, so he talked about horses. He said if you love a horse, he will respond to you. That's what was in his mind, horses."
Azzam was close the Hekmatyer who commanded the little moron jihadists. Hekmatyer was ousted by the taliban--the same taliban who supported bin laden, you cow.
You play this goddamned game every time. I'm sick of it. You're a charlatan.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 3, 2009 2:22:39 PM | 63
i find it strange that you are now leaving coll off your reading list - because he simply does not provide the facts that would support your erroneous argument. even in the citation you use from wright - you elucidate only what i have repeated - that the relation between the taliban & aq were never deep & the relations were built not on laden's ideology but his cash. that is the rude fact. ubl is nothing more than a pious charles manson & mullah omar litlle more than one representative of a quite large leadership
& you'd have to accept slothrop that amongs different schisms within the mujahadeen - things were a little fluid - & one ally one day could quite easily become the enemy the next. & from all the evidence i've seen the taliban were prepare to give ubl away especially with the enticements from saudia arabia
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 3, 2009 2:45:03 PM | 64
China hand, I think you have lost contact with our argument
that the Taliban was only one client amongst many, and that the Taliban maintained a firm and superior independence from the rest of the ISI's clients.
Dude, the taliban harbored these groups linked to int'l terrorism. You dispute this. Well, good grief, where is your proof?
the independent Taliban, the confused Pakistani elite, and the foreign jihadis balanced between them.
So, they're "independent"--ok. So what? This has nothing to do w/ the argument, but ok, I'll play along. If independent, then this makes the taliban were all the more culpable for aiding AQ.
n 1998, Al Qaida and the Taliban were just discovering their affinity for one another, then there were many months -- if not years -- before the 2001 attacks during which the U.S. could have made rapprochement with the Taliban and isolated Al Qaida.
ugh. Your chain of events here is a little non-linear. taliban won kabul in '96, the african embassy bombings in august 7 1998, clinton's bullshit attack on august 20.
Before all that, Turki was in kandahar in june of '98 to meet Omar and negotiate a deal to hand over bin laden. Indeed, the taliban were so independent, they told the prince to fuck off.
I dunno, china hand. What's the point with your constructions here? I acknowledge the history and doing so doesn't weaken my opposition to US foreign policy or opposition to the conduct of our interventions/wars. I'm still devoted leftist.
The reason you do what you do is to defend this uselessly facile belief that America (and 'america' in the vernacular of the "empire" horseshit is an infinitely malleable abstraction) is essentially the source of all evil. But, the facts donm't really support this and as we see over and over leads to the most appalling errors of judgment.
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 3, 2009 2:57:41 PM | 65
ok. I'll read 'ghost wars'
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 3, 2009 3:00:38 PM | 66
there seem to be a number of readings of what exactly was the relationship between turki & his meetings with the taliban - some are not clear at all
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 3, 2009 3:08:00 PM | 67
& what b has been particularly helpful is tofflow the fluidity of relationship in pakistan & in afghanistan
in recent history though - the relation between the cia & its outstation at the isi - & the nuclear gang - seems at once the most complicated to really follow - how isi 'rebellion' to their erstwhile masters was carried out practically
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 3, 2009 3:17:15 PM | 68
I have a couple of weeks to actually catch up[ on some reading. besides ghost wars, can anybody suggest essential readings regarding gwot?
Posted by: slothrop | Jun 3, 2009 3:31:06 PM | 69
"9/11 Synthetic Terror" by Webster Griffin Tarpley.
I'm only half way through it but it is a new perspective that seems pertinent to either a capital based class or imperial based class.
Moles & Patsys which since GLADIO we've known have been official tension stratagies.
Posted by: Juannie | Jun 3, 2009 11:21:26 PM | 70
So, [the Taliban]'re "independent"--ok. So what? This has nothing to do w/ the argument, but ok, I'll play along.
It has everything to do with it. As independent players with the most stable and ubiquitous power in Afghanistan, the Taliban were not ideological clients or a puppet regime of the ISI, but were mainly beholden to its money and weaponry -- for obvious reasons: it kept their people fed.
If independent, then this makes the taliban were all the more culpable for aiding AQ.
An "Independent" force is not equivalent to an "authoritative" force.
In the U.S., the U.S. government and military are the authoritative, undisputed governors of force. In Afghanistan, the Taliban were only one player that was balanced among many -- more powerful than the rest, to be sure, but still susceptible to fragmentation, conspiracy, and rebellion.
Since the Taliban were not the authoritative force in Afghanistan, it's just stupid -- stupid, bullheaded, and ignorant -- to claim that they "harbored" Al Qaida and these other groups.
It would be like claiming Italy "harbored" the Americans during and after World War II. The only difference between the foreign Jihadis in post-revolution Afghanistan and the Americans in post-World War II Italy is that the Americans eventually left.
The Jihadis stayed because the chaos in that land was so great, their coffers so deep, the area so secure, the rest of the world so hostile, and their relative power so great that staying was more attractive than leaving.
See, in order for you to say the Taliban "harbored" these groups, its you who needs the proof. Does the Republican Party harbor the white nationailst groups in the U.S.? Does it harbor christian fundamentalist terrorists? Did it harbor the leadership of the Contras? To make those claims, one needs to provide proof -- proof of a client-patron relationship, proof of the power to protect and influence, proof of the intent to utilize and exploit the client as a tool of state.
You have provided none of those things. You have provided a bunch of documents wherein the Taliban openly state that if they were to hand over Bin Laden, there would be renewed civil war. You have provided documents where the Taliban respond to unilateral U.S. demands that they abrogate Bin Laden's civil and human rights with reasonable requests for a formalized state-to-state relationships and regular, public legal hearings.
That's not "harboring"; these are the mundane responsibilities of international diplomacy and national leadership. Unless you can show tha the Taliban were protecting the Taliban with the intent of funding, supporting, directing, and utilizing them as a tool of state -- unless you can show that, at any time, the Taliban had it fully within their power to unilaterally expel the Taliban, without risk of destabization, then your proof is simply inadequate.
Basically, the problem here is simple: you don't believe anything the Taliban say. You think everything they said was actually a code for something else they really meant; i wouldn't have a problem with that, except that you don't apply the same cynical guesswork to the actions of the United States -- instead, you take the pronouncements of that bureaucracy at face-value.
I'm not such a simpleton. I am as skeptical of the Taliban as i am of the United States; in every case, i insist on weighing who stands to profit, how, and what the long-term goals of the actors appear to be.
In the case of the Taliban, that's easy: they wanted to bring peace and security to a land ravaged by decades of total warfare.
In the United States, however, it's not so easy: why, exactly, was the United States so concerned with a country that is, quite literally, on the opposite side of the globe from them? And why, exactly, did the U.S. decide antagonism and, ultimately, regime change were the only fitting responses to the rise of the Taliban?
Time has given us the answer to that: oil. Natural resources. Isolation of China. When faced with the possibility of rebuilding Afghanistan, the United States turned away -- just as it did when the Taliban were in power, just as it always does once its guns have achieved the desired short-term effect.
It has repeatedly happened in Central America, and South America, and Africa, and in so many other places, as well.
The problem is, you can't see the forest for the trees. So maybe it's time you took a step backwards and reconsidered the world from the perspective of human needs and human rights, rather than a game.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 3, 2009 11:23:19 PM | 71
*unless you can show that, at any time, the Taliban had it fully within their power to unilaterally expel Al Qaeda, without risk of destabilization, then your proof is simply inadequate.
Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 14, 2009 10:53:52 PM | 72