By M M Zuhair
Former US President George Bush’s and then British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s post 9/11 ‘War on Terror’ cannot go on, without resuscitating the dying ISIS and Al-Qaida. It is these ‘terror outfits’ created and fostered primarily by the US, that give questionable legitimacy for the US, Britain and the NATO to invade and occupy third world countries.
A video clip in You-tube, Twitter and Facebook shows defeated 2008 US presidential candidate the late John McCain meeting with ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in the US, in 2013, before Baghdadi launched his terror attacks in 2014. The video clip remains uncontradicted. US Senator Rand Paul had said the main aim of the terror organisation was toppling Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. In September 2014, General Thomas McInerney told Fox news that the US helped build ISIS. Al Baghdadi was reportedly with the US armed forces from 2016 to 2018 in a military base in Iraq. Until his death in 2019, Baghdadi continued to speak for the ISIS.
The role of the US in transforming Saudi engineer Osama bin Laden as the Goliath of Al Qaeda responsible for 9/11 is well known. The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was said to be to capture bin Laden claimed to be in hiding in Afghanistan. In 2011 the US inexplicably did not want to capture bin Laden in Pakistan and gather vital intelligence from the man whom the world was told was the supreme master mind of the terror outfit Al Qaeda. He was not captured but deliberately killed in Pakistan by US marines while the US President Obama and aides watched the execution of Osama from Washington via a special link. The US disinclination to gather intelligence of how bin Laden ran his destructive terror network and that, too, without using the internet or the mobile phone, gave the impression that this guy was bloated out of proportion by the US to justify foreign invasions. But then the war on Afghanistan continued, notwithstanding the elimination of bin Laden, for another 10 years with no convincing reason for continuing the war in Afghanistan!
The US defeat and exit from Afghanistan on August 15 must be critically watched in Sri Lanka from the perspective of the undaunted military might of the US-NATO combine seeking its next proxy war with China in our region, targeting South Asia. We need to watch which country in South Asia might get selected by the empire for the proxy war with China. However, what are some misguided long lost politicians and certain spokesmen for the Western arms industry as well as a few genuinely misguided persons, talking about? They talk of the Afghan Talibans spreading their terrorist tentacles in our neighbourhood! If that is true such attempts must not only be condemned but also be effectively prevented. But we need to remember that the Talibans have enough extremely serious economic woes, arising from 43 years of wars, to be sorted out in Afghanistan. They have damning security and economic issues that will likely cripple the country. The Taliban have no time for adventures outside their country! Indeed, there is no proof of any such Taliban or Afghan activity outside of Afghanistan, except links with Pakistan and peace talks in Qatar!
On the contrary, those spreading news of the Taliban militants becoming a threat to other countries in the region are preposterously preparing the ground, perhaps unwittingly, for legitimising the US-NATO military adventure in our region. They may be sowing the seeds, inspired by arms manufacturers! The time has come for Sri Lankans to know briefly at least, some aspects of what really happened in Afghanistan during the 20 year US rule and what would be the plight of people in our region, when and not ‘if’ the US-NATO go ahead with war mongering in our region.
The US and NATO countries designated the Taliban as ‘terrorists’. By what standard of definition do a people who resist foreign invaders become terrorists? Of course, the Taliban set up a ruthless machinery to meet the external challenge. They won over the Soviets in 1989 and the multinational Western forces by August 2021. They won, not because they were terrorists but because they had no choice but to defend their land from the enemy and, more importantly their way of life. Of course, some may not agree with the life style of the Veddas, the Red Indians, the aborigines or the Taliban! But this does not mean we support the Taliban. If we put ourselves into a possible parallel situation of the US armed forces entering Sri Lanka forcibly, as they did in Iraq and many other countries, every Sri Lankan, excluding fifth columnists, will fight the American forces to their last drop of blood. Because we fight invaders with our hands, knives, swords, axes, bows and arrows, petrol bombs and AK 47s, do we become terrorists?
Western journalists today are virtually at war to frighten the world that ‘Taliban terrorists’ together with ISIS remnants are the greatest threats to peace in the rest of Asia! They will tell peace loving Asians that those who fought the multiple foreign armed forces who came to Kabul for the laudable purpose of educating and employing Afghan women were all barbaric terrorists! They will not say, that the Talibans, successors of the Mujahideens whom the West glorified as freedom fighters were also by the same yard stick freedom fighters!
They will not tell the world that if the US, the UK and NATO stopped the unceasing wars on other countries, the ISIS and the Al-Qaida, virtually dead, could now be buried! How could they? They can leave the Afghans and the girls to the wolves as they themselves have portrayed, but will never ever abandon their own powerful merchants of war, who alone won the Afghan war, with their factories working two shifts for the past 20 years!
It was only the other day that Pope Francis, in his most welcome Easter message of 3rd April 2021 slammed these powers for spending on military adventures at a time of grave pandemic! Unfortunately, the US military –industrial complex will not listen to the Vatican. The unfortunate weakening of the faith amongst the flock has regrettably emboldened the arms industry to forget accountability and beat the war drums across the world, except North America and Europe! They put back the clock to destructive levels in every country they marched in, at least by three decades.
We need to know, for our own sake, what happened to our neighbour-Afghanistan.
Let us get to a briefing of the US governance of the Afghans from Americans themselves! International media coverage of the fall of Afghanistan, demonstrates unequivocally the struggle of Western journalists and op-ed columnists to veil the world of the ‘failed’ imperial invasions by continuously focusing on the ‘future plight of the Afghan women and girls’ whom these powers abandoned on the dangerous street overnight!
Fortunately, not all Western journalists are cribbing for their copper. Some amongst them have exposed the lies and deception perpetrated by these powers on Afghanistan, who made the Taliban what they are today. Let us hear at least one of them.
James Bovard is the author of several books, regular contributor to USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. He quotes George Bush from his State of the Union address made on 29th January 2002, which Bovard said frightened Americans with a bogus nuclear threat: “Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears… We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities in caves used by Al Qaeda-George Bush! Bovard says senior CIA and FBI officials followed up with ‘background’ briefings for the media. But this wanton lie got soon exposed! Two years later, Bush administration officials admitted that the President’s statement was completely false and that no nuclear power plant diagrams had been discovered in Afghanistan. Bovard quoted Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Edward McGaffigan’s evidence on this falsehood at closed hearings on Capital Hill.
Bovard says that Bush’s lies on a nuclear threat from Afghanistan paved the way to his far more destructive lies regarding Iraqi chemical and biological weapons in his 2003 State of the Union address. What about Tony Blair’s canard that Saddam Hussain could strike Britain in 45 minutes. These war criminals are still at large because of the staff level complicity of the United Nations with the US and Britain. That is another subject.
Bush, in his 2002 State of the Union address evangelised his Afghan war as the greatest triumph for “women’s liberation” in modern times. Bush boasted “The mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes…Today women are free” But a New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof who visited Afghanistan, two years later, in 2004 reported that “many Afghan women are still captives in their homes… The rise of banditry and rape has had a particularly devastating effect on women. Because the roads are not safe even in daylight, girls do not dare to go to schools or their mothers to health centres”. That was under US-NATO rule in Afghanistan.
According to Bovard, “Since the start of Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan, the US military has poured money into Afghan government operations guilty of BACHA BAZI–turning young boys into sex slaves. The Pentagon ignored the abuse until a 2015 New York Times expose of American soldiers who were punished for protecting atrocities against young boys”. A 2017 Pentagon Inspector General report revealed that some US troops were “told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation (sic), that it was not a priority for the command, or that it was best to ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it.”
“Even more damning, the US military and CIA brazenly tortured Afghans, atrocities that President Bush perpetually denied even though it was reported as early as December 2002. In 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported allegations that Afghan soldiers detained by the US government had suffered “repeated beatings, immersion in cold water, electric shocks, being hung upside down and toenails being torn off.”
The result: resistance to foreign atrocities and scandalous sexual abuse grew from strength to strength!
They know only too well that Al Qaeda and ISIS can be buried if the US and NATO stop invading other countries. But the arms factories and the wars which provide fabulous enrichment to the already rich and employment to nearly a million soldiers at the likely cost of their lives will never be ended!