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Obama's Afghan Politics
Publication date: 2009-03-09

The Reasons and Consequences of Obama's Afghan Surge

Obama was elected because the Bush policies had become discredited and unpopular with the American Public. One of the main sources of this unpopularity was the Iraq War. So Obama promised the American Public to end the Iraq War. But Obama's opponents sought to use such "anti-war" stance to label Obama as "weak", "unpatriotic", and "soft-on-terror". To counter this attack Obama adopted a "strong", "patriotic", "tough-on-terror" stance, saying that he would increase the American military involvement in Afghanistan.

Politically, it was a very clever move - those who were against the Afghan war were against the Iraq War as well and would not have voted for his opponents. They were his captive constituency. But, by taking a "tough", "patriotic" stance on Afghanistan he was also attracting the sector of the American Electorate for whom belligerent patriotic rhetorics were attractive.

But once the elections are over, stances and electoral promises have to give way to actions. And, now, Obama is faced with having to escalate the American military involvement in Afghanistan.

But what can the American military achieve in Afghanistan? And what are the reasons and purpose of the Afghan War?

Following the Events of the 9/11, George Bush requested the then Afghan Government (generally referred to as "The Taliban") to hand over Osama bin Laden, who was at the time in Afghanistan, to the Americans. The Afghan Government answered this demand by saying that they would hand over Osama bin Laden to be put on trial in a country where he would be given a fair trial.

The American response was to throw some bombs on Kabul, and to repeat their request to hand over Osama bin Laden without any conditions. The Afghan Government repeated their offer to hand over Osama bin Laden to a country where he would be given a fair trail. The Americans responded with massive bombings of Afghan cities and invasion of the country. The Afghan Government (the Taliban) left the cities and dispersed in the countryside to wage a guerilla war against the Americans and their allies.

So, the only reason that the Taliban are fighting the Americans and their allies is because they want to liberate Afghanistan from the foreign invaders and from the government of Hamid Karzai installed by the foreign invaders. They never had any intention to attack the USA, Britain, or any other country. And had the foreign invaders, and the Karzai government imposed by them, left the country, the Taliban would have stopped their military resistance and returned to governing Afghanistan as they did in the past.

But, apart from Obama's commitment to deliver on his electoral promise to increase the American military involvement in Afghanistan, what is the purpose of this involvement?

From Obama's indications of his willingness to "talk to the moderate Taliban" it appears that he wants the Taliban to stop resisting occupation of Afghanistan by the American and other foreign troops, and to accept whatever government the Americans would want to impose on Afghanistan.

But is this occupation and intervention in the ways the Afghans are governing themselves legitimate?

We have considered the reasons given by the Americans and their allies for the original invasion under the Bush Administration in "Spinning Another War?", and explained why these reasons were not legitimate.

Is Obama's electoral stance of "being tough" a valid reason for continuation and expansion of the occupation of Afghanistan by the Americans and their allies?

The obvious answer is: "It is not".

And this is why as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan and there are enough Afghans left alive to fight these troups, the Afghans will continue with their fight. Just as they had fought against all the previous attempts by various foreign powers to "conquer" Afghanistan and impose on it governments of their own choice.

If Obama thinks that the Afghans can be subdued by digging wells and building schools, then he is a victim of the Bush-Blair Era propaganda. And the Russians had tried this in their war and failed, although some of their buildings still remain.

Some say, but in the past the Afghans had good relationships with the Americans. But, this was when the Americans were helping the Afghans in their war against the Russians. The only way such friendship can be resumed is by the Americans to start supplying weapons and munitions to the Taliban, so that they could use them against the British and whoever else is still left from George Bush's "Coalition of the Willing". Is this what Obama going to do to win the Afghan "hearts-and-minds"?

The truth is that by having taken a "smart electoral stance" in his elections campaign, Obama has bought himself a pair of concrete boots which will drag him down to his political demise probably even in the first term of his office. The only way he can "win" in Afghanistan is massive genocide. Will such "victory" buy him a second term of American Presidency? Anything else means a continuous campaign getting nowhere, but creating a continuous drain on American resources, a stream of body bags being flown back home, and a stream of news flashes of Afghan women and children being murdered by American troops. Will such background to the Obama Presidency be helpful to his chance of being elected for a second term?

Of course, he could say that, having taken a closer look at the Afghan Issue, he realised that it is in the best interests of America and of the Remnants of the Coalition of the Willing to pull out of Afghanistan and to let the Afghans rule their country the way they choose, and then to pull out for good. But, such move requires not "clever" rhetorics and arrogance, but wisdom and humility - the qualities few people in politics possess. So, is the Afghan War to continue?

But, because this war has no legitimate reason, continued American involvement in this war will add President Barak Hussain Obama's name to the list of the names of such war criminals as George W. Bush, Anthony Blair, and their accomplices.

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