New Year, same Afghan problems
As the New Year approaches, it is a great time to look back and reflect on what was accomplished or in many cases what has failed in the past year. The United States has been at war for over 9 years in Afghanistan but has yet to see major gains despite claims from the Obama Administration that there has been significant progress.
Voices for Creative Nonviolence Co-coordinator Kathy Kelly says, “This is a land that belongs to the people of Afghanistan. A prior question should be what do Afghan people want for their country? Not, what kind of designs does the United States have on their resources around their geo-political placement. It is a very cruel attitude which been adopted by the Obama Administration towards average ordinary Afghan people who meant the US people no harm.”
It was only in September when he announced there would be a troop drawdown in Afghanistan a year from then but with insurgents continuing to beat back US troops it does not appear likely. However, more recently the administration has made a statement that pushes back the withdrawal date to 2014. It seems as if the withdrawal date will continue to be pushed back, making many wonder when or if this war will ever end.
For example, the situation in Taliban controlled Southern Afghanistan, where the most precarious fight between the US and the Taliban is occurring; control of the region has remained virtually unchanged. In fact, the 16 districts in the north and east have gotten even worse for US and allied troops. There has been a spike of attacks from the Taliban where it was once controlled by US and allied forces. The inconsistent and fragile success the military achieves seems to only be short lived blips on an otherwise failed campaign.
Founder of Brave New Films Robert Greenwald says, “We have only seen the situation get worse and fortunately the public opposition has increased. When I went to Afghanistan, when I interviewed people there for our re-think Afghanistan films and for our re-think Afghanistan videos, it’s the third poorest country in the world. Literally, when you step of the plane and you see that extraordinary poverty it is very clear that we are trying to militarize a problem that won’t be solved by occupying that won’t be solved by killing people. The terrible pain of this is there is so much we could be doing with the billions of dollars that we are wasting in a truly unconscionable fashion.”
What may be the toughest pill to swallow is the US mainstream media won’t even report what is really happening on the ground in Afghanistan. It seems if there is a surge in violence in any region in Afghanistan, the Pentagon will release a statement for the mainstream media to report saying the US is “taking the fight to the Taliban”. Instead of investigating further, the mainstream media appears to be more concerned with entertainment news, such as the Kardashian’s new product, than a war that has claimed the lives of thousands of Americans and innocent Afghan civilians.
On the topic of mainstream media’s lack of coverage, Robert Greenwald adds: “I think it’s a combination of factors, first of all, it’s only been in the last 5 or so years that the networks have forced news to become an income source the same way they look at sports or entertainment. That leads to a race to the bottom that leads to the worst kind of coverage of the silliest and most mundane kind.”