Annals of Liberation: Bitter Tears at the Top of the "Good War"

Karzai: NATO Bombs, Terrorists Kill Kids (AP)
So how's it going in the "good war" over in Afghanistan, that"rousing success" of Bushian liberation in the "War on Terror"? Here's the latest report from the very top, His Excellency President Hamid Karzai:

With his lips quivering and voice breaking, a tearful President Hamid Karzai on Sunday lamented that Afghan children are being killed by NATO and U.S. bombs and by terrorists from Pakistan - a portrait of helplessness in the face of spiraling chaos.

In a heartfelt speech that brought audience members to tears, Karzai said the cruelty imposed on his people "is too much'' and that Afghanistan cannot stop "the coalition from killing our children.''

"We can't prevent the terrorists from coming from Pakistan, and we can't prevent the coalition from bombing the terrorists, and our children are d
ying because of this,'' he said. The president, who turned tearful after relating stories of children maimed by bombings, took long pauses between sentences and at one point covered both eyes with a white handkerchief. A single tear rolled down his right cheek and bounced off his suit lapel. "Cruelty at the highest level,'' he said, his lower lip quivering...

"Every day our children are dying,'' Karzai said, noting that two children were killed in Musa Qala recently. He said girls are afraid to go to school and that NATO bombs have killed entire families. He noted that two teachers were killed by Taliban militants in the eastern province of Kunar on Saturday. "Our life is living with suffering,'' he said.

Christian Parenti has more on the results of Bush's unique "liberation" techniques -- i.e., intervene in a Central Asian civil war and replace one set of religious extremists and war criminals with another; put drug lords and mafia chiefs in charge of provinces; divert most of your military and nation-building resources to an unprovoked war of aggression in another country unlinked to the extremists who attacked America, then let the "liberated" land sink into a morass of corruption, terror, poverty and chaos. (It's a great formula: they ought to bottle it and sell it as "Doctor Bushquacker's Liberation Libation.") -- in this Truthdig piece, "Afghan Autopsy," where we learn:

Half of Afghanistan is under effective insurgent control; scores of international troops have been killed this year. Between January and Oct. 8 of this year, there were 78 suicide bombings, killing nearly 200 people. Last year saw only 17 suicide attacks. In the last six months, several previously stable provinces have slipped into chaos. A few dissident British soldiers have accused NATO and U.S. forces of bombing and strafing villages. Despite, or more likely because of this firepower, the situation in key southern provinces like Helmand and Kandahar has deteriorated badly. The British were recently forced to negotiate a withdrawal from one of their southern bases in Masa Qala, essentially surrendering the area to the Taliban...

The international community’s military spending in Afghanistan has outpaced development spending by 10 to 1. This is a core mistake in a war that is fundamentally political. Despite the disproportionate military spending, the U.S. deployed only 9,000 troops to hunt Osama bin Laden during the first two years. The ratio of support troops to combat soldiers in the U.S. military is such that a force of 9,000 translates into little more than 800 or 900 soldiers actually in the field at any one time.

On the economic front, things were even worse.  The Bush administration actually forgot to request any money for Afghan reconstruction in its initial 2002 budget. The final budget did allot $300 million to development, but for a population of 28 million people with such a devastated infrastructure, that was hardly a start. Another key mistake in forming the Afghan state was the U.S. agreement to “pay the army.” Unlike Iraq—which had a real army but which Paul Bremmer foolishly fired—Afghanistan had only warlord militias. Once the U.S. agreed to maintain these armed bodies, graft ran wild: the number of alleged troops controlled by each Northern Alliance “commander” accelerated rapidly...

The connective tissue for all the Afghan guerrilla groups is Pakistan, its radical Islamist parties and its intelligence services. While the insurgents are fueled by internal dynamics, they also receive external stimulus from across the border. One reason Pakistan aids the Afghan insurgents is that Political Islam - a view of Islam as a revolutionary political vehicle and sharia as a solution to social problems - has considerable traction in Pakistan. In 2002, a coalition of six Islamist parties, the Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), became the second-largest group in Pakistan’s Parliament. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency is heavy with Islamist fellow travelers who have long-standing personal and political links to the Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami and Al Qaeda. Since June, Pakistan has had a de facto truce with pro-Taliban tribal forces on the Pakistan side of the border.

A formal truce was signed on Sept. 5, which allowed Afghan insurgents to continue using Pakistan as a base. A month later, U.S. military spokesman Col. John Paradis announced that insurgent attacks had tripled in eastern Afghanistan along its border with Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal agency. [For more, see  Fatal Vision: The Strategy of Chaos and Ethnic Cleansing.]

...Meanwhile, the top NATO commander on the ground, Lt. Gen. David Richards of the UK, has warned that if the international forces and Kabul government cannot improve the economic and security environment within the next six months, most Afghans in the south will likely switch to active support of the Taliban. For a career military man, that sort of warning is quite an admission.

And although Karzai's tears for his native land are no doubt genuine -- no one (outside the White House, perhaps, and bin Laden's cozy digs) could look on such suffering unmoved -- he is still either unwilling or unable to curb the power of the warlords and druglords empowered by Bush. As The Times noted yesterday:

President Karzai of Afghanistan has fired the Governor of Helmand province, a severe setback to Britain’s strategy in the lawless region at the heart of the Taleban resurgence.  Mohammed Daud was appointed in January, at Britain’s behest, to replace Sher Muhammad Akhunzada, who was widely believed to have links to Helmand’s vast and expanding drugs trade. British officials regarded Mr Daud as the cleanest governor in Afghanistan and hoped that his extensive experience in development would help to win over Helmand’s population...

British officials fear that Mr Daud will be replaced by his deputy, Amir Muhammad Akhunzada, the brother of Sher Muhammad Akhunzada. He is thought to have links to the drugs trade and has been banned from running in elections because he refuses to disband his personal militia. British officials have also refused to work with him....Another source said: “For the moment and before a new governor is named, the governor of Helmand is a drug-dealing warlord who was banned from the elections by the UN for keeping a militia and his connection to narcotics, and with whom the British have said they cannot work. Nice.”

"Nice"? Do we detect some of that famous British irony at work here? Oh, those fastidious Albionites! What's not to like about the Brothers Akhunzada? Drug-dealing warlords with a militia? Why, they're the very model of the aristocracy that Bush, the Pentagon and the CIA have installed in Afghanistan with bombs, bribes and the bodies of U.S. and NATO cannon fodder sent to serve as sitting ducks in this diversion from the real deal in the oil fields of Iraq.

There will be many more tears from the top, and the bottom, before this wondrous liberation has run its course, and Washington moves on to the next profitable diversion.