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“A fascinating and essential guide which puts the war in Afghanistan in the context of its recent history and dispels propaganda stereotypes about how the US, Britain and their allies became involved.”—Patrick Cockburn, author of The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq
Introduction Nick Turse
PART I THE WARS FOR AFGHANISTAN 1
1 Armageddon at the Top of the World... Not!: A Century of Frenzy Over the North-West Frontier Juan Cole Cole, Juan 3
2 The Familiar Road to Failure Rodric Braithwaite Braithwaite, Rodric 13
3 Afghanistan, Gorky, and an Open Letter to Leonid Brezhnev, 1980 Andrei Sakharov Sakharov, Andrei 17
4 We Were Waging War Against a People Oleg Vasilevich Kustov Kustov, Oleg Vasilevich 23
5 Abolish the CIA! Chalmers Johnson Johnson, Chalmers 31
6 Mirage of the Good War Tariq Ali Ali, Tariq 45
7 Chaos Central Chris Sands Sands, Chris 63
PART III INCOMPETENCE, CORRUPTION, AND THE WAR ON WOMEN 71
8 Meet the Afghan Army: Is It a Figment of Washington's Imagination? Ann Jones Jones, Ann 73
9 Paying Off the Warlords: Anatomy of a Culture of Corruption Pratap Chatterjee Chatterjee, Pratap 81
10 How the US Funds the Taliban Aram Roston Roston, Aram 87
11 Remember the Women? Ann Jones Jones, Ann 97
12 The US Government Has Never Supported Democratic Organizations Elsa Rassbach Rassbach, Elsa Zoya of the Foreign Committee of RAWA 107
PART III FACTS ON THE GROUND 113
13 Going for Broke: Six Ways the Af-Pak War is Expanding Tom Engelhardt Engelhardt, Tom 115
14 The Shadow War: Making Sense of the New CIA Battlefield Nick Turse Turse, Nick 127
15 The 700 Military Bases of Afghanistan: Black Sites in the Empire of Bases Nick Turse Turse, Nick 135
16 How Hearts and Minds Were Lost: A Personal Experience Working with the International Military Zabih Farhad (Pseudonym) Farhad, Zabih (Pseudonym) 141
PART IV THE CASE FOR WITHDRAWAL 145
17 All Foreign Troops Must Withdraw Latif Pedram Pedram, Latif 147
18 No Nation Can Liberate Another Malalai Joya Joya, Malalai 151
19 What Obama Could Learn from Gorbachev Robert Crews Crews, Robert 157
20 Obama's Policies Make the Situation Worse Graham Fuller Fuller, Graham 161
21 The War We Can't Win: The Limits of American Power Andrew J. Bacevich Bacevich, Andrew J. 165
22 How to Get Out Robert Dreyfuss Dreyfuss, Robert 173
A Note on Sources 177
About the Authors 183
This useful book is in four parts: the wars for Afghanistan; the Karzai government's incompetence, corruption and the war on women; facts on the ground; and the case for withdrawal.
Governments used to tell us the fate of the empire was at stake in every war. Now they tell us the fate of civilisation is at stake, or national security, or NATO. These exaggerations are a mirror image of the fundamentalists' claim that Islam's survival is at stake.
Women had equal rights and education only between 1979 and 1989, under secular, Marxist rule. In 2008, President Karzai pardoned a bunch of thugs who had gang-raped a woman in front of witnesses. In 2009 he passed a family law worthy of the Taliban. In Afghanistan's constitution, no law may contravene Sharia law. The UN's Assistance Mission there sums up, "women are denied their most fundamental human rights".
NATO forces commit war crimes, bomb civilians and torture prisoners, all in the name of 'liberation'. Billions of dollars of 'aid' go to the Northern Alliance, run by warlords and drug-runners. Karzai's younger brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is one of the richest drug barons in the country.
There are now 400 NATO military bases in the country and $3 billion worth of base-building projects. There are still 50 US bases in Iraq. In both countries, NATO occupations promise only endless war, costing thousands of lives, civilian and military, and billions of dollars and pounds, all to set up secure bases for NATO's use of force against nearby countries.
Posted December 9, 2010