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Obama and the Afghan War Escalation

November 22, 2009

Once President Obama comes back from his Asian trip he is expected to announce a decision on whether or not the US will send more troops to Afghanistan. Actually, as Tom Engelhardt has pointed out, the administration is not deciding on whether to send more troops, rather how many troops the administration will send.

Every day independent reporters are providing good information on the consequences of the US occupation of Afghanistan. Now it seems that the US might use the pretext that the Karzai administration is corrupt, therefore bringing “stability” to the country is crucial at this moment. This notion disregards the fact that the US has propped up the Karzai regime since 2002 and this support has also meant financing the worst of Afghan’s warlords.

Beyond the current debate on the number of US troops being deployed in Afghanistan are the larger strategic questions that are not being addressed in the US mainstream media. What are the real motivations of the US government in regards to Afghanistan?

Afghanistan plays a critical role in the future of the region, since it borders both the Middle East and Central Asia. Iran, Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan, Tajiikstan and Turkmenistan, all countries that have tremendous amounts of natural resources, surround Afghanistan. Afghanistan itself does not possess many natural resources, but it provides a critical role as a trans-shipment point for fuel pipelines in the region, as is noted in an important study by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, A Pipeline Through a Troubled Land.

The strategic and regional role that Afghanistan plays is further supported by the fact that the US military is expanding its infrastructure throughout the country. According to a recent article by Nick Turse, the US is expanding its main base at Bagram and building new military facilities in other parts of the country. If history has taught us anything, it’s that when the US builds permanent military bases they have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

Where is the Anti-war movement?

The military buildup in Afghanistan and the probable announcement from the Obama administration that more US troops will be sent to Afghanistan has not generated the kind of anti-war groundswell that we saw with Iraq. However, there are the beginnings of activity across the country.

An ad-hoc coalition of national peace groups is calling on people to inundate the White House with Phone calls on Monday (November 23) against military escalation in Afghanistan. The White House number is 202-456-1111.

There is also an online petition campaign that Brave News Films has organized. This petition campaign is accompanied by a video with Matthew Hoh, who resigned from his position at the State Department in protest of the administration’s Afghan policy, which we have posted below. However, we know that these actions alone will not be enough to pressure the US government to end its occupation of Afghanistan. If you are aware of any other campaigns or efforts to challenge the Afghan occupation let us know so we can publicize them in the coming weeks and months.

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