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Levin to talk about “the progress in Afghanistan” on Monday in Grand Rapids

February 16, 2011

MLive announced yesterday that Michigan Senator Carl Levin will be in Grand Rapids on Monday to speak at an event hosted by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan.

The presentation by Michigan’s senior Senator is based on a recent trip to Afghanistan in which Levin says there has been “significant progress.” Levin returned from a two-day visit to Afghanistan in January and released a statement where he identified the signs of progress as the “regaining of former Taliban strongholds in Helmand and Kandahar” and the increased confidence of the Afghani people in the Coalition forces and the Afghan National Army (ANA).

This “evidence” that Senator Levin provides has been critiqued and challenged from numerous sources. First, the progress or confidence of the Afghan National Army and police forces that the US and Coalition forces have been training has come under question by a major study from the Afghanistan Analysts Network. This study contends that the Afghan security forces often fight against each other, attack civilians and are often infiltrated by Taliban insurgents who gain access to weapons and intelligence.

Senator’s Levin’s suggestion that there is progress being made in Afghanistan is consistent with the position of President Obama who delivered his own assessment of the Afghan campaign at the end of 2010. Foreign Policy analysts Phyllis Bennis and Kevin Martin provided a sharp critique of the President’s claims, pointing out that 2010 saw the largest number of Afghan civilians and US soldier deaths since the 2001 invasion began.

A similar criticism of US policy in Afghanistan was provided by independent journalist Anand Gopal, who spoke in Grand Rapids last year. In an interviewed with GRIID Gopal, who has been reporting from Afghanistan for years, said that the US occupation has only caused more violence and strengthened the Taliban forces.

In recent days there has been further evidence that Levin’s assessment is wishful thinking. The Guardian news reported that there are growing concerns over the Afghan Security Forces. The report states that different security forces have clashed and have even been documented as engaging in illegal drug trafficking. In addition, the United Nations released a report yesterday, which claimed that violence against Afghan children has increased over the past two years. This is further evidence that “the progress” that Senator Levin speaks of is not really benefitting the Afghan people.

GRIID plans to have someone in attendance at the public presentation by Senator Levin and report on his assessment of the 10-year US occupation of Afghanistan. The event will be at noon on the GRCC east campus (former Davenport College) on Fulton Street.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug Burkholder permalink
    February 16, 2011 11:45 pm

    Are you going to be a good boy Jeff? and stay seated !!

  2. Terrence permalink
    February 23, 2011 12:30 pm

    Carl Levin is the biggest pseudo liberal fraud in the Senate, and he’s a do nothing that has totally wasted his seniority on academic posturing. Quite laughable that in these economic conditions he comes to Michigan and lectures us on his cultural tour of Asia. This darling of the left has done less than nothing for the people of Michigan, and when the nation needs effective organizing and leadership he offers the words of an anthropologist. What about Bradley Manning? Did anyone there challenge him on THAT?! Or on the prosecution of other war criminals in the defense department. How I wish I could have been at that speech to be nauseated by the uncritical adoration of the intellectual “left”.

  3. Jeff Smith permalink*
    February 23, 2011 1:22 pm

    Terrence, while I agree that Levin has done virtually nothing for working people in Michigan I would hardly call him a darling of the “left.” Unless of course by left you mean liberal Democrats. Here is a link to what Levin said at GRCC on Monday

    Levin was not challenged at his talk and he certainly did not address war crimes, especially those committed by the US military. Our posting was very critical of Levin and one could argue that GRIID is intellectually on the left, which calls into question your assertion of Levin being a “darling of the Left.”

  4. Terrence permalink
    February 25, 2011 4:47 am

    Yes, of course Levin is not a darling of the real left, but to the mainstream media, the Sunday talk shows for instance, and the public at large he’s about as left as it gets. I suppose we could even say that nut cases like Shelby Steele aren’t true rightists either, even though popularly he’s represented that way. The posting here was certainly critical of Levin and is to be commended.The quotes around “left” at the end of my post were an attempt to show that he’s not really left at all. Levin has always been a military industrialist posing as a leftist- thats what he does- what Alex Jones calls “controlled opposition”, he’s an absolute fraud thats considered to be a paragon of intellectual integrity. He barks, but never bites.

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