[News] A troop surge can only magnify the crime against Afghanistan
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 2 10:49:06 EST 2009
A troop surge can only magnify the crime against Afghanistan
* Malalai Joya
* guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 November 2009 19.00 GMT
If Barack Obama heralds an escalation of the war,
he will betray his own message of hope and deepen my people's pain
After months of waiting, President Obama is about
to announce the new US strategy for Afghanistan.
His speech may be long awaited, but few are
expecting any surprise: it seems clear he will
a major escalation of the war. In doing so he
will be making something worse than a mistake. It
is a continuation of a war crime against the suffering people of my country.
I have said before that
installing warlords and drug traffickers in power
in Kabul, the US and Nato have pushed us from the
frying pan to the fire. Now Obama is pouring fuel
on these flames, and this week's announcement of
upwards of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will have tragic consequences.
Already this year we have seen the impact of an
increase in troops occupying Afghanistan: more
violence, and more civilian deaths. My people,
the poor of Afghanistan who have known only war
and the domination of fundamentalism, are today
squashed between two enemies: the US/Nato
occupation forces on one hand and warlords and the Taliban on the other.
While we want the withdrawal of one enemy, we
don't believe it is a matter of choosing between
two evils. There is an alternative: the
democratic-minded parties and intellectuals are
our hope for the future of Afghanistan.
It will not be easy, but if we have a little bit
of peace we will be better able to fight our own
internal enemies Afghans know what to do with
our destiny. We are not a backward people, and we
are capable of fighting for democracy, human and
women's rights in Afghanistan. In fact the only
way these values will be achieved is if we
struggle for them and win them ourselves.
After eight years of war, the situation is as bad
as ever for ordinary Afghans, and women in
particular. The reality is that only the drug
traffickers and warlords have been helped under
this corrupt and illegitimate Karzai government.
Karzai's promises of reform are laughable. His
own vice-president is the notorious warlord
Fahim, whom Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch
of the most notorious warlords in the country,
with the blood of many Afghans on his hands".
Transparency International reports that this
regime is the
most corrupt in the world. The UN Development
Programme reports Afghanistan is second last
out of 182 countries in terms of human
development. That is why we no longer want this kind of "help" from the west.
Like many around the world, I am wondering what
prize can be awarded to a leader who continues
the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and
new war in Pakistan, all while supporting Israel?
Throughout my recent tour of the US, I had the
chance to meet many military families and
veterans who are working to put an end to the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They understand
that it is not a case of a "bad war" and a "good
war" there is no difference, war is war.
Members of <http://www.ivaw.org/>Iraq Veterans
Against War even accompanied me to meet members
of Congress in Washington DC. Together we tried
to explain the terrible human cost of this war,
in terms of Afghan, US and Nato lives.
Unfortunately, only a few representatives really
offered their support to our struggle for peace.
While the government was not responsive, the
people of the US did offer me their support. And
polls confirm that the US public wants peace,
an escalated war. Many also want Obama to hold
Bush and his administration to account for war
crimes. Everywhere I spoke, people responded
strongly when I said that if Obama really wanted
peace he would first of all try to prosecute Bush
and have him tried before the international
criminal court. Replacing Bush's man in the
Pentagon, Robert Gates, would have been a good
Obama chose not to.
Unfortunately, the UK government shamefully
follows the path of the US in Afghanistan. Even
though opinion polls show that
than 70% of the population is against the war,
Brown has announced the deployment of more UK
troops. It is sad that more taxpayers' money will
be wasted on this war, while Britain's poor
continue to suffer from a lack of basic services.
The UK government has also tried to silence
dissent, for instance by
Joe Glenton, a British soldier who has refused to
return to Afghanistan. I had a chance to meet
Glenton when I was in London last summer, and
together we spoke out against the war. My message
to him is that, in times of great injustice, it
is sometimes better to go to jail than be part of committing war crimes.
Facing a difficult choice, Glenton made a
courageous decision, while Obama and Brown have
chosen to follow the Bush administration. Instead
of hope and change, in foreign policy Obama is
delivering more of the same. But I still have
hope because, as our history teaches, the people
of Afghanistan will never accept occupation.
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