August 13, 2010 – Some 70,000 classified Pentagon documents on Afghanistan were published by WikiLeaks in late July 2010. The majority of these documents comprise of daily reports filed by troop units, summarizing the day’s activities. What is most revealed through the descriptions of Afghani civilians and towns, not to mention casualties, by the US soldiers filing the reports is their total disconnection with the lives, welfare and culture of the people that the US purports to be in Afghanistan to help.
-There is an analysis of the documents by Justin Podur, specifically where Canadians are involved at www.killingtrain.com . Unfortunately for Omar Khadr, the documents released only date back as far as 2004 – while the incident which has cost Khadr his entire adult life occurred before and was not covered by the docs. With regards to Khadr, the only information on which to base his situation has been scrutinized by the Supreme Court of Canada twice, and the Canadian courts have done everything, short of an official directive, to make his repatriation by the Conservative government incumbent among Canada’s priorities.
-There is a new ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) Commander in Afghanistan, but the strategy he brings with him is a return to the Stone Age. General David Petraeus has “spoken of his determination to intensify a strategy based on driving a wedge between the Taliban and the Afghani people”. Basic, divide-and-rule stuff, a strategy that, surprise, surprise, has been backed by the UK – the very country that we typically associate with divide-and-rule.
What this means in real-terms for the Afghani people is that ISAF forces, under which NATO operates, have every intention of continuing to disregard the lives of Afghani civilians and members of the Taliban and simply increase the amount of blame placed on the Taliban, through the media as well as on the ground in Afghani villages, for as many incidents where there are civilian casualties as possible. And surprise, surprise, the UN has just released a report finding that the past month in Afghanistan saw a rise in civilian casualties by 31 per cent.
Unfortunately, again for the civilians of Afghanistan, the path that Petraeus has selected and is inexplicably followed by Canadian forces is actually equally dependant upon civilian casualties and information manipulation to succeed. It appears set that the welfare of Afghani civilians will be increasingly disregarded to the point where they will actually become targets for the side who will then blame the deaths on the other to show the other’s lack of humanity. That is where we are on the ground in Afghanistan today. Eight plus years at the cost of 7 million dollars per day to the Canadian taxpayer for Canadian involvement in Afghanistan has enabled us to collectively reach this point.
-Last night, the BBC reported on an incident that sums up the effects of ISAF tactics and priorities on Afghani civilians. About 300 villagers in Wardak Province took part in a protest against the US-led NATO troops whom the villagers hold responsible for the murder of some members of the village. The NATO response was to claim that the killed villagers were Taliban insurgents, this despite the eye witnesses in the village who were attesting otherwise. NATO is still prioritizing the protection of its own reputation over the protection of Afghani civilians, and that is why Afghani civilians feel safer without NATO’s presence in the country.
-We reported at the time of Obama’s troop surge in December that the plan from Washington is to co-ordinate the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to coincide with Obama’s 2012 election campaign. If Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has any hope of capturing the peace-vote from the American public he will have to do something concrete to garner it.
We got a glimpse this week of how the PR show is going to be played out over the next two years by Washington; the peace-loving Obama vs. the war-mongering generals of the American military. The New York Times reported that top American military officials are asking Obama to slow down the timetable for troop withdrawal. This means that Obama’s PR people are going to work positioning Barrack as the peaceful alternative to the evil generals so when Obama begins the troop withdrawal as the 2012 election race heats up, he will be able to ride the PR tide that will make people think he stood for peace all this time.
We’ll say now as we said in December, prolonging a war for political reasons is as much an act of terrorism as is knowingly putting soldiers, human shields, in harm’s way. Yeah, they shouldn’t be there in the first place, and probably should have come home at least 3 years ago, but at this point, it is more convenient for the commander-in-chief to bring them home when it will give his re-election a boost. That is where we are on the ground in Afghanistan today. Eight plus years at the cost of 7 million dollars per day to the Canadian taxpayer for Canadian involvement in Afghanistan has enabled us to collectively reach this point.
Thank you to all the readers for their kind words and support – I apologize for two-month “void” in coverage (although I won’t be the scapegoat for the “meanstream” media’s lack of objectivity…lol!) Just enjoying my summer high-ate-us, please continue to read, comment and plan!!!