You've probably not
heard that Afghanistan is "falling" and that the Taleban is winning.
The Nation magazine points out, in part, why you don't know. Newsweek has an
international edition, the front page of which features a Taleban warrior and
proclaims that the Taleban is taking Afghanistan back. The US edition of
Newsweek, however, sports on the front page a picture of Annie Leibowitz,
photographer to the stars, completing her rigorous and danger-ridden assignment
of interviewing Angelina Jolie.
If you don't know
that Afghanistan is "falling," then you don't know why British Prime
Minister Tony Blair has "fallen." The British sent 4,000 soldiers,
under NATO command, to "reconstruct" Afghanistan.
Instead, they found
they had to fight a guerrilla war with underfunded and undermanned forces. The
British military brass is seething with anger and contempt for the political
leadership which has deployed British troops on a suicidal mission, which the
US had not only blithely discarded after using Afghanistan to launch its
long-planned war for control of resources and territories but also had done
irresponsibly and mendaciously everything possible to cause.
For US imperial
policies, Afghanistan was simply the shortcut- -- the crushed flea on the
elephant's back -- on the map to reshaping the Greater Middle East as a US
colony. The US had no commitment towards "reconstructing"
Afghanistan, a mere strategic expedient, beyond providing the usual
profiteering opportunities for generally fake or publicity-driven
If you don't know
that Afghanistan is falling, then you cannot process the mystifying
pronouncements of Pakistani President Parvez Musharraf on his US tour to promote
his autobiographical book, "In the Line of Fire." He claims in his
book that White House officials had threatened to bomb Pakistan to the
Stone Age if
Pakistan did not join Bush's "war on terror," declared opportunistically
with all deliberate speed and cynical fanfare after the crimes of 9/11.
is "falling," Afghan US-stooge in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, is blaming
Musharraf's unwillingness to militarize the border between the two countries
for the disaster. This means that Musharraf is seeing the handwriting on the
wall: Washington would be happy for "regime change" in Pakistan.
Musharraf, therefore, is accumulating electoral capital (Pakistan's elections
are scheduled for 2007) and political insurance policies by catering to
Pakistani national sentiments, which are decidedly anti-US.
It is significant
that Musharraf, interviewed by a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and
asked what to do about Iraq, declared that nothing can be done about anything
in the region until the issue of Palestine is resolved -- not in Iraq, Lebanon,
Afghanistan, or anywhere else. For Musharraf, Palestine is the issue. Not that
Musharraf cares a fig for the fate of Palestine, but he knows that a billion
Muslims, including those who vote in his own country, do.
So there you are.
Two more opportunistic and criminal allies of Bush's sloganeering "war on
terror" -- which is in reality a war for conquest and control of the
oil-rich region -- are being resoundingly and justly undone by his homicidal
policies, which in Iraq, a recent Lancet study claims, have caused, directly or
indirectly, between 200,000 and 300,000 deaths. While the US public, like so
many lotus-eaters drugged by the media into a state of permanent historical
amnesia and moral paralysis, continues to bask in the pleasureable
forgetfulness of the moment and fantasizes about Hollywood stars, the world and
its reality slips inexorably away, out of US grasp and control. Perhaps that's
a good thing -- to sleep, to dream no more -- letting the gravediggers in the
media dig the grave in which US lies will be buried and cease to trouble the
But, oh, what a
terrible tragedy for themselves and the world is the US public's impotence
before the greatest threat this nation has ever faced: the utter and complete
dissolution of the admittedly unrealized character and potential for
improvement of the nation, brought low by a group of scheming, murderous, and
inept executive berserkers, its totally complicit and trigger-happy Congress,
its indistinguishable, corrupt and viciously undemocratic two parties, its
craven, villainous judiciary, and their vermin-ridden, bought media.
I fear that when we
wake up, all will be "changed utterly, and a terrible beauty will [have
been] born" in the world -- the beauty of a new hope for freedom in which
our country will have earned only the place of the shunned and the reviled.
Luciana Bohne teaches film and literature at
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at email@example.com.