Afghanistan is "falling," have you noticed?
By Luciana Bohne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 2, 2006, 00:48

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 "reconstruction" projects.

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 proverbial

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.

Because Afghanistan 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 world.

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

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