HAW and Afghanistan
The points set forth below were proposed by one member of the Steering Committee and were found by other members to be helpful in framing the discussion.
The Steering Committee would like to invite feedback over the next two weeks (September 5 - September 20) on any of the discussion points or more generally on the question of US policy in Afghanistan. Please send any comments to email@example.com.
Jim O'Brien for the HAW Steering Committee
1. Whatever views we hold on the initial US military intervention in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US, it is now clear that the US/NATO presence in this country has become an occupation, increasingly resented and opposed by large sections of the population.
2. Despite the relief that met removal of the totalitarian Taliban government by US and NATO forces, the new government, chosen under the direction of the Bush administration, has distanced itself from the people, is rent with corruption, and barely governs anything. Outside of Kabul, warlords and criminal elements operate with impunity, the opium trade grows, violence -- including violence by the occupation forces -- proliferates, and the Taliban is resurgent.
3. The purpose of US policy in Afghanistan is not to support the self-determination of the Afghan people, but to extend the bankrupt global war against terror deeper into Central Asia, and to strengthen US geopolitical power in this region.
4. The US/NATO war on Afghanistan is not a "good war" in contrast to the "bad war" on Iraq, and the current consensus in higher political circles, including both major party candidates for president, that the war in Afghanistan must be escalated, is wrong and will only deepen the regional crisis and suffering of the Afghan people.
5. The US and NATO must immediately withdraw their military and political assets from Afghanistan so that the Afghan people can have room to decide their own future. Continued US/NATO action in the country is a large part of the problem and cannot be the solution. [There has been subsequent discussion of what "immediately" might mean in practical terms: for example, beginning immediately and completed between, say, six months, or a year.]