has already announced plans to escalate the war by sending 17,000
more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. But
in his address to Congress, he acknowledged he was still working
to “forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan
would have been much more sensible to devise the strategy before
deploying the troops.
Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA) said, “If we just put troops, plunk them
down, another 20-30,000 in Afghanistan
... we’re on the wrong track.”
Afghanistan is known as the “graveyard of empires.” The British,
Russians and Soviets learned the hard way during the 19th and 20th
centuries - they were each driven out long before they could claim
“mission accomplished.” Why do we think the American attempt will
be any different?
certainly don’t make a case for escalation. Eight years after U.S.-led
forces drove the Taliban from Kabul, the group
is on the rise again, not least because of local outrage over the
killing of more Afghans by U.S. forces. The United States and its allies
directly killed 828 people - ordinary people, children, women and
old men, according to a new U.N. survey. Last July, just one U.S. air strike killed at least 47 civilians, including
39 women and children, as they were traveling to a wedding in eastern
anger toward the foreign troops is rising. A recent BBC/ABC News
survey found that notwithstanding 90 percent opposition to the Taliban,
less than half of Afghans hold a favorable view of the United States.
are 56,000 NATO troops (including 18,000 Americans), and 19,000
other U.S. troops in Afghanistan. They were supposed to stabilize Afghanistan.
But their presence has led to more Afghans being killed, not fewer.
It’s unlikely that another 17,000 pairs of boots escalating the
war, still without a strategy, will somehow succeed.
of more troops, what’s needed is a negotiated, diplomatic settlement
bringing together all parties in Afghanistan,
and the region - yes, including the Taliban.
Ibrahim Khan, a cargo driver, told The Washington Post on Feb. 22, “Bringing
in another foreign army is not going to help. They always come here
for their own interests, and they always lose. Better
to let everyone sit down with the elders and find a way for peace.”
knows his country’s history. The Obama administration should listen.
op-ed was distributed by the Progressive Media Project.]
Phyllis Bennis and Farrah Hassen
are both fellows at the Institute
for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Bennis is the author
of “Challenging Empire: How People,
Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power” (Interlink Publishing, October 2005). Hassen is
the author of numerous
political commentaries, movie and book reviews and poem. Click here
to contact Bennis and Farrah Hassen.