Sunday, December 14, 2008

10-7-08 Statement of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), the seventh anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan

To the best of my knowledge, RAWA has been one of the most consistent voices for women's rights and for democracy in Afghanistan. They opposed the Oct. 2001 US invasion and ensuing occupation, because of the devastation and death they believe it would bring to the Afghan people. Sadly, the US occupation that RAWA opposed then and opposes now is the same occupation that President-Elect Obama intends to continue and intensify*. The following are excerpts from the Oct. 7, 2008 statement (source: http://www.rawa.org/events/sevenyear_e.htm, accessed 12/14/08) of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the seventh anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan. I encourage you to read the entire statement.

"Neither the US nor Jehadies and Taliban, Long Live the Struggle of Independent and Democratic Forces of Afghanistan!

Seven years back the US government and its allies were successfully able to legitimize their military invasion on Afghanistan and deceive the people of the US and the world under the banners of “liberating Afghan women”, “democracy” and “war on terror”. Our people, who had been tormented and oppressed by the Taliban’s dominance, were filled with hope but soon their dream of the establishment of security, democracy and freedom was shattered in the most painful manner.

By the installation of the puppet government of Karzai, the US reused its creations and continued its deal with the Jehadi criminal warlords. From the very start, Mr. Karzai shunned the demands and trusts of the people and chose to compromise with the criminals of the “Northern Alliance” and placed the filthiest faces in the key posts of the government. In contradiction to the shameless claims of the ministers and other treacherous and corrupt officials, our people feel more ill-fated; the country has been turned to a mafia state and self-immolation, rape and abduction of women and children has no parallel in the history of Afghanistan

The day to day expansion of the power of Taliban reflects the real nature of the “war on terror” which has empowered the roots of fundamentalist terrorism more than ever. This is only a showcase to justify the long military presence of the US in our country and in the region.

Instead of removing the cancerous lump of the Taliban and their Jehadi brothers from the framework of Afghanistan, the troops of the US and its allies are bombarding wedding and joy parties and showering bullets on our oppressed people, especially women and children. Furthermore, when such crimes are exposed they shamelessly and haughtily deny them, and when the matter is proved, an arrogant “sorry” is offered, which pours more salt on the wounds of the people.

As we have declared many times, the US government has no and will not have any genuine concern for the condition of freedom, democracy and women’s rights in Afghanistan. It is ready to accept a more corrupt, destructive and anti-democratic government than the one in power now, provided that its stooges are the rulers. Therefore today, some top criminals are being consistently freed from the prison. This clearly shows that “democracy” and “freedom of women” do not hold even an iota of value for the US administration and its allies in Afghanistan.

Forgetting their foremost duty of giving awareness, a portion of the intellectuals of our country are engaged in shameful deeds of creating and igniting the ethnic, religious and linguistic differences among people on which the occupations are pouring fuel too. Some have taken this to such a level of disgrace that they believe the Taliban to be the rescuing forces; and the band of the murderers and agents of the “National Front”, and the groups attached to the US and NATO to be the sources of prosperity.

The Afghan intellectuals who see the remedy of freedom from the captivity of Taliban and Jehadis as leaning on the US have no idea about the history of the US; more importantly about the bourn of Afghanistan in the past seven years. Neither can they present a single example of a country that had gained freedom and democracy with the help of the US military invasion nor can they bury the secrets of the bloody wars and invasions of the US in different parts of the world. Thus, the mentioned intellectuals are practically known as “agents of CIA” in the political scenario of Afghanistan.

RAWA strongly believes that there should be no expectation of either the US or any other country to present us with democracy, peace and prosperity. Our freedom is only achievable at the hands of our people. It is the duty of all the intellectuals, all the democratic forces and progressive and independence-seeking people to rise in a constant and decisive struggle for independence and democracy by taking the support of our wounded people as the independent force, against the presence of the US and its allies and the domination of Jehadi and Taliban criminals. Combating against the armed and alien forces in the country without being loud-mouthed against the Talibi and Jehadi enemies would mean welcoming the misfortunes of fascism and religious mafia. Also, struggling against this enemy without fighting the military presence of the US, its allies and its puppet government would mean falling before foreign agents. The path of the freedom-fighters of our country without doubt, will be very complex, difficult and bloody; but if our demand is to be freed from the chains of the slavery of foreigners and their Talib and Jehadi lackeys, we should not fear trial or death to become triumphant."
*See website of the Office of the President-Elect, http://change.gov/agenda/foreign_policy_agenda/ (see section, "Afghanistan and Pakistan", accessed 12/14/08), and, http://change.gov/agenda/iraq_agenda/ (accessed 12/14/08).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama's intent to persist in an illegal U.S. "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan

Sadly, it seems that doing the right thing with regards to Afghanistan is the opposite of what President-Elect Barack Obama plans to do. How do I know what Obama intends to do? Obama's web site makes it plain - go to the web site of the "Office of the President-Elect", http://change.gov/agenda/foreign_policy_agenda/ (I accessed it today- 12/11/08) and it states: "Obama and Biden will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security -- the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will increase our troop levels in Afghanistan...."

The above statement, seen on Obama's web site, is a declaration that President-Elect Obama intends to persist in illegal and unwarranted U.S. military action (including occupation) in Afghanistan, thus perpetuating the scourge of American militarism, like so many presidents before him, Republican and Democrat. This is NOT "change we can believe in". No. It's "same-old, same-old that we thought would happen." Obama, like other presidents before him, would tell you that America believes in the "rule of law". But also like so many presidents before him, at the level of foreign policy, will behave as if America really believes that it is "above the law". Additionally, Obama's pledged policy for Afghanistan is highly likely to result in increasing recruits to al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and will thus make America far more vulnerable to terrorist attacks than it ever was before 9/11.

The United States had no business invading a sovereign nation which had NOT invaded the United States nor taken any military action against the United States. Additionally, neither did the Taliban government (to the best I've been able to learn) have any material involvement in the planning or carrying out of the 9/11 attacks.

And, should anyone be tempted the Bush administration's argument that because the Taliban refused to extradite bin Laden to the U.S. for trial, that therefore (as Bush proclaimed) we (the U.S.) will treat terrorists and the states that harbor terrorists in the same way -- it is a documented fact that the U.S. has reserved to itself the right to not extradite individuals accused of terrorism when requested to do so by foreign governments, so that those individuals could be put on trial. Therefore, using the fact that the Taliban did not unconditionally and immediately extradite bin Ladin to the U.S. military as justification for military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is just plain old hypocrisy.

It bothers and completely baffles me that a person like Barack Obama, so good, (it seems to me) in so many ways, will not take a stand, on principal, against the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

Again, to the best that I've been able to determine, the Taliban government in Afghanistan (as bad as it was) did NOT help plan, much less help carry out, the 9/11 attacks.

The United States' invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is wrong on more levels than this blog entry can fully explore. I will, though, point the reader to two sources of information as a start: "Afghanistan: The Other Illegal War" (article found at http://www.alternet.org/audits/93473/afghanistan:_the_other_illegal_war/?page=entire, written by Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists) and, "Operation Enduring Freedom: A Retrospective" (article found at http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3616, written by Stephen Zunes, Middle-East editor for the Foreign Policy In Focus Project. He is a professor of politics and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism).

I welcome comments to this blog post. I am aware that what I've written here may anger Obama supporters. For those of you that may feel that way, I urge you to put aside political partisanship, and try to look at the matter objectively from the standpoint of international law. If a reader of this blog post of mine can show me that the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan known as "Operation Enduring Freedom", commenced under George W. Bush's administration, and which Obama pledges to continue and increase, is LEGAL under international law, I am wide open to seeing the evidence you have, and if you can convince me, I will publicly repudiate what I've written in this blog post. Please enter your inputs via the "Comment" functionality, under this blog posting.

I understand that an argument could be made that a McCain victory likely would have been nearly incalculably worse in its impact than the Obama victory we got. I agree with this. But-on the other hand, I beleve that when it comes to foreign policy, Obama is, in principle, the same as John McCain...i.e., that both McCain and Obama believe the United States is above the law (both its own law and international law) when it comes to getting its way, internationally. This must stop because it's WRONG. It must also stop if you, I, our children, and our grandchildren are to be able to live in a truly secure America.

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