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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