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Posted by wmmbb in CENTRAL ASIA.

Another Australian soldier dies in Afghanistan and the House of Representatives pauses to provide bipartisan support for what some believe to be a project of moral turpitude.

On these sombre occasions there is a notable absence of critical thinking, a marked contrast, for example, with the Vietnam War. We are there because the Americans are there, and if they weren’t, we would not be. The question then arises why are they there, and can those reasons justify the war crimes of the drone missile attacks. Imperialism by its nature knows no crimes, but commits many.

The Defence Minister, Stephen Smith provides the justification for the commitment, via ABC News Online:

“I understand all too well that the Australian community would question our effort and our mission in Afghanistan,” he said.

“That is why on a day like today I state with crystal clarity we believe it is in our national interest to be in Afghanistan. It is in our national interest to make the effort, it’s in our national interest to make the transition to Afghan-led responsibility.

“If we were to leave now we would leave a vacuum into which the remnants of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations would move.”

Sound plausible right? It reminds me of the justification for the Libyan War was to save civilians whereas the “weeks not months” duration has seen civilian deaths and to date, although they may get lucky, of attempts to murder Gaddafi from the air.

We all need to be reminded on the historical context, of the long history that extends beyond 9/11, the Soviet Invasion and the role of British Imperialism that drew lines on the map that divided the Pashtuns as well dividing supposedly Muslim Pakistan from Hindu India, not to forget the influence of the neighbours, illustrated for example by the Dari speakers of Afghanistan. It is interesting to note that the recent murder by the US of Osama bin Laden counts for nothing in the formulation or support of policy. (In this case it is claimed he was a mass murderer, but it is remarkable how very few mass murders as alleged are given their time in independent court. There story is almost never told, much to the relief it must be supposed of those who once supported them. Saddam Hussein comes to mind.)

There seems to more critical discussion in the US than here, reflecting the fact our government is a follower not a formulator of policy, and if it were it would not last the imperial master’s wraith, or at least that is one interpretation of 1975. At AntiWar.com Scott Horton talks with Eric Margolis.

The failure to come to terms with the political and social realities of Afghanistan, as distinct from the fictions that dress the propaganda, implies that the claimed success is often illusory as Gareth Porter explains.



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