The difference between the public’s take on Afghanistan and what NATO’s top leadership is up to is stunning. I have argued before that this ominous abyss is caused by a lot of non-said arguments: the real causes for the NATO leadership behavior are hidden. Otherwise why would they persist in a war they -we- are sure to lose? OK, they are not the ones dying, and the taxes they pay, if any, will be very well compensated by various consultancies, honorary speeches, book contracts, and invites all over the political leadership uses as a retirement plan.
But let’s play their game for most of this essay, and let’s enter the logic officially offered to us. The line of NATO leadership is that they have ordered us into Afghanistan, killing people, and interdicting they main source of income, to fight Al Qaeda, and, they say, save civilization.
Never mind that Al Qaeda is an emanation of Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia, a two centuries old variant of Salafism.
What is Salafism? It is the religion of the "old ones", an Islamic movement that emphasizes strict, literal, interpretation of Islamist religious texts such as the Qur’an and strident opposition to non-Islamic influences. “Literalism” (as it was called) was long outlawed when, and where Islamic civilization was at its peak. So, paradoxically, when Osama bin Laden celebrates Al Andalus, Muslim Spain, he is celebrating an Islam which was as anti-Salafist as possible; but let’s glide over this, since the aim of this essay is to exhibit the contradictions and lies of NATO, not the confusion, ignorance, criminal naivety, and self contradictions of Al Qaeda (and any Salafist inspired Islam, which is a lot of Islam nowadays, since rich Saudis financed it all over, generally with the complicity of American secret services (which enjoy to sow discord and division).
Never mind that Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan, right now, and was put there, to start with, by the American and Pakistani secret services, with the direct, enormous financial and technological help of the US Congress. (Thus, one would deduce that when Americans and Pakistanis do not want Al Qaeda in Afghanistan it’s not there anymore, and that is what is observed.)
Never mind that the civilization we are supposedly saving in Afghanistan is a typically degenerated Salafist inspired superstition, thus tyrannical, corrupt, hopeless and regressive.
As I have argued before, to win a war, one needs first to know what one is fighting for. And the reason(s) better be good.
Or then, if one does not have good reason(s) to fight a war, one needs to have an immense military superiority. We do not have the later in Afghanistan: scaling up what the French military was allowed to do in Algeria to the population of Afghanistan, we would need 500,000 [number of French soldiers at the time] times 36 [population Afghanistan] divided by 6 [population of Algerians in 1958]. The result is three million men.
In Vietnam, although the Americans deployed 535,000 on the ground (plus much more in Thailand, Philippines, etc.), they did not have enough soldiers (proof: the Tet offensive). The population of South Vietnam was just too large. The present population of Afghanistan is even larger. So, to lose as in Vietnam, the Americans would need to move one million soldiers, airmen, support personnel, etc., in Afghanistan and around it (but the neighbors, nowadays, are unlikely to be as welcoming as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia…)
The French won militarily in Algeria, and, although "Algeria is France" (as used to be said), the French left. They were just plain tired of waging a very nasty conflict, and argue about superstition and colonization. De Gaulle thought France would be weaker if she stayed entangled in Africa. He argued secretly that France should pull out by selfishness. That argument was also made by the socialist opposition: it was understood that France could not pay for a hospital every 100 kilometers across gigantic Africa. (Of course the greedy American plutocrats, and the imperialist Russians obsessed by Saharan oil and gas, had pushed as much as they could to get the French out, but that is another story…)
The French pull-out from Africa shows that even with huge military advantage and a few very good reasons to fight to death, sometimes even more is needed. (By the way, France and Britain withdrew from most of the countries in Africa not even because they were asked to: Algeria and Kenya were exceptions, and in Algeria, all possible and imaginable mistakes were piled up on the French side, to make the situation as difficult as possible: whereas millions of people living in French Algeria had interest to keep some sense of “French” rule, Paris, and many a secretly racist metropolitan French was not too anxious to keep sharing a fate with Maghrebins…)
But back to the present struggle in Afghanistan: to win militarily there as the French did in Algeria, are we going to send three million men to dominate 36 million Afghans? So we can give it all up a few months later? (Because that is what happened in Algeria; by the way, as the French pulled out, they did not evacuate all the Harkis, those Muslim Algerians who had fought in the French army: 150,000 Harkis, at least, were massacred after the French army had been treacherously pulled out, followed by millions of French colons and various Jews and other non Muslim, some of them implanted in North Africa, from before the Muslim invasion of 700 CE.) [Disclaimer: part of my family is from North Africa, and got killed in the conflict.]
Unlikely. Unlikely that we will find the treasure to send three million naive souls to occupy the 40,000 villages in Afghanistan, to prevent them to grow forbidden plants of the type Obama used to abuse of personally 20 years ago. [Disclaimer: I have never done drugs, not even alcohol or tobacco, so I am perfectly relaxed being scathing with the hypocrisy that is flaunted there.] Those who can’t obey the law at home, should not enforce it overseas with killer robots that fly around.
Obama does not know what he is doing in Afghanistan, as shown by his completely self contradictory statements about Islam there. What does Islam have to do with it? Well, the American strategists, in their depth and wisdom, allowed the Constitution of Afghanistan to be Islamist. Never mind the fact that Afghanistan is one of the world’s most backward countries, and that a conflictual situation developed when the progressive Afghans decided to send little girls to school, which was view in contradiction with Salafism (but clearly Muhammad loved educated little girls, since he married one, aged 6, Aisha! And there is a law in the Qur’an saying that little girls should not be killed; that used to be a tradition in Arabia, Muhammad put an end to.)
By so doing, by supporting the side of Salafism, American strategists chose the ideology of one side in the Afghan war they had themselves organized for two decades. They chose the ideological side of the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (itself a product of Muslim Fundamentalism), and that was also the side of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and worldwide rabid Wahhabism. Part of these deplorable creatures were created by the American strategists themselves.
At this point, then, the American strategists, for whatever reason they held, had LOST THE IDEOLOGICAL WAR WITH SALAFISM. Ever since NATO and company have been fighting for Wahhabism in Afghanistan, getting about a thousand soldiers killed in the process (not only Americans are dying in Afghanistan, proportionally to their population, Canadians are dying more).
So here comes Obama, and first he repeats Bush’s mantra: ‘We fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan’. But there is no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has settled next to Pakistan’s warm nukes, calmly preparing for Armageddon there. Plus, there is extremely active and nasty Al Qaeda in North Africa: why does not Mr. Obama invade there? [Technical detail: it’s often known not as "Al Qaeda", but as "Salafism"].
So Mr. Obama, apparently aware that it was silly to claim that what was clearly not, was, corrected his own logical posture: in Cairo, he celebrated good Islam, and quoted the Qur’an, while condemning the "extremists" (in Islam). Always playing Muslim on TV, he informed us that transforming women into jail-tents was good, and most welcome in the USA: never mind that anybody knows that this is the most exterior mark of Salafism, thus Al Qaeda. Never mind that any honest to goodness Muslim Fundamentalist with a vigorous disposition knows that there are 178 calls to lethal violence in the Qur’an (they have counted them, out of the 400 pages of the Qur’an).
However, our new Islamist scholar, Obama turned around, and said that he did not like the law about raping women, and forcing them to enjoy it officially, which is straight out of Salafism, and thus the Taliban.
That rape fantasy is the law in Afghanistan, though, and, thus, the law honest to goodness American boys are dying to defend. Therefore Mr. Obama is completely confused ideologically. He wants us to die for Afghanistan’s Islam, while celebrating it, and, moreover, condemning it.
If one wanted to really win that war, one would have to go back to how it started, and correct the mistake in ideological positioning that were made initially.
So how did the war in Afghanistan start? On one side there was progress, that wanted to send little girls to school. The USA’s secret services labeled that "socialism" (back in 1973), and connived with the Pakistani secret services, the ISI, to crush the idea of little girls going to school. The great strategists of the USA were ecstatic to create a mess on the USSR doorstep. nothing like giving to the adversary a very good moral reason to fight a war it could not win. A member of the Royal family had made a coup to establish a more progressive regime. A whole panoply of Salafists and shady characters was paid and organized by the USA to prevent, with bombs, to let little girls go to school.
Fast forward thirty years later. So now here we are: Pakistan is full of thermonuclear bombs, and is building very officially another nuclear plant to make even more thermonuclear bombs. The risk there? World War, of the nuclear type, starting with 200 million dead. The solution? Talk about Iran all day long. True Iran is officially a non proliferator (having signed the NPT), and Pakistan is an official proliferator that was paid by Bush 100 million dollars for making better nuclear weapons (!)
The better way out of the Afghan mess is to change the ideology of what we are fighting for, namely to officially embrace progress, and only progress (meaning not Salafism, as we presently do). Once we have done this clearly, maybe enough progressive Afghans will be found for the Afghan army, especially if we pay them well.
This is where my remarks about the Harkis in Algeria come in full: the Harkis fought in the French army not just because they loved the law of the republic, and liberty, equality, and fraternity. They also fought because it never came to their minds that France would, unbelievably, outright leave Algeria. Indeed France leaving Algeria made no sense in so many ways (and, if some day some Algerian regime pointed thermonuclear weapons, France would have to be back, or probably, die). Millions of families of Harkis suffered ever since, and as I said 150,000 were outright assassinated (and very cruelly). So, of course, this sort of things is in the back of Afghans’ mind: why would they die for Obama, when tomorrow Obama can organize another rescue of Wall Street, leaving with no money to pay for his own troops? So Obama will find soldiers for his Afghan army, but the crafty ones will have some guarantees with the other side.
Right now though, we are de facto engaged in a fake civil war inside Islam: we are fighting for Salafism/Wahhabism, against the Taliban, whose main ideology is a mix of just that, plus national resistance. The soldiers in the Afghan army do not have to make a clear ideological choice. [Thus to progress we would have to clearly impose a secular, socialist constitution on Afghanistan: it’s the only way to win.]
As it is, the drain of this grotesque war on treasure, morals, morality, and logical coherence, let alone lives and limbs, cannot be sustained…
As I have argued before on my sites, in truth the war is waged not because of Al Qaeda, or the Taliban: these are just pretexts. But the truth can only be left unsaid. One cannot tell the NATO populations that they are fighting because of a pipe line, and because it is nice to have a pretext to occupy Central Asia indefinitely as one prepares for the inevitable thermonuclear conflict headed by the thermonuclear Salafism that festers in Pakistan…