Jump to content
The Education Forum

Why our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan?


John Simkin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Politicians argue that the reason our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan is because they are creating a democratic system where free and uncorrupt elections can take place. Seems a strange sort of democratic election to me:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8207315.stm

An investigation by the BBC has found evidence of fraud and corruption in Afghanistan's presidential election. Thousands of voting cards have been offered for sale and thousands of dollars have been offered in bribes to buy votes.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission that oversees the poll has also been accused of not doing enough to prevent abuses.

We were passed information that voting cards were being sold in the capital. An Afghan working for the BBC went undercover, posing as a potential buyer. He was offered 1,000 cards on the spot. Each one would cost about $10 (£6).

We were given some samples as proof of what was being offered. They are all authentic with the name, photo and home details of the voter on them.

The cards have been returned to the seller and no money changed hands. Others have also offered to sell us thousands of votes and some traders have even been arrested.

The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), an independent monitoring group, has collected evidence of fraud, in particular during the registration process.

It found that in many places people were being issued with more than one voting card, that children were being given them and that stacks of cards were issued to men who falsely claimed they were for women in their household.

Government workers - supposed to be impartial - have actively and illegally campaigned for candidates.

Shahrzad Akbar, a senior analyst with FEFA, says that because they were only able to investigate a few parts of the country, the abuses could be even more widespread.

"We couldn't observe how it went in every single district or village. I am sure that there are cases of multiple card distribution that we don't know about.

"But those incidents that we do know about caused us enough concern to contact the Independent Election Commission and say, 'please prevent this!'"

The Electoral Complaints Commission has been training its investigators in how to spot fraud on polling day. Like the Independent Election Commission, the body insists that any problems are isolated and manageable.

But there is evidence that some people working for candidates have deliberately tried to influence the outcome of the presidential election by offering bribes.

A tribal elder and former military commander in Baghlan province described how the system works.

As a key local leader he is able to persuade large numbers of people to vote for one candidate or another.

He says that he and other local leaders have been approached by teams from the two leading contenders in this election and offered money.

"If one candidate gives $10,000, then the other gives $20,000 and a third one offers even more. It has become such a lucrative and competitive business. I don't know where they get their money from."

Western officials concede the election will be flawed - that there has been corruption, that there is apathy and that the fighting will stop some from voting.

Mark Sedwill, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, insists that whatever the problems, it is still better than not having an election at all.

"If this was a western European country with a population at peace, then the kind of difficulties we're going to face wouldn't be acceptable," he said.

"But we're working up from zero. And this election will be better than the last one, it's run by the Afghans themselves and I suspect - and hope - that the parliamentary election next year will be better and that the next presidential election will be better again.

"So it's not a question of reaching some standard that's unobtainable - we have to remember the situation we're in."

Western officials believe that these abuses will not change the result precisely because they are being carried out in the name of so many candidates.

But as international forces fight and die to allow this election to go ahead, serious questions are raised about the credibility of the process and the balance between sacrifice and reward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are fighting a war in Afghanistan to enrich the MIC as usual. The American people (I can't speak for the British or other nationalities) are perennially dumb enough to accept any government rationale given for the war du jour. Secretary of State Dean Rusk memorably summed up why we were fighting in Vietnam: to get the Viet Cong "to stop doing what they're doing." Could there be a greater rallying cry? The common herd was given a parade of reasons for the war in Iraq. To search for WMDs. No WMDs? Well, then, to get rid of a mean dictator. Got rid of him? Well, then, to "spread freedom" (whether anyone in that God-forsaken part of the world want it or not.)

The "war on terror" is supposed to be against Al Qaeda, I believe. Never mind that the Taliban we are fighting in Afghanistan, 8 years after 9/11, is not Al Qaeda. But the Taliban are bad guys and, hey, that seems to be reason enough, to the hoi poloi, to be over there dying.

Edited by Ron Ecker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know why the British are there, or why they are still in Ireland, but I do know why Americans are there, and will be there until Bin Laden is dead, his network crushed, and the Taliban are defeated, young girls can attend school, youngsters can handle dollar bills without being murdered, historic centuries old Buddas that were destroyed by Taliban are rebuilt and people can live without fear of being persecuted by fanatical Islamic biggots.

I live in a military town, near Fort Dix, New Jersey, and meet many soldiers before they go over and when they return, and while they say the situation in Afghanistan is bad, they are reaching the people, building communities, and taking the battle to the al Quada and Taliban.

And they volunteer to go back, because there isn't a more just cause or more worthy battle than that being fought today in Afghanistan.

I know the history, the story of Gunga Din, of Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King, the story of the Kyber Pass, and that the deserts and mountains there are like the Wild West, but the Americans who are volunteering to fight there know the situation, and know the fight is right and just.

The British can leave Afghanistan if they want to, and leave Ireland too.

Iraq is as different story. Bush's folly.

Bill Kelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are fighting a war in Afghanistan to enrich the MIC as usual. The American people (I can't speak for the British or other nationalities) are perennially dumb enough to accept any government rationale given for the war du jour. Secretary of State Dean Rusk memorably summed up why we were fighting in Vietnam: to get the Viet Cong "to stop doing what they're doing." Could there be a greater rallying cry? The common herd was given a parade of reasons for the war in Iraq. To search for WMDs. No WMDs? Well, then, to get rid of a mean dictator. Got rid of him? Well, then, to "spread freedom" (whether anyone in that God-forsaken part of the world want it or not.)

The "war on terror" is supposed to be against Al Qaeda, I believe. Never mind that the Taliban we are fighting in Afghanistan, 8 years after 9/11, is not Al Qaeda. But the Taliban are bad guys and, hey, that seems to be reason enough, to the hoi poloi, to be over there dying.

I agree with your assessment Ron. We all know that the US and UK will eventually agree to leave Afghanistan before democracy is achieved. As with Vietnam, the US public will eventually put enough pressure on the politicians to bring the "boys home". Especially when the politicians can argue that the US can afford to spend billions "establishing democracy but cannot afford a decent health service.

I don't know why the British are there, or why they are still in Ireland, but I do know why Americans are there, and will be there until Bin Laden is dead, his network crushed, and the Taliban are defeated, young girls can attend school, youngsters can handle dollar bills without being murdered, historic centuries old Buddas that were destroyed by Taliban are rebuilt and people can live without fear of being persecuted by fanatical Islamic biggots.

I live in a military town, near Fort Dix, New Jersey, and meet many soldiers before they go over and when they return, and while they say the situation in Afghanistan is bad, they are reaching the people, building communities, and taking the battle to the al Quada and Taliban.

And they volunteer to go back, because there isn't a more just cause or more worthy battle than that being fought today in Afghanistan.

I know the history, the story of Gunga Din, of Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King, the story of the Kyber Pass, and that the deserts and mountains there are like the Wild West, but the Americans who are volunteering to fight there know the situation, and know the fight is right and just.

The British can leave Afghanistan if they want to, and leave Ireland too.

Iraq is as different story. Bush's folly.

Bill Kelly

The British are there because the US government has told us to be. Mark Sedwill, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, claimed that it might be 30 years before the country will be in a position to hold free democratic elections like those held in the US and the UK (sic). The same was probably true of Vietnam but the US public would not let them do that. How long will the US public be willing to put up with so many casualties without any sign of real progress? Polls show the majority of the UK population are already demanding a timetable for removing our troops. As it is already a vote loser it will not be long before politicians start to reflect these views.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While maybe the extreme [?], how can you expect American people like these to be involved in any decisions made in elections or by their leaders....

How would American's feel about some other nation being in ours trying to tell us how to do anything? I think the British got a taste of that once [even though there were other motives on the Elite's American side too]. We [American and British, etc.] have no business in other countries. Yes, we should work nonviolently to have Afghan women able to vote, promote real democracy, and other nice things...but not with troops...have we learned nothing...I guess not. Had we not meddled around the last few hundred years most countries would be much better off than they are today. Britian first invaded Afghanistan in the 1838.....guess you didn't do much to set things 'right' that time...and this is the fourth British invasion and will fail as the others did.... And please, someone name ONE country the USA invaded or meddled in and did anything but destroy/weaken/corrupt/bleed/set-up an American-run Oligarchy/etc. - [with a minor exception with WW2; some minor admission it might have had to have been done....after we helped create the monster that then needed destruction - though many of our Elites funded both sides, before, during, after.]

Reassuring to know that the victory of European Fascism is a 'minor exception'.

Conspiracy theories do tend to breed 'monsters'. Unfortunately the defeat of Hitler has not stopped the theorising..... 'have we learned nothing' - seems to be about spot on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A number of the fellas I have spoken to who served there have a similar opinion. In general people don't want the taliban, and are happy for the things the coalition is doing there... but they also see the terrible ****ups, and the corruption, and wonder which is better - the devil they know....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reassuring to know that the victory of European Fascism is a 'minor exception'.

Conspiracy theories do tend to breed 'monsters'. Unfortunately the defeat of Hitler has not stopped the theorising..... 'have we learned nothing' - seems to be about spot on.

Are you really in favour of British troops in Afghanistan?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reassuring to know that the victory of European Fascism is a 'minor exception'.

Conspiracy theories do tend to breed 'monsters'. Unfortunately the defeat of Hitler has not stopped the theorising..... 'have we learned nothing' - seems to be about spot on.

Are you really in favour of British troops in Afghanistan?

One can be both against troops in Afghanistan and against conspiracy theory. .. in fact I recommend it to you most strongly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The British can leave Afghanistan if they want to, and leave Ireland too.

Iraq is as different story. Bush's folly.

In fact Tony Blair agreed to send troops into Afghanistan after a meeting with Bush in 2002. Blair was given two years to prepare for the war. However, Gordon Brown vetoed spending on helicopters, etc. that were needed.

Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same war that was started by George Bush. Wars that will evenually end in the same way that the Vietnam War ended.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tom Scully
The British can leave Afghanistan if they want to, and leave Ireland too.

Iraq is as different story. Bush's folly.

In fact Tony Blair agreed to send troops into Afghanistan after a meeting with Bush in 2002. Blair was given two years to prepare for the war. However, Gordon Brown vetoed spending on helicopters, etc. that were needed.

Afghanistan and Iraq are part of the same war that was started by George Bush. Wars that will evenually end in the same way that the Vietnam War ended.

John,

I agree with your prediction of the outcome in Afghanistan and so does the former head of DIA "humint", miiddle east expert, and US Special Forces Colonel, Patrick Lang: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_...fghanistan.html

US forces attacked, and then invaded and occupied a country, Afghanistan, for the stated reason that it's existing government refused to capture and immediately surrender to the US, one man, without the US providing proof that the accused man had committed crimes justifying his removal by the US from Afghanistan. A month after 9/11, Colin Powell promised that the US State Dept. would shortly share this "proof" with the world. The Bush admin. quickly backtracked on Powell's promise to show proof, and never provided it publicly.

Once Afghanistan was no longer a place where military and guerilla training of people deemed hostile by the US could take place, what was the strategic point of continued military presence in Afghanistan? Bush did not frankly answer this question, and as Colonel Lang observes, neither is Obama, now.

Edited by Tom Scully
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once Afghanistan was no longer a place where military and guerilla training of people deemed hostile by the US could take place, what was the strategic point of continued military presence in Afghanistan? Bush did not frankly answer this question, and as Colonel Lang observes, neither is Obama, now.

It's the same old story. It was said a long time ago that the U.S. can't be "the policemen of the world," yet it doggedly insists on playing that role, which is really just a cover for sustaining and enriching the MIC. If the Taliban are bad guys, and Afghan society is a litany of ills, then the "policemen of the world" have to do something about it, with blood and treasure, till the people back home say enough. Then there will be some other place that has to be policed, till the people at home say enough, or until we miraculously find ourselves in a perfect world.

---------------------------------------------------------

Slavery was a HORRIBLE evil, and while not enabled in America alone, America

probably did it biggest and baddest in the modern context. Imagine if some country - choose whoever you like - decided that American slavery was so evil, they'd invade America and free the slaves. A 'noble cause' [in theory]...but even those Americans who were anti-slavery would have fought the invader.....same as goes NOW on in Iraq, Afghanistan and a dozen other places we try now to 'police'. War is only the solution as the very last choice and only in response to an attack. In fact, pre-emptive war is illegal by international law! While Afghani women voting, going to school, having equal rights, and not having to wear a shador are, I agree, noble causes, they are excuses for growing and profiting from opium, oil pipelines through Afghanistan, control of that area to deny it to others, and other excuses. Some of us are not fooled. The general public and MSM are. My heart bleeds for the people there who suffer and are denied their rights...but sticking a gun in their sides [collectively] never is the answer. Setting an example [which we NO LONGER DO!, and should SERIOUSLY think about cleaning up our own neo-fascist 'act' first], as well and using political and economic incentives via the UN are. Edited by Peter Lemkin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know the history, the story of Gunga Din, of Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King, the story of the Kyber Pass, and that the deserts and mountains there are like the Wild West, but the Americans who are volunteering to fight there know the situation, and know the fight is right and just.

The British can leave Afghanistan if they want to, and leave Ireland too.

I agree that it is like what happened during the establishment of the British Empire. Of course, they were only doing what had been done to them by the Romans. In the words of Calgacus, the British leader, quoted by Tacitus in his book Agricola.(c. AD 98)

"The Romans have exhausted the land by their plunder, and now they ransack the sea... Robbery, butchery... they create a wasteland and call it peace."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tom Scully
......but the Americans who are volunteering to fight there know the situation, and know the fight is right and just.

How do the young soldiers you talk with, know what they know?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9082003993.html

Friday, August 21, 2009

HOMELAND SECURITY

Ridge Cites Pressure Before 2004 Election

....The disclosure comes in promotional materials for Ridge's new book, due out Sept. 1, in which he writes that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft tried to pressure him to raise the threat level.

"After that episode, I knew I had to follow through with my plans to leave the federal government for the private sector," Ridge writes in the book,....

********************************************************************************

******************************************

.....And just so it's clear: using the threat of terrorism to try to achieve political goals is, you know, what terrorists do.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2009/08/not-ex...surprising.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

......but the Americans who are volunteering to fight there know the situation, and know the fight is right and just.

How do the young soldiers you talk with, know what they know?

Hi Tom,

Well, they've been there for one.

And some of them aren't so young. Guys in their 30s who have been on two tours of Afghanistan and have also been to Iraq, know the situation from being there.

I also know some of the guys who train those about to be deployed, and they've brought some Afghanistans over to teach language, dialects and culture before they go over.

They aren't just fighting al Quada and Taliban, they are trying to build schools and develop communities, which is kind of difficult to do in a war zone.

But they are committed, and while those who want the oil pipeline and the opium may have different objectives and motives, the ones that I've met are the good guys who are fighting the bad guys.

BK

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9082003993.html

Friday, August 21, 2009

HOMELAND SECURITY

Ridge Cites Pressure Before 2004 Election

....The disclosure comes in promotional materials for Ridge's new book, due out Sept. 1, in which he writes that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft tried to pressure him to raise the threat level.

"After that episode, I knew I had to follow through with my plans to leave the federal government for the private sector," Ridge writes in the book,....

********************************************************************************

******************************************

.....And just so it's clear: using the threat of terrorism to try to achieve political goals is, you know, what terrorists do.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2009/08/not-ex...surprising.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A number of the fellas I have spoken to who served there have a similar opinion. In general people don't want the taliban, and are happy for the things the coalition is doing there... but they also see the terrible ****ups, and the corruption, and wonder which is better - the devil they know....

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/world/as...rss&emc=rss

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...