Our Warmongering President Wants to Keep Troops in Afghanistan

by lizard

America doesn’t have troops in Iraq not because president Obama wanted it that way, but because Maliki kicked us out:

The claim that President Obama met a campaign promise today is technically true – but only because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki forced him to. Obama was seeking to keep troops in Iraq, perhaps as many as 15,000 of them, beyond the Dec. 31 withdrawal date.

Despite the best efforts of Obama, it was the Bush SOFA (status of forces agreement) that gave al-Makiki the grounds to reassert Iraq’s sovereignty. Now this exact dilemma is being replayed in Afghanistan, and once again our Nobel Peace prize winning president is trying to extend a US troop presence beyond 2014:

The United States and Afghanistan agreed Saturday on a draft deal that would keep some U.S. forces in Afghanistan past next year, but only if Afghan political and tribal leaders agree to a key U.S. demand that American troops not be subject to Afghan law, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the framework security agreement meets his demands regarding counterterrorism operations on Afghan soil and respects Afghan sovereignty. The U.S. demand to retain legal jurisdiction over all remaining U.S. forces will be put before a loya jirga, Karzai said. He plans to convene the Afghan tribal consultation body next month.

Did you catch that? Karzai isn’t making this decision unilaterally. What about the Obama administration? Does Congress or the American people count in the decision making process to make America’s longest war even longer? Here’s an excerpt from the end of Ochenski’s column in the Missoulian today (I suggest reading the whole thing):

First, Kerry isn’t telling Congress what bargains he’s making, nor asking their approval. Instead, he’s been talking with Obama appointees, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and national security adviser Susan Rice, neither of whom is elected nor represents the American people.

In short, America, which lauds itself as the greatest democracy in the world, is using an undemocratic secret process to extend an unpopular and expensive war. Were we the democracy we claim to be, any bargain Kerry strikes should first be submitted to Congress and the American people for approval before it is enacted.

The Obama administration is undoubtedly still smarting from the overwhelming rejection of its plans to militarily intrude in Syria. The lesson it should have learned is that the American people are tired of futile foreign wars. Instead, they are now trying to wage war in secret. Obama says he is comfortable with the pullout of all American troops by the end of 2014. Kerry ought to heed his boss and drop all plans to keep another 10,000 Americans killing and dying in Afghanistan indefinitely into the future.

Ochenski is being very generous here, assuming what Obama has said in public about ending the Afghanistan war correlates to his actual wishes. Personally, I don’t think any statement from the president should be taken at face value.

For a non-American perspective, Moon of Alabama has a post titled The Afghan SOFA Farce. The question concluding the post is worth contemplating:

What is the significance of Afghanistan that makes the Obama administration seek a continued U.S. participation in the war? After twelve full years no success has been achieved in Afghanistan while hundreds of billions have been spent on it. Why continue for longer at such immense costs?

There are a few reasons I can think of, but none of them have a thing to do with fighting terrorism. There is the vast mineral wealth publicized three years ago waiting to be exploited, there are pipelines to build, and there is also the “golden crescent” of opiate production, specifically heroin, which has greatly expanded, post-invasion/occupation.

It’s understandable the American public is focused on shutdowns and debt default, but while we are focused on the class war being waged within our borders, we are ignoring what the warmonger in the White House is trying to achieve abroad.


  1. JC

    Why stay in Afghanistan? Well, it has a 582 mile border with Iran, who we are attempting to contain, if not attack. About 50 miles of border with China — nice for sneaking CIA agents/mercenaries in the back door to surveil. Pakistan (Pahkeestahn, says O-man) has all those nukes right next door, so we have to be able to drone overfly them to keep them in line.

    Actually, the strategic importance of building a presence near India can’t be overstated, as India is no real strategic partner of the U.S. and has been courted by China. So we’ve got to keep them on notice that we are watching them (they just seized one of our armed mercenary ships — never made the U.S. news, did it???).

    And finally, how can you maintain and grow empire without keeping some kind of base and force in your collection of trophy countries?

    Really think we left Iraq? How about this: we left a 17,000 personnel embassy with an additional 5,000 defense “contractors (read mercenaries) to control the billions of dollars of U.S. arms that continue to flow there after our “forces left” Iraq. And to maintain the drone control over the airspace. Though those numbers are declining, we still have enough presence in Iraq for the Iraqis to see it as “a symbol of continued occupation”.

    And let’s not forget our newest strategic trajectory: Africa.

  2. Each month the US gives Karzai a bag of cash for himself, personally; I’ll be happy when this stops.

  3. Turner

    I wonder what people who are opposed to American imperialism feel about our government defaulting on its debts. Would a financially decimated USA have to draw in its empire?

    • JC

      I’m going to invoke Godwin here.

      Germany defaulted on its debts in 1933, 3 months after hitler rose to power.

      So au contraire, it may just be what solidifies our empire.

  4. Turner

    Well, I’m not sure that that the Third Reich was a solid empire. How long did it last?




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