One of the first points in the fine new Freedom Road statement released on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq is the interesting assertion that Afghanistan is less about the strategic interests of US imperialism than about bourgeois politics here at home:
The war in Afghanistan is not mainly about oil or gas pipelines nor, at this point, is it principally about al Qaeda. If the war there were central to US ruling class interests, the George Bush administration would not have low-balled it for eight years. If Afghanistan were a central strategic focus, the Bush 41 and Clinton administrations wouldn’t have completely ignored it from the Soviet defeat there in 1989 right through to 9/11/01.I just ran across an interesting confirmation of that assertion, in an Agence France-Presse article tellingly entitled "West lowers sights in Afghanistan":
Afghanistan is a pawn in the game of US domestic politics. Obama ran on Bush’s failure to keep his promise to capture Bin Laden, and in his statements during the campaign and since has repeatedly made his own pledge―Victory in Afghanistan. Yet no one in the administration can say what that would look like and it is acknowledged that so far there exists neither an overall strategic plan, clear goals nor an exit strategy.
"We are lowering our ambitions," a senior French official admitted to AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The Americans are now looking for a way out, they no longer regard Afghanistan as strategic. It'll take two to five years, but we're in a logic of disengagement."They want out because they are losing (as the FRSO/OSCL statement points out) and there's no way to "win" by practically any definition of the word, and because the real strategic problems for the US in the region remain Iraq, Iran and Pakistan.
I won't insult FotM readers by explaining why this does not mean that anti-war activists can breathe a sigh of relief and turn our attention to other issues. Let us rather take up the call made in the recent--and eloquent--open letter of IVAW, MFSO and VFP to the peace movement (available here):
We ask all those who have stood with us in the past to stay faithful to the cause.Read more!