Thursday, September 3, 2009

Veterans Condemn General's Report

March Forward! veterans speak out against Gen. McChrystal's report
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"All foreign forces should leave Afghanistan now!"


The war in Afghanistan, like the one we were sent to fight in Iraq, is based on lies and false rationales. Instead of expanding the war, all foreign troops should leave Afghanistan immediately.

March Forward! supporter Ron Kovic eloquently stated: "As a United States Marine Corps Sergeant who served 2 tours of duty in Vietnam, and was shot and paralyzed from my mid-chest down in 1968, I strongly disagree with General McChrystal. The war in Afghanistan is a huge mistake, another Vietnam disaster in the making. I want to encourage every member of our military, every veteran, and citizen, to raise your voices against this war, to protest, to demonstrate, to do all that you can before more lives are lost."

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, top commander of the Afghanistan war, has submitted his assessment report to the president. The report is another case of official double-speak. McChrystal essentially admits that the previous eight-year strategy has been catastrophic and an abysmal failure.

Yet he announced in a statement on Aug. 31 that "success is achievable and [the war] demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort."

As a politician/salesman in uniform, Gen. McChrystal is selling the country a bill of goods. He asks us to genuflect before the war machine and "trust" the generals.

It's worth remembering that it was Gen. McChrystal who stated in April 2003 in a nationally televised Pentagon briefing on the operations in Iraq, "I would anticipate that the major combat engagements are over." The general is either a professional pitchman or a professional liar, or both.

Deciphering McCystal’s real message is important for every member of the armed forces. In short he is saying: all we have to do is be prepared to send several thousand more US servicemembers to their graves while they try to kill tens of thousands more Afghans and then, or perhaps then, the US will have established a stable puppet government in Kabul.

The war in Afghanistan is a colonial-type war. The people in Afghanistan are among the poorest in the world, but the country has always been considered a "prize" by competing colonial world powers. The Bush Administration had its sights on Afghanistan for its resources, its value as a route for oil pipelines and trade, and its geopolitical significance as a cornerstone of U.S. domination in the region. The Pentagon sought to establish military bases not only in Afghanistan but in all of the former Soviet Republics that border it.

There were no Afghans on the planes that struck on September 11, but today, after nearly eight years of aerial bombings, shellings and infantry attacks, tens of thousands of Afghans have been killed. The U.S./NATO assault, if anything, has contributed to the strengthening of the Taliban and other resistance forces.

The Pentagon brass can’t honestly define what victory means in Afghanistan. Originally they thought Afghanistan would be easily conquered and made into a semi-colonial extension of American power in Asia. That was a fantasy based on imperial arrogance, just like in Vietnam.

Today, what they are really fighting for—meaning what they are sending us to fight for—is to help them avoid the perception of having "lost" a war in a poor, third-world country in Asia. That’s exactly why Nixon and Kissinger kept U.S. forces fighting and dying in Vietnam from 1969-73.

The other reason we are fighting this war is that it is a source of profit for Corporate America. U.S. taxpayers will pay nearly $200 billion this year for the Afghanistan war and much of it goes directly into corporate coffers. On Monday, as McChrystal’s report outlining an expansion of the war was revealed, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was at a Lockheed Martin facility pledging to spend $300 billion on new fighter jets like the ones that have been killing scores of Afghan civilians on a daily basis.

The war in Afghanistan only benefits those who can profit from it. It is paid for with billions upon billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money while funds for health care, child care, job training and education are slashed. It is paid for with the blood of U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians; whether it is the loss of limbs, the death of a family member, psychological trauma, forced displacement, or the long list of tragedies associated with war, the occupation of Afghanistan has and will continue to destroy the lives of millions of people.

This is why March Forward! is joining in the call by the ANSWER Coalition and others to participate in actions throughout the country in scores of cities against the war in Afghanistan. We believe that a mass people's movement can be built that forces this atrocity to end.

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