Memo from the people of Afghanistan to the United States: Get out! Now! The mass demonstrations in Afghanistan, punctuated by anti-American violence, carry a clear message: After more than a decade, the U.S. empire should pack up and leave. It’s long past time.
The news media, in its typically shallow fashion, attribute the current popular outrage to the “inadvertent” burning of Korans in a trash pit at Bagram air base. For most pundits and politicians, history always begins the day before yesterday. But it’s more sensible to look at the Koran-burning as the last straw. Consider Bagram. The U.S. government has a prison there — sort of a Guantanamo East — where men are held indefinitely without due process. The detention center is “worse than Guantanamo,” writes Daphne Eviatar, an attorney for Human Rights First. Things have only gotten worse under Nobel Peace Prize-winner President Obama: “There are now 3,000 detainees in Bagram, up from 1,700 since June (!) and five times the amount there when Barack Obama took office,” writes John Glaser.
That’s far from the end of it. U.S. military units and special-operations forces have free rein to do as they wish. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. government’s hand-picked figurehead who barely governs the capital, Kabul, has repeatedly beseeched Obama to stop the night raids on Afghan homes, but the raids do not stop. As Glenn Greenwald reminds us, former top American general Stanley McChrystal acknowledged that an “amazing number” of civilians have been shot dead at checkpoints. Added to the assaults on the ground are those from the air, which have taken many innocent lives. Obama insists that only “militants” are killed in the bombings, but we may infer from the U.S. record that a “militant” means anyone killed by American forces. That lexicon apparently also includes as its definition of “Taliban” anyone who objects to the U.S. occupation.
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Sheldon Richman (photo)