Public Comment

Afghanistan, And Why We Are There

By John F. Davies
Thursday December 17, 2009 - 08:46:00 AM

During the past eight years, I have heard this question asked many times—Why are we in Afghanistan? Some of what I’m about to say here on this matter has been recently declassified, but is still not well known. During the Carter administration, National Security Advisor Zbignew Brezhinski—who currently advises Obama—proposed a covert operation to destabilize the than secular Afghan government, which was getting way too friendly with the Soviets. His idea, approved and put into effect by Jimmy Carter, was to provoke the Russians into getting involved into a Vietnam-type guerrilla war in Central Asia. The goal here was to wear down and eventually destabilize the Soviet Union. In order to accomplish this, the CIA supported and funded the most staunchly anti-Communist groups in Afghanistan, who also happened to be radical fundamentalist Muslims. Brezhinski himself said words to the effect that Islamic fundamentalism was the most effective weapon against Communism, and to this day, he speaks of having no regrets for his actions. 

  Following the Soviet invasion, the outrage that occurred throughout the Islamic world was used by the U.S. Government to recruit other Muslims into the budding insurgent movement. Among them was the son of a wealthy Saudi family named Osama Bin Laden. With the withdrawal of the Soviets, the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations turned their backs on their former Afghan allies and allowed anarchy to reign among rival warlords. The Taliban, who were initially a very small group, eventually gained control because the U.S. believed they would provide stability to the country. Also, Operation Desert Storm outraged many of these former insurgents who, in their eyes, felt used and betrayed by the Americans. It was at this point in time that we see the beginnings of radical groups like al Qaeda. 

  What history shows is that beyond all the flags, propaganda and fear-mongering, the ultimate reason why nations go to war is control and domination of resources. Certain pieces of real estate are considered important to the interests of national power elites because they are either resource-rich or control access to the same. How this applies in the case of Afghanistan is that about ten years ago, UNOCAL—with the support of the U.S. government—began negotiations with the Taliban government over a planned gas pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan, and ultimately to the Indian Ocean. This would potentially give the U.S. and other Western countries access to, and control of, some of the world’s richest fields of natural gas. However, the Taliban consistently kept asking for more money, and the talks dragged on until they suddenly ended in 2001. Shortly afterward, the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, and subsequently came the U.S. invasion. It should also be noted that the major U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are positioned along the planned route of this very same gas pipeline. Is there a coincidence here? 

  The present Afghan war is a case of allies being turned into enemies by the shortsightedness of our own National Security policies. There is even a term for this in intelligence circles. It’s called “blowback,” namely, former assets who in time turn against you. Speaking as Marine vet who lost friends to a terrorist bombing in Beirut, I am in no way justifying or offering any apology for the attacks of Sept. 11. But what I am saying is that by making Faustian bargains with evil, our so-called leaders cause the chickens to come home to roost. These terrorists are indeed Frankensteins, who were created by the spooks in Langley Virginia. They are a legacy of the Cold War, which has come back home to haunt us. 

  And so, in spite of all the high-sounding words that come out of the mouth of our erstwhile commander in chief, the above hard facts speak more to the real reasons why this government spends so much of our nation’s blood and treasure in a far- off Asian land. 


John F. Davies is a Berkeley resident.