(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
We all know why we invaded Afghanistan in October 2001; because Al-Qaeda had training camps in Afghanistan. The question being asked now is; why are we still in Afghanistan?
The history is long and varied… the answer is simple.
Al-Qaeda formed in late 1988 from the Mujahideen, the “Freedom Fighters” that our CIA bankrolled, trained, and armed during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in conjunction with other terrorist organizations. Al-Qaeda initially based itself in Sudan.
That Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were on two ends of ideology was well known. When Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2nd, 1990, Osama Bin Laden offered his forces to help protect Saudi Arabia and fight the Iraqi forces in Kuwait. His offer was snubbed, however, by the Saudi Royal Family, who instead, looked to the United Nations and West for assistance.
Kuwait was liberated by NATO forces in February 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. Once Iraqi forces were driven out of Kuwait and NATO forces decided to go into “containment” mode, Osama Bin Laden called for American troops to leave Saudi Arabia. It was a call we did not heed. It is not without notice that Al-Qaeda, as an organization, never attacked American troops or resources until December 29th, 1992. It was a failed attack, however, since no American troops were staying in the hotels in Yemen that were bombed.
Switching strategy, Al-Qaida then decided to target inside the United States and on February 23rd, 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed for the first time. In 1994, four of the bombers were convicted of the attack. In 1997, two more of the bombers were convicted.
In 1996, Al-Qaeda lost its sanctuary in Sudan and moved to Afghanistan. The training camps were located in remote regions of Afghanistan and easily accessible to the tribal regions of Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden knew from his fight with the Soviet army that this region was almost impenetrable by military force.
Al-Qaeda struck the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Al-Qaeda struck again in 1998, this time bombing American Embassies in Africa. They struck again in 2000 with the attack on the USS Cole.
By this time, our forces and the military bases we had in Saudi Arabia were in their tenth year. This was by design on the part of the United States government.
American Foreign Policy:
America and Britain both knew from the 1950’s that oil drove the world’s societies, and, both wanted that oil secured for their own. It was, and has been, American foreign policy since the 1950’s to gain two primary objectives; secure the oil in the Middle East and get into place military bases in the Middle East to protect that oil. It was this policy that prompted the CIA to overthrow the President of Iran in 1953 and install the Shah of Iran.
After the Iranian revolution in 1979, America’s government threw its full support to Saddam Hussein, who became the leader of Iraq in 1968 after a coup. America sent Iraq arms during the Iraq-Iran war. This relationship remained between the United States and Iraq until the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, despite the human rights abuses his regime committed.
It wasn’t until the invasion of Kuwait that the United States was able to get military troops and bases into the Middle East, and, once in, our government was loath to give them up. This loathing to remove our troops and give up those bases went through three Presidents; George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Western oil companies and the Middle East:
Oil companies knew about the Middle East and its oil reserves. For decades, western oil companies were trying to secure themselves in the Middle East through friendly governments and countries.
ENRON maintained a factory in India for years, losing money, in the hope that an oil pipeline would run from Iran and Iraq, through Afghanistan, into Pakistan, and finally into India. This pipeline never got built, however, and finally ENRON went bankrupt.
General Pervez Musharraf gained power in Pakistan in 1999 through a coup which was rumored to have had CIA assistance, much like the Iranian coup of 1953. With a U.S. friendly dictator in Pakistan and U.S. friendly government in India, this part of the pipeline was almost assured.
Haliburton had operated in Iran, despite sanctions, for many years so Dick Cheney knew of the vast amounts of reserves untapped in Iran and Iraq. But, how to get control of these two countries and secure Afghanistan?
President Bush selected by Supreme Court in 2000:
In the 2000 election, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were selected to become President and Vice-President when the Supreme Court ordered the Florida recount halted in Bush v. Gore. This opened the door for the oil companies that dominated the Bush administration.
It was at this time that the administration of George W. Bush took shape; PNAC members, people with ties to oil conglomerates, Elliot Abrams, Colin Powell, John Negroponte, among others. It was a veritable “who’s who” of criminals and those who wished to exploit a Presidency.
Soon after the election, Dick Cheney held his “secret energy task force” meetings, dominated by oil and energy giants. These meetings included maps of the Middle East oil reserve fields. George W. Bush wanted to be seen as a “war president”, and, had a personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein.
In order to get into a war with the Middle East, however, would take, just as PNAC suggested in its “manifest”, an event — a new “Pearl Harbor” — in order for this to occur. ENRON and Kenneth Lay were in trouble, however. Bush’s poll numbers were going down. Dick Cheney was mired in his “secret energy task force” scandal.
What could save them? What could give them the casus belli to attack and invade the Middle East? Enter 9/11.
After the United States invaded Afghanistan and helped install Karzai as President, he signed the pipeline deal that western oil companies had tried to get for decades in December 2002. This part of the pipeline was now secure which only left two countries; Iraq and Iran.
Right after we invaded Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden escaped into Pakistan, Bush and Cheney turned their eyes to Iraq. Colin Powell played his part at the United Nations, but, failed to garner a resolution giving explicit permission to invade. With a media cowed by 9/11, the drumbeat for war with Iraq was soon enough. With the help of the CIA, Paul Bremer, an administration full of prior Big Oil operatives, and a soon-to-be established puppet government, the oil reserves of Iraq were soon to be opened. This only left Iran, but, things started falling apart. Musharaff lost power in Pakistan, the war in Iraq raged on and was losing American support before the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Law could be signed, and the Taliban began pushing back in Afghanistan.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney started having their own problems here in the United States. Italy wasn’t happy with the CIA and began trying to bring charges against CIA agents in Italy. The use of torture became a real concern. Guantanamo prison became a rallying cry for recruitment in the Middle East. Iraq’s government, despite having different leaders, was pushing back against the administration. A Status-Of-Forces Agreement with Iraq, securing our bases in Iraq, failed and our troop withdrawal was all but certain.
So, it turned from getting western dominance over the Middle East to abandonment of the problems to the next administration as rats deserted the ship trying to save themselves from prison.
This brings us now to The Afghanistan War and why we are still there: Military bases.
The dream of securing the oil reserves in the Middle East is gone. It failed. The dream of having a pipeline linking all of the Middle East is gone. It failed. The dream of maintaining bases in the Middle East is all but gone. The only country where it may still survive, where it could be salvaged, is Afghanistan and President Karzai.
In order to keep his power, President Karzai needs the United States and its troops. In order to keep our bases in Afghanistan, the United States needs President Karzai in power.
This is now the exact question President Obama is faced with; how to stay in Afghanistan.
The people of Afghanistan are against our forces remaining, just as Iraq wanted our forces out. President Karzai truly cannot support our continued presence and keep his hold on what little power he still has because most of Afghanistan is ruled by the warlords, not President Karzai. So, why have the warlords tolerated our troops? The answer to that is opium.
It is all but proven fact that the CIA allowed drug lords in Central America to continue their trade, even helping them to do it, as long as they allowed our presence in the region. The same has been true with Afghanistan. At first, we helped the warlords despite their opium trade. Like Manuel Noreiga, once warlords in Afghanistan no longer really needed our troops, or our presence, our troops are targeting their crops, thus, giving the warlords the reason to either fight us or capitulate.
But, the entire end-game of Afghanistan now is keeping military bases in the Middle East — namely, now, in Afghanistan.
– if Al-Qaeda in Pakistan is the only reason we are still in Afghanistan, why must we continue to fight the Taliban — the threat to Karzai’s power?
– if Al-Qaeda in Pakistan is the true threat, isn’t tripling our support to Pakistan enough since they are bottled up in the northern tribal areas? Why do we need to increase troop strength to fight an enemy that is a fraction the size of our force level now?