A round-up of what’s being said online about the war in Afghanistan
Was the Marja battle more about self-esteem than strategic? Siun with FireDogLake questions the reality on the ground in Marja:
A week or so ago, we were hearing a lot about how decisive the current surge over Marja in Afghanistan would be. Of course, we were hearing all sorts of things – including a lot of happy talk about how well things were going. This week we learn that the fight is not so easy with US forces still facing “strong resistance” even though the US/NATO/Afghan force is 15,000+ while the reported “taliban” presence before the attack was estimated at 400. US officers are now saying that the military component of the campaign will take at least a month. They have also told the Guardian that Marja is just a “confidence building” action leading to the new “decisive” battle which they are beginning to plan for Kandahar.
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald does some digging on the source of a recent New York Times Op-Ed piece that actually called for MORE civilian casulaties in Afghanistan. He called the argument made by “mysterious” writer Lara M. Dadkhah “deranged.”
Dadkhah did not submit her Op-Ed unsolicited, but rather, the NYT purposely sought out an Op-Ed to urge more civilian deaths in Afghanistan (“We found Ms. Dadkhah from work she did in Small Wars Journal”). Why would they do that? Maybe tomorrow the NYT Editors can actively solicit an Op-Ed urging the use of biological agents and chemical weapons on civilian populations in Yemen. After that, they can search out someone to advocate medical experiments on detainees in Bagram. Perhaps the day after, they can host a symposium on the tactical advantages of air bombing hospitals and orphanages as a means of keeping local populations in line.
Juan Cole reports on his site Informed Comment that Afghan senators want to execute US and NATO soldiers who kill civilians in air strikes.
Senator Hamidullah Tokhi of Uuzgan complained to Pajhwok that the foreign forces had killed civilians in such incidents time and again, and kept apologizing but then repeating the fatal mistake: “Anyone killing an ordinary Afghan should be executed in public.”
Lawmaker Fatima Aziz of Qunduz concurred, observing, “We saw foreign troops time and again that they killed innocent people, something unbearable for the already war-weary Afghans.”
Maulvi Abdul Wali Raji, a senator from Baghlan Province, called for the Muslim law of an ‘eye for an eye’ to be applied to foreign troops for civilian deaths. Pajhwok concludes, “Mohammad Alam Izdiyar said civilian deaths were the major reason behind the widening gap between the people and Afghan government.”
Note that those speaking this way are not Taliban, but rather elected members of the Afghanistan National Parliament, whose government is supposedly a close US ally.