Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the War on Afghanistan

Supposedly winding down, the open-ended war in Afghanistan continues. These past few months witnessed the highest levels of US war casualties since the invasion began 10 years ago. Initially driven from power, a resurgent Taliban has continued to mount its resistance to the US-led invader occupation as the conflict expands into Pakistan. Iraq, in the meantime, has remained far from pacified as US military leaders openly speak of a troop presence on the ground twenty years from now.

The initial public justifications for the war are all but history. Osama bin Laden is dead and al Qaida has been decimated. But upwards of $10 billion a month - money that could be used for innumerable domestic projects -- is being squandered to maintain combat forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the people of Afghanistan continue to suffer from what is now being viewed as the “Long War” for empire, imposed austerity and assaults on working families and the dispossessed here at home continues unabated amidst an unprecedented transfer of wealth to the top. The popular classes have been made to pay not only for the speculative failings and greed of finance capital, but for the carnage of an empire in decline determined to maintain its trump card of military might. The war profiteers, the major corporations and private contractors continue their plunder as the imperial venture in South Asia and the Middle East, expanded into place like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia trundles on. Who pays and who profits?