Rethink Afghanistan, Part 1 (2009)

Posted: September 16, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
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Free Online

This is another Robert Greenwald/Brave New Films project.

U.S. media is effectively controlled, and that includes this free online film. The range of debate is limited, restricted. Hard hitting and longstanding critics of US imperialism do not appear. This is unsurprising, and yet it does bias the film in several important ways.

The phrase “US imperialism” does not appear. It is the elephant in the room, the unspoken motive for the crime, yet it isn’t named. There is a long and repetitive history of US aggressions against weaker states, but this crucial history is ignored by Greenwald.

Even the role of the US government in the Soviet/Afgan war from 1979 to 1989 (misstated in the film as 1980-89) is not mentioned. Therefore much is not mentioned.

It is quite relevant to get the date right, as the covert “Jihad” against the leftist Afghan government began five months before the Soviets invaded in order to prop up their allies in Kabul that were under attack by US-sponsored Islamic brigades.

The 1979 conflict that Zbigniew Brzezinski brags about was “terrorist” and an “insurgency,” and was also the largest CIA operation in its entire history. The CIA used the Saudis, the Pakistanis and others as proxy forces in order to lure the Soviets into Afghanistan. Again, none of this makes it into part one, althouth an ex-Soviet officer gives a description of that conflict.

Therefore a false analogy is presented by Greenwald’s speakers. The Soviets fought an enemy that was being armed and supplied by a superpower (the USA). Today, the Afghan resistance has no such sponsor arming them with anti-aircraft weaponry. US air supremacy goes unchallenged. This is the thinking of the war planners in Washington.

Now, this is only part one of a six part series, so I will give it a chance. I will review all six parts.

Several things gave me pause, since I am not a naive and ignorant viewer, and I do have some knowledge of the subject matter already.

Near the end of the clip, Thomas Barfield unintentionally demonstrates the main problem with the neo-liberal/Democrat mindset when he says:

“If there were simple solutions, one hopes that we would have already imposed them.”

Did he really come right out and give us the “White Man’s Burden?

Did he actually call for the United States to “impose” its will on other nations, as if that was the natural order of the world?

Is he trying to justify a global empire, rationalized by expediency and convenience?

Who are these people in this film, and why are they there?

Another speaker mentions, “…our Afghan policy.” Is it really “our” foreign policy? Do the people of the USA actually have any say in the matter? The terms “our” and “we” are used often, and are a distasteful and standard ploy to invest the listener in the enterprise. It is a rude assumption to call a murderous war “ours.” I gave no consent or approval.

At 8:20 in the clip, one of the talking heads elaborates on “terrorism” and “American inspired terrorism,” while the film actually shows the aftermath of a military attack with military casualties.

A military attack is not “terrorism.” This sort of propagandistic use of language undermines the credibility of the film.

The hysteria over “terrorism” is the main pretext for the launch of this war on Afghanistan. To then conflate a military attack with “terrorism” which is by definition an attack on civilians, is irresponsible and counterproductive.

I am highly, highly suspicious of those who would guide America’s imperial ambitions in their own direction as opposed to stopping them cold in their tracks. There are no nice and benevolent empires. Empires are malevolent and immoral, and criminal under international law. Our invading armies are engaged in a “war of aggression,” an act outlawed after the Nazis were defeated. It is the same crime that the Nazis committed, and it remains one of the founding principles of international law and the United Nations Charter. Crimes Against the Peace are the “supreme international crime.”

The terms “war of aggression,” “war crimes,” and “international law” also do not appear in part one of “Rethink Afghanistan.”

So what does?

An Afgan man was permitted to make a solid point. Here it is:

Faiysal Alikhan: “I’m sure that it would be the same here in the United States, if you were to have a central force, even be it the US Army go into Michigan even or any particular state in America, and you were to see the big humvees outside and they were to stop people and check them and ask them questions and go into their homes and hold a gun on their daughters’ heads. I’m sure that even people here in the United States would react in a similar way that people in this area react to such a thing.”

Yes, we need to rethink Afghanistan and every other place where American soldiers are used as a spear to coerce foreign governments, a Sword of Damocles hanging over US-approved puppet leaders as orders are issued from Washington DC.

So, it’s not just Afghanistan that needs rethinking. It’s American Imperialism, American hubris, American propaganda and especially the absolutely corrupt American government which thrives and profits from war, particularly the endless variety.

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