The Crescent Report

December 1, 2009

MAS Freedom Echoes Resounding ‘No’ to Expansion of War in Afghanistan

Filed under: Afghanistan, American-Politics, civil-rights, Politics — Tags: , , — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 3:50 pm

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

MAS Freedom Echoes Resounding ‘No’ to Expansion of War in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET) Dec. 1, 2009 – MAS Freedom (MASF) as the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), together with scores of civil and human rights organizations worldwide, echoes a resounding ‘No’ to any expansion of the War in Afghanistan. Below is an essay prepared by MAS Freedom’s Civil and Human Rights Director, Ibrahim Ramey, which further expounds on the subject.

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Saying ‘No’ to an Escalation of the War in Afghanistan

It is predominantly estimated that President Barack Obama’s upcoming speech on a new American ‘strategy’ in Afghanistan will not be a matter of ‘if’ the United States escalates the war, but rather, by how much.

U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McCrystal, has called for a reported 40,000 additional troops (supported by a five-page Commander’s Summary submitted to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on August 30). More moderate voices within the Obama administration, and perhaps even the President himself, are reported to favor a more modest increase in military deployment.

Regardless of the number of troops the President agrees to deploy in furtherance of the war in Afghanistan, it is MAS Freedom’s belief that these troops will be thrown into the vortex of an impossible war that the United States, with all of its military prowess, cannot possibly win.

Why is the war in Afghanistan a no-win proposition for the U.S. military?

Let us count the ways.

First, there is no stable, popular Afghan government with which the U.S. government and its policies can align. The ‘government’ of Afghan President Hamid Kharzai is impossibly corrupt, administratively inept, and hardly able to control any significant national territory outside of Kabul. Moreover, the recent cancellation of the much-touted Afghan presidential ‘runoff’ election after the withdrawal of challenger Abdullah Abdullah did little to bolster confidence either domestically or internationally, in the credibility of a genuine, democratic regime in Kabul that represents Afghans of all political persuasions and ethnic identities.

But the U.S. war objective is not the reconstruction of an Afghan central government. Rather, most of the American foreign policy eggs are being placed in the basket of destroying, or at least neutralizing, the Taliban resistance to both the Kabul regime and the U.S. invasion forces. And the Taliban, despite the authoritarian excesses of their rule and tribal, gender insensitive understanding of Islam, are not likely to be decisively defeated on the battlefield. In fact, most insurgencies are rarely put down by conventional armed opponents.

The Taliban, driven out of state power after the 2001 U.S. invasion, is not a unified opposition force; their brutality inspires both fear and anger among compatriots. Additionally, they are Afghans, fighting not only against U.S. forces, but against NATO as well – forces that are widely viewed as invaders vs. saviors from the insurgents.

Popular resentment against these combined invasive forces is magnified by recurring incidents of ‘accidental’ injuries and deaths to civilians resulting from errant NATO bombings; a resentment transmogrified into hatred the U.S. must deal with.

There is also the fact that U.S. and NATO allies are getting increasingly gun-shy about their own combat role in Afghanistan.

It has been reported in recent months that soldiers from some of the European armies stationed in Afghanistan actually refused to go on combat patrols, or to engage in night combat operations. And recent public opinion polls in the United Kingdom and Germany have shown growing opposition to continued Western troop deployments.

Some American military commanders, however, seem to be prepared to go it alone and tough it out in a protracted war. They believe that victory over the Taliban (assuming that the Taliban are a single, unified force – which they never have been) is possible. Even the most proficient fighting force is not likely to defeat the one greatest opponent confronting NATO – history itself; the Afghans, from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union, have yet to yield to any invading army.

There is, I believe, a legitimate interest in preventing Afghanistan from once again, becoming a launching ground for attacks against U.S. civilians, as we experienced on September 11, 2001. But the hard political reality is that, by some estimates, Al-Qaeda is deeply entrenched in Pakistan – not Afghanistan – and the Taliban, who continue to fight ferociously against U.S. forces, have never pursued a strategy of planning attacks on the United States homeland. Some voices in the Obama administration are now attempting to ‘unbundle’ the Taliban groups and build de facto alliances with some of the local warlords; efforts that could be swept away by an escalation of the U.S. war drive.

President Obama should realize, as in the case of Vietnam, it is not possible for an invading army to ‘win’ a civil war.

The road back from chaos and national division to peace and stability in Afghanistan will be a long and difficult struggle, but it is not one that can be won in the form of a military contest. Rather, the United States should use its (still) enormous economic power to assist the Afghan people in a massive material reconstruction effort, while allowing them to demilitarize their internal conflicts and build a civil society and government that is suitable for and responsible to them. America can help in the process, but the ultimate responsibility for building peace and national reconciliation rests on the shoulders of the people of Afghanistan themselves.

Continued backing of an egregiously corrupt puppet government in Kabul is not the answer.

Calling for fake elections won’t work.

And the continued (largely North American) illicit demand for opium only serves to finance the very forces that American troops are opposing.

President Obama must courageously resist pressure from the political Right and the military establishment and completely change course in Afghanistan.

Escalating this war will only make things worse, for all parties concerned.

An escalation of the war in Afghanistan will look increasingly like what it actually is – the world’s richest nation waging war in one of the world’s poorest.

A widened military conflict will only succeed in killing more civilians, which will in turn galvanize U.S. public opinion against the Obama administration’s war policies – making the anti-American resistance in Afghanistan more recalcitrant, and, ironically, driving American opponents into an even greater frenzy in a Afghanistan’s nuclear-armed neighboring Pakistan, as well as in much of the rest of the Muslim-majority world.

American resources for national reconstruction and support for genuine self-determination is the answer in Afghanistan, President Obama. An expanded war, most certainly, is NOT.

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MAS Freedom (MASF) is a civic and human rights advocacy entity and sister organization of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the largest Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and educational organization in America – with 55 chapters in 35 states.
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MAS Freedom
1325 G Street NW, Suite 500
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 552-7414
or (703) 642-6165
Toll Free: 1-(888)-627-8471
Fax: (703) 998-6526
MASF on the Web
Contact MASF by Email
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