Measures of Freedom
Afghanistan | Freedom House
, Freedom in the World 2016
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score 24, Civil Liberties: 6, Political Rights: 6
"Afghanistan experienced high levels of violence and political gridlock in 2015, and the country was second only to Syria as a source of refugees contributing to a migration crisis in Europe during the year. The National Unity Government (NUG), formed after a disputed presidential election in 2014, survived its first year in office, though its leaders had difficulty filling key positions due to internal disagreements and resistance from the parliament."
Americans Have Lost Their Country
, by Paul Craig Roberts
, 1 Mar 2007
Discusses (and lists) the neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration and the rationale for their actions furthering wars in the Middle East
"Neoconservative conquests began in the Middle East because oil and Israel, with which neocons are closely allied, are both in the Middle East. The American oil giant, UNOCAL, had plans for an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan, but the Taliban were not sufficiently cooperative. The US invasion of Afghanistan was used to install Hamid Karzai, who had been on UNOCAL's payroll, as puppet prime minister. US neoconservative Zalmay Khalilzad, who also had been on UNOCAL's payroll, was installed as US ambassador to Afghanistan."
Bush's Opium Boom
, by James Bovard
, Future of Freedom
, Apr 2003
Describes attempts by the Taliban (from July 2000 to October 2001—the U.S. invasion), the U.S., the United Nations and the Karzai government to control opium poppy production in Afghanistan
"In July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar announced that he was banning any poppy growing in Afghanistan because it was henceforth considered to be un-Islamic. The Taliban regime had previously profited from a 10 percent tax on the opium ... On May 17, 2001, Powell announced a package of $43 million in humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan ... The Taliban's opium ban was hailed as one of the greatest successes in the history of the world war on drugs ... By the end of 2001 ... the United States installed Hamid Karzai ... In April 2002, the Karzai government offered farmers up to $600 an acre not to plant opium."
Freedom, Security, and the Roots of Terrorism against the United States
, by Richard Ebeling
, Future of Freedom
, Oct 2001
Reflections on the 11 September attacks a few weeks after, discusses the reasons for the terrorist attacks and proposes certain measures to deal with the situation
"First, bombing campaigns and use of ground troops in a place like Afghanistan are not likely to produce justice or achieve victory. As a number of commentators have pointed out, Afghanistan has been destroyed already during the last 20 years comprising 10 years of Soviet occupation and another decade of a civil war that brought the Taliban to power in Kabul. Bombings would only reduce the already wretched lives of millions of innocent Afghans. ... And American ground forces could easily be drawn into a protracted campaign with success as remote as it was for the British in the 19th century and the Soviet Union in the 1980s."
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it
, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
, 22 Feb 2004
Lists countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency.
"Since the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, the CIA has engaged in similar disguised assaults on the governments of Guatemala (1954); the Congo (1960); Cuba (1961); Brazil (1964); Indonesia (1965); Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1961-73); Greece (1967); Chile (1973); Afghanistan (1979 to the present); El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s); and Iraq (1991 to the present) -- to name only the most obvious cases."
Related Topics: Attacks of 11 September 2001
, El Salvador
, Foreign Entanglements
, United States
In Afghanistan, They Died for No Good Cause
, by Sheldon Richman
, 5 Dec 2013
Critiques an exchange by Richard Engel and Andrea Mitchell on the rationale for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan
"What good is there to show for that loss and shattering of life? Nothing. Afghanistan remains a violent place, nominally ruled by a corrupt and repressive propped-up government that will remain precarious no matter how long the U.S. military stays. President Karzai regularly gets bags of CIA cash, the illegal drug trade thrives with official connivance, and stoning is about to be introduced as the penalty for adultery."
John Fund vs. the Truth
, by Justin Raimondo
, 26 Apr 2006
Discusses John Fund's writings against Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, an Afghani student at Yale University, and University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, who had been nominated to teach at Yale; plus a personal tale from Fund's past
"The absurdity of the Fund-amentalist hate campaign against Hashemi ought to be apparent to anyone who keeps up with events on the ground in Afghanistan, where President Karzai recently “Urged Taliban leader Mullah Omar to 'get in touch' if he wants to talk peace. ... Karzai spokesman Khaleeq Ahmed said Friday that the Afghan government has a reconciliation commission that has encouraged more than 1,000 ex-Taliban members to embrace the new constitution and government and reject violence. But not every Taliban is welcome, he said. 'There are those who have burned schools and killed doctors, nurses, and many other innocent Afghans.'""
News Coverage Misinforms Americans on the Bergdahl Swap
, by Sheldon Richman
, 10 Jun 2014
Discusses the distorted news about the five Taliban officials released in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, quoting sources —including the former chief prosecutor at the Guantanamo prison— that discredit the "official" story
"The media simply take the government's word that the five Taliban figures are international terrorists. But the Taliban are not al-Qaeda. They were the theocratic government overthrown by U.S. forces ... How did these men end up in U.S. custody? The U.S. government offered attractive bounties to Afghans who turned alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda members over to American authorities. This created a strong incentive to rat out personal enemies, rival warlords, and others, many of whom had nothing to do with the Afghan insurgency or international terrorism."
Sgt. Bergdahl and the Fog of War
, by Sheldon Richman
, 4 Jun 2014
Reviews the history of U.S.-Afghanistan relationship since Reagan to the present release of Sgt. Bergdahl
"On the surface, the war in Afghanistan seems easy to understand. The Taliban government gave sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, which attacked American targets in the 1990s and on September 11, 2001. But things are not so simple. ... When Haqqani, a celebrated freedom fighter during the Soviet war, turned down a deal from the Americans because it included detention, the U.S. military attacked his home province and other areas, killing his brother-in-law and innocent children."
The Disaster That Is U.S. Foreign Policy
, by Sheldon Richman
, 6 Jun 2014
Considers the effect of U.S. involvement in the Middle East in the past two decades, in view of the Bergdahl-Taliban prisoner exchange, and reflects on the practical effect of killing Osama bin Laden
"An awful lot of people ... are angry at Barack Obama for trading five Taliban officials, who have been held for years without charge in the Guantánamo prison, for an American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who apparently walked away from his outpost after having a change of heart about the Afghan war ... Before his disappearance, then-PFC Bergdahl emailed disparaging remarks about the U.S. military and America itself after he saw a U.S. military truck run over an Afghan child ... the war in Afghanistan is winding down ... Winding down? There will be 9,800 troops through next year, and the last troops won't leave before 2016."
The George W. Bush 'What Me Worry?' Quiz
, by Jim Cox, 2 Apr 2007
Twenty questions on what was George W. Bush's response to various situations; the answers provide links to supporting information
"After the oil company UNOCAL failed to get concessions from the Taliban government in Afghanistan prior to 2001, the response from George W. Bush in 2002 was to: a. oversee free elections in Afghanistan and not interfere in the sovereign nation of Afghanistan’s dealings with UNOCAL. b. do a 'What Me Worry?' and oversee the installation of former UNOCAL employees Hamid Karzai as prime minister and Zalmay Khalizad as ambassador to Afghanistan."
The Lie Factory
, by Sheldon Richman
, 7 Jun 2013
Contrasts Obama's 23 May 2013 statements regarding the continuing conflict in Afghanistan vs. an analysis by Conn Hallinan and other reports
"When George W. Bush left the White House, there were 38,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Shortly after taking office, Obama sent about 30,000 more ... Then in November 2009 he announced that he would send around 30,000 more ... To give you an idea of how well things are going, a May 16 suicide bomb in the capital killed six Americans and 16 Afghans. ... the political wing of the group that claimed responsibility for the bombing, Hezb-i-Islami, "is a major player in the Karzai government, with its members holding down the posts of education minister and advisor to the president.""
The Longest-Running War
, by Doug Bandow
, 20 Dec 2004
Reviews the books Bad Trip: How the War on Drugs Is Destroying America
(2004) by Joel Miller and Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition
(2004) by Jeffrey A. Miron
"U.S. government officials blame drug users for effectively funding those who kill Americans, but, notes Miller, "Thanks to inflated prices caused by global narcotics prohibition, whoring after state sponsors is no longer needed." Quite simply, absent the excessive profitability of the opiate trade due to America's ban on drug use, the Taliban would not be raising millions from opium production throughout the Afghan countryside. So long as people will produce and use drugs — and they have proved willing to do so ... — drug prohibition ensures that foreign producers, including jihadists, will prosper."
The New U.S. War on Liberty
, by Karen De Coster, David J. Theroux
, 22 Jan 2002
De Coster introduces a critical analysis, by Theroux, of the War in Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism
"To believe that the Air Force knows how to protect you by bombing a village in Afghanistan is preposterous ... it is important for Americans to understand that the cave complex in Tora Bora that is being bombed by the U.S. is the same complex that was largely designed, funded, and constructed by the CIA in the 1980s. ... The U.S. has now completed well over 2,000 bombing raids ... in Afghanistan. So, there must be some additional purpose to U.S. policies there, just as there was when the U.S. was supporting the Reagan/Bush 'Freedom Fighters' in the 1980s that became the blowback-created Al Qaeda."
The State: Judge in its Own Cause
, by Kevin Carson
, 22 Aug 2013
Explores, with several historical examples, the United States government's role in judging itself or disregarding its laws
"In the late '70s, under Zbigniew Brzezinski's foreign policy leadership, the U.S. began backing Islamic fundamentalist rebels against the Soviet-friendly government of Afghanistan, resulting in a Soviet-backed coup and subsequent invasion ... The explicit goal of Brzezinski's move in the "Great Game" was to get the USSR bogged down in its own sucking chest wound of a counter-insurgency war, with the possible side-benefit of destabilizing control in the largely Muslim southern republics of the Soviet Union. Other unintended consequences of this brilliant chess move included the rise of al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks."
The U.S. Isn't Leaving Afghanistan
, by Sheldon Richman
, 20 Nov 2013
Reviews the terms of a 2013 draft agreement between the U.S. and Afghan governments to maintain U.S. troops stationed indefinitely
"The Afghan government, at U.S. insistence, would waive jurisdiction over U.S. military and civilian personnel who commit war crimes. ... What's clear from the negotiations is that the United States is not close to ending combat operations in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001. ... Further U.S.-inflicted bloodshed will do nothing but make matters worse. It's time for the U.S. military to leave."