The 25th of July, 2010 is a day that will be marked in history. The media has been abuzz about the release by Wikileaks of the Afghanistan War Logs, which are being called the “new Pentagon Papers.” Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said the files showed “thousands” of war crimes committed in Afghanistan. 76,000 of the approximately 90,000 files were posted Sunday night, while 15,000 are being vetted by the group for future release. Afghanistan has been called the “graveyard of empires,” because every empire that has attempted to occupy it has subsequently failed and collapsed. Until this empire digs its own grave it will continue to makes graves for the Afghan people. In this scenario, the Wikileaks release will help spread a more truth picture of the cost of imperial war and spread dissent. Fittingly, Wikileaks also uncovered a 32-page counterintelligence document that plans to “fatally marginalize the organization.” A Revisit from the Days of the Vietnam War?
Any student of contemporary history will know that the war in Vietnam ended not due to a military weakness by either side, but rather the victory for the Vietnamese people was political. The war dragged on and on, sapping the will of the American imperialists to continue fighting there for so little gains, and a great deal of losses at the home front. Indeed, at the time the US was the closest to having a revolution since the Civil War. Like those days the new Pentagon Papers show us just how poorly the unjust, unlawful and immoral war in Afghanistan is being waged, again much like the Vietnam War.
The Content of the War Logs Summed Up
The files released paint a devastating picture of the Afghanistan War. Firstly, there is the revelation that there are fewer than 100 confirmed al-Qaeda operatives inside the country of Afghanistan. Secondly, there are revelations that by and large the military and police training of Afghans is going extremely poorly. Thirdly, there are revelations that the Taliban is not a threat to the Afghan puppet government and is certainly not a threat to the American Empire. There are also revelations of Reaper drone strikes being conducted in the so-called ally of the American Empire–Pakistan. These drone strikes hunt and kill targets by remote control from bases in America.
The findings include detailed reports on hundreds of unreported attacks on civilians by coalition forces, ranging from the shootings of individuals to massive air strikes, some resulting in hundreds of casualties. Attacks by the Afghan resistance have soared, with 16,000 incidents of homemade explosive devices in the logs, rising from 308 in 2004 to 7,155 in 2009. A secret black ops Special Forces unit named Task Force 373 hunts down targets for assassination or detention without trial. The so-called “kill or capture” list of senior Taliban and al-Qaeda figures includes more than 2,000 names and is known as JPEL, the Joint Prioritized Effects List.
These files also reveal that the Taliban itself is increasing in power and number. They have, according to these files, acquired surface-to-air missiles and have increased their use of road side bombing and a general intensification of their low-intensity warfare strategy. There may even be indication from theses reports that the Taliban may be gearing up for a Tet Offensive-style guerrilla warfare breakout. Again, students of contemporary history will note just how effective the Tet Offensive was at breaking American political will to continue its aggression in Vietnam. Resources Involved
Stephen Grey said in an interview with “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman:
“But it’s really the extent of it. I mean, you know, I’m sure some of the other people you’ve got on today have also seen firsthand, you know, incidents like death of civilians. But it’s really in the totality of it all that it becomes shocking. It’s the fact that you’ve got absolutely everything here. OK, not the most secret stuff, but it gives an absolutely compelling portrait.”
And a compelling portrait it paints indeed. First, as readers of The Red Phoenix will recall, the oil company Unocal during the Clinton administration was negotiating an oil pipeline from the Caspian oil fields in Kazakhstan through Afghanistan and to the port city of Karachi, Pakistan. These talks broke down early in 2001. Suddenly, the events of September 11th happened and that was used as an excuse to invade Afghanistan. Just recently, the American people were informed that there might be lithium reserves in Afghanistan. Lithium, as some may know, is a key raw material used in batteries for electronics and even hybrid automobiles.
In short, this disastrous war that has cost tens of thousands of lives—most of whom are civilians—is driven by one thing and one thing alone. Profits!
The American Party of Labor once again renews its call:
Troops out of Afghanistan!
Troops out of Iraq!
Troops out of everywhere!