UNITE! Info #159en: E. Margolis on US' Afghan war
[Posted: 11.12.01]

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On 09.12.01, the Canadian bourgeois newspaper published an
article by Eric Margolis, later posted (by Miroslav Antic
<[EMAIL PROTECTED]>) to the AntiNATO mailing list (HTTP://
WWW.STOPNATO.ORG.UK), with the title "America's New War: A
Progress Report".

Eric Margolis is a staunchly Conservative writer, whose "tra-
ditionally"-right-wing articles have often been attacked, cor-
rectly or sometimes not quite correctly, by writers to that
mailing list mentioned. He at times has brought information
and analysis which, in my opinion, have been of some interest
also to those who oppose capitalism and imperialism in the

In this article, Margolis above all maintains that the US im-
perialists have now committed a strategic error. I on my part
cannot, at the moment, tell whether he (to some part or com-
pletely) is right in this. It's possible that he *is* right.
Anyway, this article IMO is interesting reading, and thus I'm
reproducing it, below. I've added some brief comments of mine
within brackets [ ].

End of intro note


Published on Sunday, December 9, 2001 in the Toronto Sun:

by Eric Margolis

What has the U.S. achieved after waging war for the past two
months in Afghanistan?

* Afghanistan's de facto government, the Taliban, an Islamic
   religious movement with about 30,000 armed supporters, has
   been overthrown and scattered. After holding out for five
   weeks under massive U.S. bombardments, its leader, Mullah
   Omar, ordered his men to retreat to the mountains. Omar, who
   may be shortly captured or killed, claimed he ordered the
   retreat to spare civilians in Taliban-ruled areas from U.S.

   To date, the U.S. has dropped 10,000 bombs on Afghanistan,
   killing sizable numbers of civilians - in the range of
   1,500-2,000, according to Afghan sources. U.S. bombing of
   cities, towns and villages has driven over 160,000 people
   into refugee camps.

* On Dec. 3, 2000 - one year ago - this column said that over-
   throwing the Taliban would "pave the way for a second Russian
   occupation of Afghanistan." This has now happened. The
   Northern Alliance, armed and funded by Russia, directed by
   the Afghan Communist party [not of course an actually commu-
   nist one but a revisionist party, just as *anti*communist at
   least as any Conservative or other openly-bourgeois forces -
   RM] and under the overall command of the chief of the Russian
   general staff, Marshall Viktor Kvashnin, deputy KGB [that
   old infamous spy organization, founded in 1954, actually to-
   day has been "dissolved" or at least renamed - RM] director
   Viktor Komogorov, and a cadre of Russian advisers, seized
   Kabul and all of northern Afghanistan.

   U.S. President George Bush committed a colossal, inexcusable
   blunder. If this column could foresee Russian intervention,
   why didn't the White House?

* Last week's much-ballyhooed Afghan "unity" conference in
   Germany produced precisely what this column predicted: a sham
   "coalition" government run by the Northern Alliance. One of
   the CIA's Pashtun "assets," Hamid Karzai, who represents no
   one but himself, was named prime minister. There was no other
   real Pashtun representation, though they comprise half the

   Of 30 cabinet seats, two-thirds went to Northern Alliance Ta-
   jiks, notably the power ministries of defence, the interior
   and foreign affairs. Two women were added for window dressing
   to please the West. The 87-year old deposed Afghan king,
   Zahir Shah, widely blamed for allowing the communists [nope,
   the revisionists - RM] to infiltrate Afghanistan in the
   1970s, was invited back as a figurehead monarch. In short, a
   communist-dominated [getting boring, but again: revisionist-
   dominated - RM] regime, ruled by a king, whose strings are
   pulled by Moscow. Quite a bizarre creation.


The very next day, feuding broke out among Alliance members.
Old communist stalwart [these people never *could* get this
right - nor, of course, never wanted to: please translate as
"revisionist stalwart", anyway - RM]  Rashid Dostam, who had
just finished massacring hundreds of Taliban prisoners with
American and British help, threatened war if his Uzbeks did not
get more spoils. My old friend, the Alliance's figurehead pre-
sident, Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, a respected Islamic scholar,
was shoved aside by young communists [no, revisionists - RM].

* The Bush administration was apparently too preoccupied
   chasing Osama bin Laden to notice its new best friend, Rus-
   sia, had broken its agreement to wait for formation of a pro-
   U.S., pro-Pakistani regime, and seized half of Afghanistan.
   Marshall Kvashnin rushed his men into Kabul, just as he out-
   foxed the Americans in 1999 in a similar coup de main in Ko-

* The hunt for bin Laden and his Al-Qaida continues. A few se-
   nior figures have been killed, likely including Dr. Ayman
   al-Zawahiri, leader of Egypt's Islamic Jihad. The net is
   closing around bin Laden's possible hiding places. Unless he
   has escaped Afghanistan, his capture or death appear immi-
   nent. This will be welcome news for the Bush administration.
   If bin Laden somehow escapes, or his body is never found,
   Bush will be accused of blowing apart Afghanistan, killing
   large numbers of civilians, and allowing the Russians to grab
   back the country, all for nothing.

        [Concerning the *actual* (main) terrorists, the US im-
         perialists, some of whom undoubtedly were the ones too
         who organized the 11 September atrocities in the USA
         itself, the writer quoted here, like all of his col-
        leagues of course, continues to cover up *that* action
        of theirs.

        For (at least some) information on this crime, which
        among other things has been used as the pretext for
        this present war of aggression by the US, and other,
        imperialists, see some earlier Infos in this series
        and (with some more details) for instance the sites:,

        - RM]

* The late Pashtun leader Abdul Haq, whom I knew from my Pesha-
   war days, warned the U.S. before his death that bombing Af-
   ghanistan was unnecessary and a grave mistake. Taliban con-
   trol could be broken, where needed, by financing tribal up-
   risings - the standard form of Afghan warfare - without fo-
   reign intervention. Otherwise, he warned, the Northern Al-
   liance would take over and bring in the Russians. He pleaded
   with Washington for restraint, but to no avail. Haq was cap-
   tured by the Taliban during a bungled CIA operation and

   But Haq was right. U.S. forces could have hunted bin Laden in
   southern Afghanistan with relative impunity, as they are now
   doing, without having to launch a total war against the Tali-
   ban. U.S. air power totally dominates barren Afghanistan. Ta-
   liban forces could not move or communicate. There were only a
   small number of Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan
   where bin Laden was hiding.

   Bombing Afghan civilian centres was absolutely unnecessary.
   The only real military targets offered by the Taliban were
   its entrenched troops facing the Alliance. It was remarkable
   the Taliban managed to withstand five weeks of carpet bombing
   by U.S. B-52s - particularly, as one Pakistani writer wryly
   noted, after his nation gave in to the U.S. after only a
   threatening phone call from Washington.

   The U.S. could have hunted bin Laden without allowing the
   Russians to recapture half of Afghanistan, a severe geopoli-
   tical defeat for American ambitions to use that nation as a
   gateway to Central Asian oil and gas. [On the question of
   whether this really is much of an ambition on the part of
   US imperialists, see Info #157en. - RM] And without blasting
   to rubble what little remained of demolished Afghanistan, and
   without driving 160,000 civilians into terrified flight.

   So, after eight weeks of war, the Taliban is out, the commu-
   nists [actually, of course, once again, no "communists"
   whatsoever, but some long-since quite infamous revisionists,
   are what's being referred to here, whether the assessement
   in this sentence is correct or not - RM] are in power in
   Kabul and the south is in chaos. The war has cost Washington
   US$60 billion to date. Afghanistan is a bloody mess. And
   Vladimir Putin is smiling.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership


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