By John Weir
Several years ago boxer "Iron Mike" Tyson during a press conference told his upcoming prize fight opponent he would make him "his girl friend." Though this was not out of character for the trash-talking Iron Mike, sports commentators were nevertheless shocked the prizefighter would put it so crudely -- comparing his upcoming fight to a prison rape of his opponent. Comparisons like this are shocking for a prizefight since boxing matches are generally arranged between fighters who are -- theoretically -- evenly matched. That is why a fight is a spectator event. The pairing in a rape, however, is anything but even.
The U.S. government has seized the opportunity created by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to join several other countries in the continuing gang rape of Afghanistan. Additionally, President Bush declared the United States would make any country harboring or aiding terrorists its girlfriend. Who is a terrorist and what constitutes harboring or aiding terrorists? That will be decided in Washington, D.C.. The U.S. is now preparing to occupy a country ravaged by over 20 years of war. And since it drops yellow packets of peanut butter along with high explosives, the U.S. is a kinder, gentler rapist.
The question is "Why Afghanistan?" Another recently reappearing question is "Why wasn't Saddam Hussein removed from the power in Iraq ten years ago?" No credible answers to these critical questions appear anywhere in the "independent press." The answers remain important however because they reveal how all this could have been avoided in the first place.
Bin Laden raised the issue of U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia as a motivating factor in his campaign against America. These bases are there because Hussein still runs Iraq. Since this policy to enforce the restrictions on Iraq has been in place for a decade and Hussein has not been forced out, it would be reasonable to suspect the real purpose of the U.S. policy is not the one declared. It certainly appears that Hussein has been left in power so U.S. troops can remain in Saudi Arabia to be near and in force should the flow of oil from the region be threatened.
After a decade, the U.S. has worn out it's welcome among some Arabs in the region. It has become the guest who would not leave.
Now it's Afghanistan. Again the stated government objective isn't compatible with it's actions. Although there appears to be evidence that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks, the government is happy with the status quo with Saddam Hussein at this time. Osama bin Laden is the man who is where the government wants to be now. The recent tragic history of Afghanistan is all about why America wants it for its new girlfriend.
During the Carter years, the now-defunct Soviet Union invaded the land of mountains and poppies to bolster a crumbling friendly regime. In reaction Pakistan with the help of the U.S. drove the Soviets out by supplying Afghan guerrillas with weapons, training and other supplies. Russia chasing its historic goal of obtaining warm water ports for its navy had hoped to keep Afghanistan in its court. With a friendly Afghanistan in the south, access to the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz lay one country away. Control of the Strait would also give the Soviets the ability to cut oil supplies to the West. Since the U.S. had lost it's friend on the Peacock throne of Iran, this was considered a real threat. So America found an urgent reason to back the ouster of the Soviets from Afghanistan. Pakistan didn't see an advantage in being a Soviet naval port, so it too supported the end of Soviet occupation of its northern neighbor.
After the Soviet retreat and subsequent collapse, several surrounding countries took an interest in the fate of Afghanistan. There is a large amount of oil in the Caspian Sea region and no way to get it out to the oil thirsty West. A pipeline could be built across Armenia and Azerbaijan, but they are fighting each other too. This route would also put the flow of oil under Russian control. A pipe could be put across Iran except Iran has been hated since the overthrow of the U.S. and Israeli supported Shah back in the 1970's. This leaves a route across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the sea.
Pakistan's support of the Taliban after the Soviet pullout was designed to stabilize Afghanistan. This would allow for the ultimate rebuilding of the country and the construction of the infrastructure needed to transport oil from the Caspian Sea region.
Other countries surrounding Afghanistan however saw an advantage to keeping their neighbor in chaos. Iran, who until recently supported the Northern Alliance with India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia viewed a stable Afghanistan as a threat since a pipe to Pakistan cuts into their own position in the region. Iran wants to control the flow of oil from that area as does Russia. India sees anything that undermines Pakistan as in its interest. So, in order to keep the oil from flowing, outsiders have backed different ethnic groups within Afghanistan for years.
If Bin Laden's death or capture was the real goal of "Operation Enduring Freedom" then negotiating his apprehension with those who know where he is would be logical. However, President Bush has declared there will be no negotiations. This is very reminiscent of FDR's "unconditional surrender" ultimatum to the Axis during World War Two. It indicates the objective is a takeover of Afghanistan. Such an occupation will not end terrorism. It will, however, put the United States in a position to stabilize the country and shepherd the flow of oil from the region.
Pakistan's quick abandonment of the Taliban indicates its recognition of the benefits it will derive from backing the U.S. operation. How India and Iran will handle the new regional power dynamic has yet to be seen, but India appears to be starting trouble with Pakistan over Kashmir again. Saudi Arabia will probably follow Pakistan's lead. Russia seems to be on board with the Americans at this point, but this may only be for the short term. Meanwhile, any government that officially opposes the U.S. attack on Afghanistan runs the risk of being declared a coddler of terrorism and thus America's next "girlfriend." This in itself is a terrorist threat -- one of such magnitude that "terrorism" may not even be the word for it.
Perhaps the “New World Order" is more appropriate. But everything is okay. There is no reason for alarm. The New World Order comes with free peanut butter.
Installed: 07/27/98, 1: 00 AM, PST