Jeremy Scahill of The Nation just returned from an unembedded trip to Afghanistan and here was part of his prepared testimony before Congress:
Despite the perception that we know what is happening in Afghanistan, what is rarely discussed in any depth in Congress or the media is the vast number of innocent Afghan civilians that are being killed on a regular basis in US night raids and the heavy bombing that has been reinstated by General David Petraeus. I saw the impact of these civilian deaths first-hand and I can say that in some cases our own actions are helping to increase the strength and expand the size of the Taliban and the broader insurgency in Afghanistan.
There’s no question that our overall military strategy (along with our counter-narcotics strategy) is leading to a larger and stronger Taliban. One can simply look at the trend of coalition military casualties in the graph below:
Scahill also goes on to point out that despite what many expected of Obama, his Administration hasn’t just expanded the war in Afghanistan, but has also overseen an increase in the number of countries where American military assets operate – often secretly.
This trend towards American imperialism, militarism, and secrecy was what initially inspired me to begin blogging way back in 2004. The parallels between the war on drugs and the war on terror have long been obvious to anyone who could approach the subject with a willingness to look past longstanding taboos. And the current war on Wikileaks demonstrates the same dynamic. As Scahill implores Congress to provide oversight over a military-industrial complex run amok, Congress remains far more concerned with those who aim to reveal the truth about what that apparatus is doing.
UPDATE 2: Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, passed away today. Holbrooke was someone who seemed to understand the situation in Afghanistan at a level that others within our government could not. His final words were “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”