Obama Is Wrong On Both Counts 64

Obama loves his rhetoric, and his speech on the Afghan surge was topped by a rhetorical flourish:

“Our cause is just, our resolve unshaken”.

He is of course wrong on both counts.

The occupation of Afghanistan by the US and its allies is there to prop up the government of President Karzai. Karzai’s has always been an ultra-corrupt government of vicious warlords and drugs barons. I have been pointing this out for years,


The CIA is up to its usual tricks again supporting the drug running of key warlords loyal to them. They are also setting up death squads on the Central American model, in cooperation with Blackwater.

Fortunately Karzai’s rigging of his re-election was so blatant that the scales have fallen from the eys of the public and even the mainstream media. Politicians no longer pretend we are promoting democracy in Afghanistan.

Karzai comes directly from the Bush camp and was put in place because of his role with Unocal in developing the Trans Afghanistan Gas Pipeline project. That remains a chief strategic goal. The Asian Development Bank has agreed finance to start construction in Spring 2011. It is of course a total coincidence that 30,000 extra US troops will arrive six months before, and that the US (as opposed to other NATO forces) deployment area corresponds with the pipeline route.

Obama’s claim that “Our cause is just” ultimately rests on the extraordinary claim that, eight years after the invasion, we are still there in self-defence. In both the UK and US, governments are relying on the mantra that the occupation of Afghanistan protects us from terrorism at home.

This is utter nonsense. The large majority of post 9/11 terror incidents have been by Western Muslims outraged by our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Put bluntly, if we keep invading Muslim countries, of course we will face a violent backlash. The idea that because we occupy Afghanistan a Muslim from Dewsbury or Detroit disenchanted with the West would not be able to manufacture a bomb is patent nonsense. It would be an infinitely better strategy to make out theoretical Muslim less disenchanted by not attacking and killing huge numbers of his civilian co-religionists.

Our cause is unjust.

We are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and for the further of radicalisation of Muslim communities worldwide. That threatens a perpetual war – which is of course just what the military-industrial complex and the security industry want. They have captured Obama.

Fortunately, our resolve is shaken.

The ordinary people of the UK and US have begun in sufficient numbers to see through this perpetual war confidence trick; they realise there is nothing in it for them but dead youngsters and high taxes. That is why Obama made a very vague promise – which I believe in its vagueness and caveats to be deliberate deceit – that troops will start to leave in 2011.

Today’s promises of 5,000 additional NATO troops are, incidentally, empty rhetoric. I gather from friends in the FCO that firm pledges to date amount to 670.

A well-placed source close to the Taliban in Pakistan tells me that the Afghan Taliban and their tribal allies have a plan. As the US seeks massively to expand the Afghan forces, they are feeding in large numbers of volunteers. I suspect that while we may see the odd attack on their trainers, the vast majority will get trained, fed, paid and equipped and bide their time before turning en masse. This is nothing new; it is precisely the history of foreign occupations in the region and the purchase of tribal auxiliaries and alliances.

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64 thoughts on “Obama Is Wrong On Both Counts

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  • arsalan goldberg

    “The occupation of Iraq by the US and its allies is there to prop up the government of President Karzai.”


  • writerman

    Dear Craig,

    Your right on most counts, as usual. I really have a lot of respect and affection for you. Your brain, and heart, are, in the right place, and this is unusual. In an ideal world I’d like to have seen you flying still higher and really gaining position of influence inside the diplomatic corps. Only this, given your integrity, and the fact you were perceived to have ‘gone native’ wasn’t realistic. But come the revolution you’ll be back and in charge this time! Though I feel you may be better off where you are. Lord Murray may not have evolved into the nice chap you seem to be. Just thought I’d get that off my chest, must have something to do with listening to too much John Martyn last night!

  • anno

    Excellent work. Lord Shaftesbury succeeded in bringing the slave trade to an end on ethical grounds because there was an ethical masse to listen to and support him. Thatcher spawn are still busy fiddling with The Market to get it working again and Blair spawn are still hoping that neo-colonialism can be spun into a success story before the next election. I rest my hope on the present generation of 20+, like my own children. Their cynicism is caustic and comprehensive. Put Brown into a vat of that and all you will have left is a couple of gallstones. This new generation will be ready for the total defeat of the West across all its illegal violent adventures, and I have strong hopes for their embracing the religion that our leaders so patently detest.

  • Dick the Prick

    Cheers Craig – classic. Perhaps even a little ***applause*** before the full horror of my corrupt and disgusting government’s activity hits home (again and again).

  • writerman

    That great Roman ‘spin-doctor’, Cicero, was a master orator, but he understood that facility with language ammounted to very little indeed, and was hollow rhetoric without a core of moral substance inside the language. Obama and his speech writers, just don’t get this at all. I suppose it is a bit subtle.

    Cicero, though from relatively humble origins rose to the heights of political influence in very ‘interesting times’ somewhat like our own. Cicero saw the age of Roman republicanism, and form of ‘democracy’, replaced by full-on Empire, with the military machine and constant warfare at it’s centre. Does this sound familiar? Democracy and Imperialism don’t seem to mix.

    It’s hard to believe that Obama’s team of scriptwriters, sorry, speachwriters; have spent months cooking up the thin cup of soup he delivered last night. Three months and that tired catalogue of cliches and absurd arguments is the best they can come up with!?

    If this is an indication of their abilities, how on earth can one have confidence in them to fight a war?

    Obama doesn’t even sound like he really believes a word of it does he? I mean he’d have to be stupid to swallow that lot, wouldn’t he? He sounded like George Bush had crawled inside him. It was rather flat presentation for something so important. What’s happened to the guy?

    This idea of hitting the Taliban with a massive knockout punch and then leaving victorious lacks all credibility. What if the Taliban simply decide not to turn up and enter the ring at the alloted space and time? Isn’t this what asymetrical warfare is all about?

    Isn’t Obama the American version of Tony Blair, a silver-tongued lawyer on the make? Given his slumping numbers in the opinion polls it seems the public has twigged him, and aren’t fooled anymore.

    What’s terrible and tragic, is that so many people are going to loose their lives and become maimed, in this disasterous, and bloody, charade.

  • Abe Rene

    Here is the full text of Obama’s speech:


    Two quotes that struck me:

    “Although a legitimate government was elected by the Afghan people, it has been hampered by corruption, the drug trade, an under-developed economy, and insufficient Security Forces.”

    ” I opposed the war in Iraq precisely because I believe that we must exercise restraint in the use of military force, and always consider the long-term consequences of our actions.”

    For the record: I am an admirer of Barack Obama. I believe that he is aware of his difficult responsibilities. I do not believe that he is guilty of either deceit or hypocrisy, and wish him well.

  • writerman

    If, the United States is really in mortal, existential danger, from terrorists in ‘safe havens’ in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, surely 30,000 extra soldiers is hardly adequate, and for a limited time period? Wouldn’t, given the nature of the perceived threat, a possible attack with nuclear weapons, require another 300,000 soldiers to do the job properly, and defend the homeland?

    Obama seems confused, is there an existential threat, directed at American cities or not? If there is, then the entire nation should be put on a wartime footing. Conscription introduced to spread the military burden evenly, and the army enlarged by a million men. One could also bring in a special wartime tax directed specifically at the vast wealth of the richest Ameircans so they pay their fair share, as at present it’s not their children doing the fighting and dieing.

    Secondly, how big is a ‘safe haven’ exactly? How big does it have to be to qualify as a safe haven? If it’s the size of small harbour, where the word comes from, why build one in Afghanistan at all, surely there are safer places?

    How stupid is Obama really? How stupid and sheltered are the people around him, feeding him this junk to read? I think their arrogance and stupidity directly reflects their power. They think they are so powerful and untouchable, that they can present this rubbish to the public, without consequences.

    Obama is a puppet.

  • Ed

    “Karzai comes directly from the Bush camp and was put in place because of his role with Unocal in developing the Trans Afghanistan Gas Pipeline project.”

    You do know there has never been any evidence to support this assertion about Karzai working for Unocal, don’t you? Don’t let little things like that stop you though.

  • tony_opmoc


    I apologise for posting a complete load of bollocks on your website, when I am exceedingly drunk, usually after seeing a great band.

    But you said this

    “The large majority of post 9/11 terror incidents have been by Western Muslims outraged by our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

    Look, I used to make bombs when I was at school when I was 15. I did sodium/water bombs. I even floated bombs over the school playground supported in a hydrogen filled balloon..

    I even convinced my science teacher that I had made nitro-glycerine.

    After I had got a Grade 1 “O” Level, I thought – well why not. My mate and I at lunch time decided to wind him up.

    We just got a bunsen burner, and burnt an extremely large hole in a piece of wood. We then got some ordinary glycerine and mixed it in a glass beaker with water.

    It was lunch time at school – and he was in the Staff Room..

    We left all the evidence in the Science Lab…

    I ran down to the Staff Room

    And faked a panic…I said – Sir, I’m sorry and cried…We have got a big problem you have got to come now…

    We showed him – the large burn mark, and showed him the glycerine and water…

    He went into a complete panic…and went thumbing through his Chemistry Books trying to find out how to neutralize Nitro-Glycerine.

    I said Sir – Are You sure You should be doing this? Shouldn’t We Phone the Fire Brigade NOW?

    And His Face Showed The Most Enormous Relief, when I said to him

    I am winding you up. It is a joke. It is just Glycerine and Water…

    Now if I really wanted to, I could probably make a real bomb, but I got over this teenage nonsense very quickly and before I started my “A” levels…

    The examples you have read about and convinced you that Muslim kids are making bombs in the UK, are not supported by any of the Evidence that has come out in a Criminal Court. They may have been convicted, but their expertise demonstrated the Chemical Knowledge of a 5 Year Old. Basically That Stuff Wouldn’t Work. The IRA of course knew how to do it, but that is a completely different matter, situation and education.

    As to why the US is in Afghanistan, I don’t even Buy “Your Analysis”. That may well have been true 10 years ago, but you simply do not waste such enormous resources just to protect one fucking Pipeline that has not yet been built.

    I never meant any harm to anyone, and never caused any harm. If my science teacher had had a heart attack, then of course I would have felt incredibly guilty. In reality, I was just thanking him for being such a Brilliant Teacher and such a Nice Bloke.

    This was of course shortly after WWII. If any kid pulled stunts like that now, the SWAT squad would Execute them before they had said BANG.


  • Steve

    “You do know there has never been any evidence to support this assertion about Karzai working for Unocal, don’t you? Don’t let little things like that stop you though.”

    I would be very interested to see this point of contention clarified as I have seen the various claims and rebuttals on this issue.

  • Craig


    Arrant nonsense. I have actually discussed this with the ex-Chairman of Unocal, who now lives in London.

  • tony_opmoc

    I am listening to XFM. It is a rock music radio station. Did I just hear that the UK Government had committed to pull all Troops out of Afghanistan? Or Did I imagine it?

    Because It Really Fucking Annoys me meeting legless English Soldiers who have been fighting a war to protect a VIRTUAL Fucking Pipeline?


  • Greengorilla

    The likelihood of home-grown terrorism must also be questioned. So far the evidence produced of this has been pretty flimsy. Also, it is likely that entrapment has often been used by the spooks as well as terrorists claiming to be from Al Qaeda but who are really working with the CIA and MI6.

  • zkuzapo

    Did anyone catch the interview on this morning’s BBC Breakfast news (TV) with the US ambassador? I did a double take when he stated that “we are in Pakistan for the long haul”. Seems like the presenter couldn’t believe his ears either because he asked him to clarify whether he actually meant to say Afghanistan. “No”, the ambassador said,”you heard me right. We are in Pakistan for the long haul.”

    Anybody else see the interview? I’ve been trying to find it on youtube, etc but it seems to have disappeared.

  • Ian Jury

    Some interesting statistics as stated in a written answer in the UK House of Commons on 23 April 2009 by Bill Rammell, (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Harlow, Labour)

    Estimates of the production of heroin/morphine in Afghanistan by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 2000 are set out in the following table.

    Estimate of heroin/morphine derivatives available for export

    Metric tons

    2000 328

    2001 19

    2002 340

    2003 360

    2004 430

    2005 420

    2006 555

    2007 666

    2008 630



  • tony_opmoc

    Well, I always thought the best film I had ever seen was American Beauty, and that the Best War Film I had ever seen Was Apocalypse Now, and That The Best Dramatic Films Were British…

    A Group of Youngsters Enlist To Fight in Afghanistan

    “They are sent to a boot camp, in Uzbekistan, where they are submitted to the brutality and abuses of a disturbed Sergeant during the training period, increasing their camaraderie. Then they are airborne to Bagram Base in Afghanistan; join the 9th Company; and move to the Khowst Province, 3234 m height, to defend the mountain and protect the convoys with supplies. When the army retreat from Afghanistan, they are forgotten and slaughtered in the mountains.”

    The Russians Are in a League Of Their Own…

    Last Night on Film4, was Broadcast “9th Company”. I am watching it now.

    It is Completely AWESOME

    It’s in Russian.

    # Before the film was shot, young artists met veterans of the Afghan War – the soldiers of the legendary 9th company. Some were introduced to the prototypes of their characters.

    # Set domestic box office record in Russia, in 2005, generating $ 7,700,000 in five days. Surpassed Turetskiy gambit (2005) in October 2005 to become the highest-grossing movie in post-communist Russia.

    # Was a Russian candidate for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film nomination in 2007.



  • Paul

    If its all for a pipeline they can never leave, not if they dont want it to be constantly sabotaged! Also always wondered how a bloody big pipe behaves in an area of seismic activity?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    A brilliantly cogent and incisive post! Sums it all up in a scattering of black letters – eight years and an ocean of blood and mendacity.

    I’m afraid Obama would never have gotten anywhere near to where he’s gotten if he hadn’t already been bought, lock, stock and barrel by the military-industrial robber barons on Wall Street. That’s not say that some of his domestic policies are not (relatively) good. But as far as foreign policy goes, it’s solid sky blitzkrieg and Panzer divisions turning the earth to metal.

  • Key is Red

    Everything the government wanted, it got. It wanted America to be attacked (“New Pearl Harbor”), that’s like asking a car to run you over so you can collect the insurance. The CIA created Al Qaeda, Dick Cheney went from the Pentagon, to Halliburton, back to the Whitehouse and people on the half side think there is nothing wrong. You made torture a aprt of the war on terror, you have turned the drug running from Mxico to Afghanistan a trillion dollar industry, you get caught lying to the world about false claims made that you use to slaughter women and children on top of that get caught enforcing sanctions based on more lies and call for more sanctions, you fund communist countries and are now financially indebted to them and then say you are still doing it for honour and freedom. America’s Christians, like Pat Robertson make deals with the devil, and you still think Jesus is going to bless America as the saviour of the world. America, burn in hell. NOW!!!

  • tony_opmoc

    I’m about an hour into this Russian film “9th Company” and The Characters In This Film have Been Developed So Much That I am Really Interested In Them. This is before any actual War “Action” has started. They could have made this Film with any of the Shaven Head English Working Class Lunatics that I Know Who Go To Football Matches To Fight…

    All the Russian Kids Could Easily Be English and Vice Versa. What they All really Want To Do Is Fight For Fun – Millwall Supporters Don’t Really Want To Kill Oldham Supporters – And Will Have a Drink With Them After – and Then Get Pissed…

    When They Ain’t at Football Matches They Have Nice Girlfriends…

    American Films Don’t Seem To be Able To Portray This Reality, and Americans Have Absolutely No Understanding Of Completely Different Cultures…

    I Would Be Seriously Impressed If a British Officer Explained To His Soldiers What Muslim Culture Was Really Like before Going Into Battle as Well as The Russian Officer Portyayed In This Film.

    An American Officer Would have as Much Chance of Explaining Anything if The Enemy Was in The Film ET, Ot any Human Being In The Rest Of The World That Was Not an American Soldier.

    I’m Going to Have to Start Watching More Chinese Films.


  • writerman

    It’s really, really, tragic; and intensely irritating, listening to Obama’s speech, and then carefully reading it over. If I’m honest, I think it was disgusting, vile, extraordinary, and delusional.

    Obama and the people surrounding him in the Whitehouse, are accutely aware that they are the elite of Ameircan society. They have received the most expensive education money can buy. The universities they attended inculcate in their students the attitudes of the ruling elite, which the most able, selected and recruited into. But only if they show exceptional aptitude and a willingness to internalise the values of the ruling elite, and perhaps even more importantly, willingness to serve the elite with close to absolute and unquestioning loyalty.

    In return one can expect fame, power, and wealth beyond the dreams of ordinary men. Obama and the circle around him in the Whitehouse are all multi-millionaires. His chief economic advisors come from Wall Street, and have made ten of millions of dollars there.

    But these people are not the demi-gods they appear to be. They seem to be the best and the brightest, but this is an illusion. They are deluded. Listening to Obama when gets the distinct impression that he actually believes in the public ideology and foundation mythology of the United States, and this is a fatal flaw in a ruling elite, when they actually, sincerely, believe in their own ‘national lies’. That way leads to disaster for an empire, because it leads to the rulers becoming detached from reality, prefering an attachment to their myths.

    In its most extreme form, it’s like Hitler in his bunker under the surface of Berlin, refusing to see reality approaching, moving invisible and non-existant armies around the table, dreaming of past glories, and afraid to see the world around him for what it really is. It’s a cronic failure of the imagination and too much imagining at the same time, and it all ultimately leads towards disaster.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Tony, while in general I agree with your thesis, I think one ought to be careful about referring to ‘Americans’ as though all 300 million of them were the same. I am all for attacking the policies and structures of the imperial entity whose command and control centre resides in the power-blocs of the USA. I think that’s different from talking about ‘Amercians this’ and ‘Americans that’, if only because it seems to reflect the essentialising sorts of things said by those who believe that ‘The Muslims this’ or ‘The Muslims that’ (or ‘The Jews this’, etc.), but also possibly because it gives those to attempt to deflect genuine anti-imperialist critique an excuse to brand us all as simply ‘anti-American’ and therefore in some way, xenophobic, irrational and extremist.

    As in Britain, a substantial number of Americans are disgusted by their empire’s actions. I don’t know any Amercian soldiers personally, so I don’t know what their officers’ level of knowledge of ‘other’ cultures might be. I agree with you about most Hollywood movies, and to a large extent currently dominant aspects of mass corporatist entertainment ‘culture’. It sounds like a very good Russian film; there have been many great Russian films, of course.

    However, don’t forget Russian Army atrocities in Chechnya and Afghanistan (in the 1980s). The most violent and racist (I would say, Anti-Semitic, in fact, because that’s what they are displaying) Israeli soldiers, reportedly, are those who hail from Russia, esp. those who fought in, or had some dealings with, Afghanistan.

    Let us not abandon complexity in the midst of our justifiable anger, for the world is complex and that delicate sense of humanity is all we have. Furthermore, in my view, it is the modus operandum on which liberatory discourse must be based if it is to avoid the hopeless paradigm of duality.

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