By Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Speaking at a news conference on May 5, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “The main effort in our strategic focus from a military perspective must now shift to Afghanistan.”
With these words, Mullen has condemned the people of Afghanistan to suffer more misery, oppression, and poverty – as if eight long years of occupation were not enough.
The implications are serious. Focusing U.S. guns and military power squarely on Afghanistan means thousands of more needless deaths and untold misery for millions of impoverished Afghans. It means the people of Pakistan will face more violations of their sovereignty and more deaths due to U.S. air strikes. And it means that many more daughters and sons of the U.S. working class will lose their lives, limbs or mental health in a war for empire.
Debate is heating up over what course the U.S. should follow in Afghanistan. Democrats and Republicans argue over how many troops to send. But who will take a stand and say the U.S. has no right to be there in the first place? Politicians from the two parties of big business will not take this position. It will take a massive anti-war movement in the streets here, combined with relentless resistance in Afghanistan, to force them to change their thinking.
Today we don’t have a mass movement against the occupation of Afghanistan. The truth is that far too many Americans are silent on this question. While just about every thinking American says the U.S. should get out of Iraq, fewer are willing to say the same about Afghanistan. The way to change this is to educate, organize and build a visible pole of opposition to the occupation.
What the U.S. military is doing in Afghanistan is unjust. U.S. occupying forces have killed or wounded tens of thousands and left millions homeless and hungry. Dozens die every week from U.S. bombs and bullets. Thousands are tortured in U.S.-run dungeons in Bagram Airbase. Afghans are subjugated and oppressed. Rotten to the core with corruption, the puppet government run by Hamid Karzai is little more than a collection of drug-trafficking warlords.
But where there is oppression, there is resistance. Resistance to occupation is the natural and legitimate response of any people. In Afghanistan a powerful resistance movement has developed in the countryside. Military analysts estimate that the resistance now controls 70% of the country.
In response, President Obama is rushing 17,000 troops to prop up the failing occupation and prevent major cities from falling to the insurgency. But this is a hopeless effort. The Afghan people have a proud history of defeating every past invader. There is no reason to think things will be different this time around. In any case, it is their country, and sooner or later the U.S. must leave.
Afghans have the right to organize their resistance as they see fit. We should be clear that the real obstacle to social liberation is not the Taliban, it is the U.S. occupation with its narco-mafia state led by Hamid Karzai. Only when the occupiers are overthrown and driven out can Afghan society develop freely.
In the same May 5 press conference, Admiral Mullen said the advances of the Afghan resistance “directly threaten our national interests in the region and our safety here at home.” In fact, workers and oppressed peoples in the U.S. have no ‘national interests’ in Afghanistan or anywhere else in Central Asia.
Our interests are for liberation and justice here in the United States. We understand that we have much more in common with the millions of Afghans who struggle for national liberation than we do with Admiral Mullen and the ‘interests’ of U.S. imperialism.
Imperialism’s ‘interest’ is for a foothold in Central Asia to project power and secure natural gas resources in the region.
The interest of the working class is for an end to occupation and for the Afghan people to be victorious in their struggle for liberation – just as we support the Iraqi people, the Palestinian people and all occupied peoples in their just struggles to be free from imperialism.
The tide of history is with the oppressed. The time to support Afghanistan’s liberation struggle is now. Recognizing that, we should do everything in our power to end the occupation.