AFGHANISTAN: NATO IS NOW US-ATO
by Sarah Meyer
The pre-planned war in Afghanistan will be 5 years old on 7 October. The PNAC gang had their eyes on Afghanistan and its oil prior to 9/11, as seen in R. M. Gerecht’s (March ’01) NY Times article, reprinted on the PNAC website. “In 1996, it seemed possible that American-built gas and oil pipelines from Central Asia could run through an Afghanistan ruled by one leader. … .To really put Mr. bin Laden out of business, America must shut down his operations inside Afghanistan,” he said. Mr. Gerecht wrote a further PNAC document, The Cowering Superpower, on the 30th of July ’01, in which he said: “In December 1999, the Clinton administration issued a worldwide terrorist alert … (because) bomb-toting Islamist militants under the banner of the Saudi terrorist Usama bin Laden had declared war.” Following this comment is a discussion on Bin Laden. Another excellent analysis of pre-9/11 strategy is by Stephen Lendman in his article Afghanistan, The Other Lost War. Further post 9/11 PNAC documents relating to Afghanistan can be seen here.
Really, the ‘War on Terror’ would be better renamed as ‘The War for GO’ (gas and oil). This is as applicable to Afghanistan as it is to Iraq, and threatened Iran.
The UN Security Council issued Resolution 1333 on December 19, 2000. This demanded “that the Taliban turn over bin Laden to the United States or a third country for trial in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in August 1998, and close terrorist training camps, with the threat of trade sanctions, freezing Taliban assets abroad, etc.” This resolution did not authorize the use of force. The rapid military response, “Enduring Freedom” (sic) following 9/11 was not authorised by the UN until Resolution 1386 was passed on 20.12.01. The U.S. war in Afghanistan thus began illegally and remained illegal for 2 months and 13 days.
“Within a number of days,” the U.S. dropped cluster bombs and, later, thermobaric bunker busters which “violate international norms on indiscriminate attacks.” Verifiable disclosure by the U.S. government on the use of Depleted Uranium, i.e. bombs which use reprocessed nuclear waste, should be demanded by the U.S. Senate and Congress.
The Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop, said (29 Nov. 2005) that NATO “troops will be independent from existing US forces and would respect human rights.” There were many concerns and a definite quagmire . John Reid, The former U.K. Defence Minister, said (April ’06) that U.K. forces would be happy to leave Afghanistan in three years without "firing one shot.” Reality has proved this to be an understatement. Recently, the Scotsman reported that British troops were being attacked “up to a dozen times a day, were involved in hand-to-hand combat and had fired 400,000 bullets.” The UK time limit has also become more flexible - 10 years is suggested. The leader of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, Sir Menzies Campbell, recently wrote that the UK Afghan ‘mission’ does “not absolve our Government from one of its most profound responsibilities: scrupulous consideration of the justification and consequences of deploying British troops to battle.”
The war in Afghanistan is now supported by NATO troops supplied by 37 countries. There are 20,000 US troops, of which 8,000 will operate at two centres under U.S. control. There are 76,000 Afghan security forces. NATO command will be headed by Lt. Gen. David Richards of the U.K. The schism between the U.S. and NATO supporting countries still exists and is unresolved. Was 'independence' ever really an option? One might take notice of an 'offer’ made by the US in June 2006 to take command of NATO troops.
Who is heading the U.S. ‘mission’? In July, suspect war criminal General Bantz Craddock was chosen as NATO’s next ‘supreme’ European allied commander. His previous job was at Guantanamo. "Craddock falsely insisted that a ‘significant number’ of detainees at Guantanamo Bay were members of al-Qaeda; … Craddock refused to reprimand Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller for abuse and torture of detainee Mohammad al-Qahtan; … Craddock joked about the detainee hunger strike, saying the prisoners had ‘choices’ in feeding tube color, flavor of lozenges.” Prior to Guantanamo, he was a chief military assistant to Rumsfeld.
On the 26th of September, a AP/Guardian headline announced: "U.S. Gen. to Command Afghanistan Forces". This article can now be seen here. McNeil is another suspect war criminal. He presided over Bagram Prison, an infamous torture centre in Afghanistan, in 2003. It is interesting that one of the two enclaves (the other is Kandahar helicopter airbase) that will remain under direct U.S. control is the U.S.-operated prisons and interrogation centers at Bagram.
President Bush recently pushed through the Military Commissions Act. This authorized the President “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 . . . in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.” This retroactive bill was designed to protect men such as Craddock and McNeil from being charged as war criminals. No one in Mainstream Media has reported the US leadership connection in Afghanistan with torture.
Violence and death, as in Iraq, continue to increase in Afghanistan not only for NATO troops but also exponentially for the Afghan people. Boston’s Globe and Mail suggested that “NATO's emphasis on body counts as a measure of military success echoes an earlier era, when the U.S. used them as a measure of success against ‘insurgents’ in Vietnam.”
Why do both the US and UK governments shrug off the National Intelligence Estimate Report, as well as other reports? Why are Bush and Blair ‘in denial’ over accusations that their foreign policies are responsible for the growth in terrorism? The revenge motif, get Bin Laden ‘dead or alive’ following 9/11 has not been achieved. One has to now ask if this is intentional, given that he is the Fear Focus for Bush’s (poorly thought out and abysmally executed) “War on Terror.” Terrible as it sounds, could one propose that 'terrorist' growth is exactly what the US / UK governments want to encourage? Via bogus ‘terrorist’ threats and the ensuing Fear Factor, these two governments can ensure that the ‘Patriot’ Act, ID cards, private prisons, draconian attacks on human rights, torture methods, wiretaps, etc. ad. vomitus, can be implemented in order to achieve the desired police state. The governmental mind-set means that the lives of ‘ordinary’ human beings can be considered as contemptible whilst corporate / private fortunes in oil and the arms trade are being made. Not exactly “democracy and freedom.”
And why is the U.S. encouraging more and more countries to join NATO? This is not for the benefit of Afghanistan. NATO is another U.S. corporate money-spinner. The financial squeeze which the U.S. puts on ‘cooperating’ NATO countries in Afghanistan is for the sole benefit of the US arms industry. An extensive essay on the USA involvement with NATO can be seen at Nato, the Bathtub of Unreadiness. NATO should be renamed US-ATO.
NB: LINK REMOVED. The reference to General Craddock in paragraph 7: the message to the source link reads:
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18.06.07. UPDATE ON BANTZ CRADDOCK, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) for NATO.
The General's Report (25.06.07. Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, Truthout) 6 May meeting with Rumsfeld at Pentagon about Abu Ghraib torture. "The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.); and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with (Gen. Bantz J.) Craddock and other officials. Taguba, describing the moment nearly three years later, said, sadly, "I thought they wanted to know. I assumed they wanted to know. I was ignorant of the setting."
Index on Afghanistan, which I started in May 2005, and was my first blog, is now an enormous source reference. More people are re-focusing on this ‘forgotten’ war. In the future, there will be separate monthly updates. The September 2006 Index on Afghanistan can be seen here. I hope that people all over the world will continue to find these source references useful. Thank you.
Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the United Kingdom.
Afghanistan: Nato is now US-ato was first published by the BRussels Tribunal at http://www.brusselstribunal.org/resources.htm
The url to Afghanistan: NATO is now US-ATO is http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/2006/10/afghaistan-nato-is-now-us-ato.html
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Tags: Afghanistan, NATO, Index Research, PNAC, torture, Bagram