Socialist Worker

Every Afghan is target for Nato

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2254

A Nato air attack wreaked carnage on two extended families in Afghanistan’s Helmand province last week.

It killed 14 people—two women and 12 children. This is what humanitarian intervention looks like.

Local people dug the bodies out of the rubble and laid them out in the open. They wanted to show that they could not have been mistaken for Taliban fighters.

In the same week Nato “friendly” fire killed 20 Afghan policemen—because they were wearing “local” clothing rather than uniforms.

Every Afghan is a potential target for the 140,000-strong occupying Western force.

Barack Obama tried to claim last week that the war in Afghanistan is “turning a corner” and that the West is making “progress”.

This has been said endlessly. But this unpopular and expensive war is in a bloody impasse.

Losing

The West is losing and wants out—but it cannot afford to admit it.

Obama is committed to starting to withdraw troops this summer. David Cameron wants British troops out by the next election.

But military commanders are campaigning to stay. This will mean more civilians and more troops dying for the US imperialist project.

Obama is trying to turn his presidency around by claiming the US is a force for democracy and freedom around the world.

After ten years this spin carries little credence.

In Libya, the most recent battleground for this cynical brand of humanitarianism, it sounds hollow after just three months.

This is particularly true as the West’s supposed concern for democracy doesn’t stretch as far as Bahrain.

US forces have allowed Saudi Arabian troops to enter and violently repress Bahrain’s democracy movement.

Britain has its own bloody responsibility.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Britain trained those very same Saudi forces, the elite national guard, in public order enforcement measures and the use of sniper rifles.

The announcement that Nato will deploy the RAF’s biggest bunker busting bombs over Tripoli exposes the lie at the heart of this war.

These 2,000 pound bombs are used to bust through concrete.

Civilians who flee to underground shelters to find refuge from Nato bombing will no longer be safe.

Defence minister Liam Fox has admitted that this will put those inside “dual use” buildings in danger.

One early version of the bunker bomb killed up to 1,000 civilians in the Amariya shelter in Baghdad in 1991.

Hellfire

Destruction is raining down on the ordinary people of Libya.

Air strikes are intensifying. All the ships in Libya’s navy have been sunk and Apache helicopters with hellfire anti-armour missiles are now being deployed to target at close range.

Libya’s revolution for a time looked like it might topple Colonel Gaddafi’s brutal regime.

But the intervention of the West, to further its own interests, has sidelined the revolution.

Despite all the reassurances that there will be no “boots on the ground”, British special forces and CIA agents are directing the war from inside Libya.

Recent Al Jazeera footage shows British agents openly organising in the city of Misrata.

Western powers employ these people to pursue their interests.

Their mission is to help bring down a regime that the West no longer finds useful—and replace it with one that they can do business with.

Whether it would be any more humanitarian is not in their remit.


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Tue 31 May 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2254
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