By: Joyce Rothermel
Editors Note: This statement was released in December 2019.
The United States, under the presidency of George W. Bush, together with the United Kingdom launched war on Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 under the title of “Operation Enduring Freedom” a mere month after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The war still continues with the following war balance: 147,000 Afghanis killed, of whom 38,000 were civilians; 1,892 American military personnel killed and 20,589 wounded; at least $1 trillion spent already and said to go up to $4 trillion with long-term expenses factored in; a country semi-destroyed and made one of the most dangerous places to live in.
The war began under a false pretense, as the then President, George W. Bush, flailed around to identify a country that could be accused of responsibility for 9/11. The fact that 17 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis was swept under the carpet and Afghanistan, which harbored Osama Bin Laden, was identified as the fall guy, guilty or not. The then-President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Mullah Omar, was ordered to hand over Bin Laden. The Afghanis responded that they would if the US could produce evidence that Bin Laden was the author of the crime. Without providing evidence, President Bush launched the fateful war that is still with us.
On December 8, 2019, the Washington Post published 2000 pages of interviews obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report revealed that under three Presidents, namely Bush, Obama and Trump, the facts about the war were obfuscated to make it look like they knew what they were doing and that success was being achieved. In the report, a retired three-star Army General, Douglas Lute, is quoted saying, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan – we didn’t understand what we were doing.” The same General Lute told government reporters in 2015, “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” As they supposedly trained the Afghani military to take over, the Pentagon put forward puerile strategies such as “clear, hold, build,” purportedly to bring the war to an end.
At this moment in December 2019, the Taliban in Afghanistan is much stronger than it was on October 7, 2001 and they see the reigning government of Afghanistan as a puppet government of the US. It seems that the entire endeavor was little short of a criminal enterprise about which three Presidents deceived the American people. The US Congress in this matter also has blood on its hands. Through its Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in 2011, Congress handed over to the President complete authority to wage this war without apparent oversight.
We, in the Anti-War Committee of Pittsburgh (a project of the Thomas Merton Center),are demanding that the three Presidents who prosecuted this war be brought to justice. If this war, executed under false pretenses and with a continuous flow of disinformation about its progress, does not rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” it is hard to know what does.
Joyce Rothermel belongs to the Anti-War Committee of Pittsburgh, a project of the Thomas Merton Center.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 1. February, 2020. All rights reserved.