Which Side Are You On?

by Peter Deccy

Yesterday’s New York Times had a troubling story of a 52 minute battle between a company of US troops and two Afghan soldiers who had lived and fought alongside the Americans. The account made clear these were two extremely well trained Afghan soldiers. Two Americans and the two Afghan soldiers were killed in yet another so-called ‘green on blue’ attack.

This year, 22 US, NATO and other coalition troops have been killed by men in Afghan uniform.

It’s worth noting that contrary to the common myth that these attacks are conducted by Taliban infiltrators, it appears that many of the attacks are actually caused by the intense and growing hatred many Afghan soldiers have for the foreign occupation of their country.

It’s a reminder how post traumatic stress inflicts the people of Afghanistan, a country that has endured over 30 years of war, to a far larger degree than we are perhaps aware. At what point is the cost of unending US and NATO military operations too high?

It also begs the question, will the insurgency ever end as long as foreign troops occupy Afghanistan? What have the best efforts and tremendous sacrifices made by our troops, and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent, actually accomplished in the longest war in America’s history?

“I think we’d both say that what we found is that the Taliban is stronger,” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein told CNN having just returned from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan.

The insurgency grows stronger, along with the ill-will and mistrust of our Afghan allies, fueled by images of US military personnel urinating on dead Taliban fighters, the murder of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier and Koran burnings.

The US and NATO strategy in Afghanistan is failing, and will continue to fail, as long as foreign troops occupy the country. How can the Obama administration justify keeping 20,000 to 30,000 troops in Afghanistan for another 12 years while many of our allies are preparing an earlier than planned exit?

At the NATO summit in Chicago, Peace Action and our allies in the peace and justice movement will press the question and demand our troops return home.

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