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Obama's Neoliberals: Selling His Afghan War One Report at a Time [View All]

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billyoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 01:29 PM
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Obama's Neoliberals: Selling His Afghan War One Report at a Time
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In its support for the Afghan war, the Center for American Progress is aligning itself with the experts who have been wrong about pretty much everything

by Jeremy Scahill
Reading the Center for American Progress new report supporting President Obamas escalation of the US war against Afghanistan is a very powerful reminder of how much neoliberals and neocons are alike. This, of course, is not some genius observation, particularly since CAP and the neocons are making it hard to miss, what with their love triangle with the war. Indeed, CAPs launch event for its report, Sustainable Security in Afghanistan: Crafting an Effective and Responsible Strategy for the Forgotten Front, included a leading neocon, Frederick Kagan and was promoted by William Kristols new version of the Project for a New American Century, the Foreign Policy Initiative. So, here is part of what we are seeing unfold: Running parallel to the bi-partisan war machine within the official government is a coordinated campaign in the shadow governmentthe think tanks. Or, as Naomi Klein describes them, the people paid to think by the makers of tanks. CAPs particular role in this campaign appears to be attempting to sell Obamas war.

The problem is not that the Bush administrations effort in Afghanistan failed, CAP declares. The problem is that it was never given a chance to succeed. The report is replete with the language of Empire and phrases like, vital U.S. interests and U.S. national interests. The phrase Afghan interests is never used. CAP also calls for a continuation of the US bombing raids in Pakistan. In calling for an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, CAP relies on the classic hubris of empire, saying, U.S. policymakers and military leaders must be aware that throughout their history Afghans have resisted large numbers of foreign forces on their soil, but today the situation is different. Why is it different? According to CAP, Nearly two-thirds of Afghans still support U.S. forces throughout the country. This claim would be funny if it wasnt so lethally misleading.

US-backed leader Hamid Karzai can barely step foot outside of his palace without risking being killed. Some intelligence officials estimate that the government of president Hamid Karzai now controls approximately one-third of Afghan territory, CAP acknowledges. How on earth, then, do they pretend to know that Afghans actually love the US occupation? Well, check the footnotes in CAPs report and you see that CAP is basing its claim on an ABC News poll, Public Opinion Trends in Afghanistan, which is based on 1,534 interviews conducted in December 2008/January 2009. When you actually take the time to read the details of the poll CAP cites, that claim that two-thirds of Afghans supportU.S. forces throughout the country is extremely dubious and outright misleading. The poll actually says that 52% of Afghans have an unfavorable view of the United Statesup from 14% in 2005. It also says Afghans give the US a 32% performance rating, down from 68% in 2005. Only 37% of Afghans say there is support in their area for US/NATO/ISAF forces. The statistic the CAP report singles out for its two-thirds support claim is one labeled Presence of US Forces in Afghanistan, which says that 63% of Afghans support it. However, in the next graph, only 18% of Afghans say they want the force increased and 44% want it decreased. So, read into this what you will, but do read it before buying CAPs claim.

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