Apocalypse of the American Mind

The Huffington Post   

In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method At All  

by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Colonel Kurtz: Did they say why [Captain] Willard, why they want to terminate my command?

Captain Willard: They told me, that you had gone totally insane and uh, that your methods were unsound.

Colonel Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?

Captain Willard: I don’t see any method at all, Sir.

Apocalypse Now

One thing that remains consistent over the last 30 years in observing America’s participation in Afghanistan is that mistakes and errors of judgment, no matter how egregious or self-defeating, never seem to get corrected. In fact, in its effort to rationalize a growing culture of war-making from Vietnam to Afghanistan, America has come around to embracing the insanity of the fictional Colonel Kurtz. read more…

Dissident Voice Reviews Invisible History

 “Like Great Britain before it, Washington’s interactions with Afghanistan exhibited an ignorance of Afghanistan’s historical desire for non-alignment. This ignorance was combined with an insistence that any expression of that desire proved that Moscow was influencing Kabul’s politics. Fitzgerald and Gould write that this was not an accident. In fact, it was the logical outcome of a 1950 national security directive known as NSC 68.”
“The direct result of this directive was the creation of a permanent war economy and the creation of a national security state. In practice, some of what this meant was that national liberation struggles and national desires for non-alignment were perceived to be Soviet-inspired and therefore part of the enemy camp.”

The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed

by Ron Jacobs  / January 16th, 2010 

In the first week of 2010, five US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. The last week of 2009 saw the deaths of eight CIA agents there. Several more Afghan civilians were killed during this period, including the apparent executions of several young boys by persons either in the US military or working with them. In addition, insurgent forces targeted a Karzai government in official in eastern Khost and launched rockets at the site of a future US consulate in Herat. It was reported on January 6, 2010 that the Obama administration was sending 1,000 more US civilian experts to the country to help in so-called reconstruction projects. This news was greeted with skepticism from Afghans both in and out of the government. The Afghan ambassador to the United Nations noted that few Afghans trusted these so-called reconstruction endeavors and that the US might do better if they hired Afghans to do the rebuilding instead of shipping in US citizens to “create parallel structures that would ruin (the Afghan government’s) efforts.” The ambassador must be quite aware that the history of US reconstruction in either Afghanistan or Iraqis is a legacy of corruption, poor construction, and failed endeavors that benefited no one but the foreign companies that garnered the contracts. Read more…

The Huffington Post Shadow War

Shadow War

by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Posted: January 12, 2010   News that suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, (the man who targeted the forward CIA operating base Chapman) was a trusted informant, should prompt more than just a reassessment of President Obama’s AfPak war. The shocking infiltration of a key CIA operating facility indicates that either America’s former partners in its covert war against the Soviet Union are so well schooled in American methods and practices that they have become all but invisible, or, that in their desperation, America’s best operatives are failing to follow precautions. Just when the administration was hoping to build on a solid foundation of reliable intelligence, it must now question not only the intelligence it has received, but also the fundamental assumptions on which the intelligence has been operating from the start.

We heard the rumblings of apprehension from local Afghans when we visited Kabul in the fall of 2002. What exactly was the United States doing by hurting those who wanted to build a stable Afghanistan and re-empower those who had already torn it to shreds? In a conscious effort not to lose Afghanistan the way Vietnam had been lost, the U.S. was going back to the same fractious warlords it had empowered during the 1980s without ever questioning whether they had been backing the right people to begin with.

At the time, insurgent leaders, whose ideology was as alien to Afghanistan as any foreign colonial power, made it clear that the U.S. was only an ally of convenience and that once the Soviet Union was defeated the tide of radicalism would be turned loose on the United States. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, America’s largest beneficiary, made his disdain clear when he refused to visit President Reagan at the White House on a 1985 trip to the United Nations in New York. All through the 1990s South Asia expert Selig Harrison made it clear to the CIA that they were creating a “monster” in the Taliban. Yet this, and an ocean of clear and unambiguous information was overlooked, discredited or just plain ignored.

Now the U.S. must look back at all the information this “trusted informant” from Al Qaeda’s Lashkar al-Zil (Shadow Army) provided and determine what is real and what is “shadow.” But there is nothing in the CIA’s history to indicate that any internal examination can correct the mistakes that encouraged small bands of religious extremists to grow into a powerful insurgency or for that matter to define exactly which enemy is the most dangerous.

Did other reliable informants bordering Helmand province intentionally target Baluch nationalists for Predator drone assassinations, knowing that they would turn the long- suffering Baluch population against the United States? According to Amnesty International, Pakistan’s war on Baluch and Sindhi nationalists has claimed more than 900 activists who have disappeared without a trace, exceeding the massive human rights violations perpetrated by Pinochet’s Chile in the 1970s. Have reliable informants also singled out moderate Afghans and Pakistanis for elimination while protecting Afghan Taliban who prey on American units in the long contested Pakistani border region? Under the best of circumstances intelligence gathering is a tricky business, requiring expert skills, experience and knowledge of the indigenous culture. But good intelligence also requires the wisdom to know who your enemy is and the war you are fighting, and by all indications, that remains the black hole of American efforts.

In a report released by the Center for a New American Security on Monday January 4,
NATO’s highest intelligence officer, U.S. Major General Michael T. Flynn, writes that “our intelligence apparatus still finds itself unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which we operate and the people we are trying to protect and persuade. This problem or its consequences exist at every level of the U.S. intelligence hierarchy, and pivotal information is not making it to those who need it.”

Either unable or unwilling to adapt to a post-cold war, multi-polar world, and after eight years of failure in Afghanistan, the Obama administration now wants the Afghan and Pakistani people to believe that the United States is on their side. But until the American intelligence bureaucracy catches up to the President’s rhetoric, Al Qaeda’s army will continue to operate effectively from the shadows while the U.S. will continue to stumble along in the dark.

© Copyright 2010 Gould & Fitzgerald. All rights reserved

Veteran Journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould Give OpEdNews the Lowdown on Afghanistan  Part One  By Joan Brunwasser

OpEdNews  January 9, 2010 

Please tell our readers a bit about your background and what made you the right ones for the job.

Big things were happening in 1978, with new approaches to old problems as the Carter administration vowed to eliminate the threat of nuclear war and reevaluated detente with the Soviet Union. The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, SALT was a major vehicle for these changes and by 1979 we had focused on its impact by interviewing the central figures. By the end of 1979, we had finished a documentary called the Arms Race and the Economy, A Delicate Balance, analyzing the effects of defense spending on the US economy. Having experienced a decade of improving relations with the Soviet Union our documentary was received with great interest. (Read Part One: Veteran Journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould Give OpEdNews the Lowdown on Afghanistan )

Part Two: Veteran Journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould Give OpEdNews the Lowdown on Afghanistan By Joan Brunwasser

OpEdNews  January 10, 2010 

Welcome back for the conclusion of my interview with Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould. In the first half, you dissected how we got to this point. The next question for you two is, can we break out of this military mindset?
The U.S. is currently in a tenuous financial arrangement with the rest of the world and especially Russia and China. How long the United States can continue to act as a hegemonic power in Central Asia with the intention of controlling pipeline routes against Chinese and Russian interests is a delicate and growing issue. Without careful and ingenious diplomacy, the United States could soon find itself as the odd man out. No amount of military thinking or spending will resolve the problem the United States faces. If the United States can’t adjust to this new post cold war reality, then the U.S. will go the way of the Soviet Union. (Read Part Two: Veteran Journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould Give OpEdNews the Lowdown on Afghanistan )

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