The Long Intended Chaos

Decrypting the Shadow behind Hamid Karzai

by Paul Fitzgerald & Elizabeth Gould

The Long Intended Chaos

KhalAccording to news reports, the Obama administration is once again reevaluating how to deal with Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai out of fear that it may now be holding him to unrealistic standards of U.S. law enforcement. This comes after a summer of news that Karzai continues to find new ways of resisting Washington’s efforts to rein in rampant corruption in his government.  Now we hear from legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward that the U.S. has intelligence showing Hamid Karzai is under medication for manic depression and that Obama’s national security team doubts that “his strategy in Afghanistan” (whatever that may be at the moment) can work. The tug of war between Kabul and Washington has become so desperate, former CIA Near East, South Asia Chief Dr. Charles Cogan recently opined that the situation was fast approaching a “Diem Moment.” Cogan even suggested that while Diem’s removal had been “horribly botched,” “a removal of Mr. Karzai might turn out to be more straightforward.” Given the similarities to America’s quagmire in Vietnam, invoking Diem raises more than a few dark memories. Yet despite vast differences in the two wars another even more deeply unsettling similarity is emerging. Hamid Karzai is in a political fight for his life like South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem. But (strange as it might seem) his contradictory behavior and the chaos and corruption surrounding it may be no accident. In fact it could be exactly the consequence that his main neoconservative backer, former RAND director, U.S. Ambassador and Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, had long intended.

According to Thomas Ruttig, a United Nations official present at the mid-2002 Kabul Loya Jirga that installed Karzai, “Khalilzad was the driving force behind THE mistake committed in the post-Taleban period that basically and fundamentally undermined the – possible! – emergence of a stable Afghanistan by bringing in the warlords again and allowing them unrestricted access to the new institutions…  Re-empowered militarily and politically, the warlords expanded the realms of their power into the economy. With their [U.S. Special Forces] Alpha Team seed capital they took over that part of the economy that matters in Afghanistan, the poppy and heroin business. With the profits from this they expanded into what remains of the licit economy: import of luxury goods, cars, spare parts, fuel and cooking gas [and] real estate often by occupying government-owned land…”

When asked in the spring of 2010 whether Khalilzad should be invited back to assist the Obama administration, former Special Assistant to President Reagan, Reagan-Doctrine Architect and honorary Afghan “Freedom Fighter,” California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher told Huffpost interviewer Michael Hughes, “He [Khalilzad] oversaw the establishment of a government that was unable to function in Afghan society. And on top of that he browbeat people into accepting Karzai. He even browbeat the ex-King of Afghanistan Zahir Shah into accepting him. Khalilzad was not in the anti-Taliban camp in the 1990’s, so why the hell would we bring him in now? By forcing Karzai into office, Khalilzad snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory because the Taliban were beaten at that point.”

To both Ruttig and Rohrabacher, Khalilzad’s ultimate crime – like the U.S. manipulation of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in Vietnam – was that his corruption of the Karzai regime had created so much internal chaos that no amount of outside effort could undo it. Yet the idea that chaos, as a form of extreme social engineering, may have actually been the plan cannot be ignored.

If anyone embodies the Cold War neoconservative philosophy that came to dominate American foreign and military policy from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, it is Zalmay Khalilzad. Khalilzad first came to the United States as a high school exchange student.

He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from American University in Beirut and his doctorate degree from the University of Chicago where he met and studied along with Paul Wolfowitz under the RAND nuclear warfare theorist, former Trotskyite and father of neoconservatism, Albert J. Wohlstetter. It was Wohlstetter’s early 1970s series of articles in the Wall Street Journal and Strategic Review that prompted the politicized CIA analysis known as the Team B experiment. It was the Team B’s adherents both inside and outside the Carter administration who set the stage for undermining détente and luring the Soviets into the Afghan trap and holding them there while Afghanistan disintegrated. And it was the same Team B brain-trust of Wohlstetter acolytes including Khalilzad that went on to provide the philosophical template for the politicized intelligence process that led to the strategic military disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In her 1972 book about Vietnam, Fire in the Lake, author Frances FitzGerald wrote of the perverse illogic of another of Wohlstetter’s onetime RAND protégés, Herman Kahn. “Just before his departure for a two-week tour of Vietnam in 1967, the defense analyst, Herman Kahn, listened to an American businessman give a detailed account of the economic situation in South Vietnam. At the end of the talk – an argument for reducing the war – Kahn said, ‘I see what you mean. We have corrupted the cities. Now, perhaps we can corrupt the countryside as well.’ It was not a joke. Kahn was thinking in terms of a counterinsurgency program: the United States would win the war by making all Vietnamese economically dependent upon it. In 1967 his program was already becoming a reality, for the corruption reached even to the lowest levels of Vietnamese society.”

In a country as poor as Afghanistan after three decades of war it took little time and less effort to corrupt every level of Afghan society, but in Afghanistan, official corruption, both American and Afghan was built in. Overseen by Khalilzad, a bizarre marriage of America’s pro-business, neoconservative Washington and Afghanistan’s pro-business and often pro-Taliban right wing took root to direct and guide Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

A 2007 report by Canadian journalist Arthur Kent described the DNA that coursed through the bloodstream of the Bush administration’s Afghan agenda. Kent writes, “Within Khalilzad’s makeshift provisional authority in Kabul, he championed a creation called the Afghanistan Reconstruction Group. ARG, achieved two cherished goals for the administration: putting a select group of loyal American and Afghan-American business hawks in charge of US-funded development projects; and doing so while completely bypassing the State Department.”

Outside the boundaries of normal oversight procedures while under the auspices of Donald Rumsfeld’s office at the Pentagon, ARG became a watering hole of high priced contracts for well-placed friends of the Bush administration. In 2005, when Khalilzad’s successor, career diplomat Ronald Neuman tried to break up ARG and return contracting to the State Department, Khalilzad arranged for a “political audit.” The result was Neuman’s replacement by the White House.

In a U.S. Congressional report published in June 2010 titled  Warlord, Inc., Representative John F. Tierney’s Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs painted a sordid picture of the chaos, deception and corruption in Afghanistan that now stands as the legacy of America’s neoconservative brain trust. But given the history of America’s covert and overt involvement in Afghanistan, none of this should have come as a surprise. The U.S. fostered destabilization of Afghanistan’s governments in the 1970s, backed Pakistan’s ISI and their Islamist protégés, lured the Soviets to defeat and watched as the country descended into anarchy. It then hatched a Frankenstein movement called the Taliban together with the ISI – all the while pretending it was indigenous to Afghanistan. After 2001 it then allowed the movement to regroup and grow stronger as they slaughtered moderate Pashtuns and claimed the mantle of Pashtun nationalism for themselves. Whatever the future holds for Hamid Karzai, President Obama’s AfPak war was built upon a chaos, designed and programmed from its inception by the highest intellectual circles in the United States. As his administration approaches another winter trying to resolve it, it might as well face up to the fact that whether it likes it or not, it is getting exactly the chaos that it asked for.

Melvin Goodman Praises Crossing Zero

“Gould and Fitzgerald have identified the triumphalist strain that has marked American foreign policy over the past 100 years and documented President Obama’s failure to introduce change to American national security policy.  The war in Afghanistan is consistent with previous failures in U.S. policymaking over the past 50 years as well as with the misuse of military force.  This book should be required reading at the National Security Council and the Pentagon.”

Melvin  Goodman; Senior Fellow; Center for International Policy; Washington, DC.,  served at the CIA as senior Soviet analyst from 1966-1990 and as professor of international security at the National War College from 1986-2004. He is the author of “The Phantom Defense: America’s Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion,” “Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives are Putting the World at Risk” and more.

Daniel Estulin Praises Crossing Zero

“I loved it. An extraordinary contribution to understanding war and geo-politics in Afghanistan that will shock most Americans by its revelations of official American government complicity in using, shielding, sponsoring and supporting terrorism. A devastating indictment on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans by some of America’s most respected statesmen”.

–Daniel Estulin is an investigative journalist and author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Club, The Secrets of Club Bilderberg, and Shadow Masters: An International Network of Governments and Secret-Service Agencies Working Together with Drugs Dealers and Terrorists for Mutual Benefit and Profit

Huffpost journalist Michael Hughes blogs about Invisible History!

The Huffington Post
Michael Hughes

The anti-Muslim vitriol emanating from American cultural conservatives and right-wing Christians about the ground zero mosque is quite interesting when compared to the deep-seated love of Islamic jihad these same conservative groups once felt just decades ago.

Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald outline the entire history of American conservative and Christian courtship of Islamist extremists in their book Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story. According to Gould and Fitzgerald, the pan-Islamic right emerged under British colonialism during the mid-1800s and was fostered by the U.K. as a tool to counter nationalism, modernism and the secular left after World War I. At the onset of the Cold War this ideological weapon was handed off to the United States who continued to nurture and to hone the movement’s terrorist wings into anti-communist assets.

It’s no huge secret that the C.I.A., via Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), funded and supported violent Islamic jihadist groups called the Mujahideen in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, yet a number of Christian leaders in the U.S. found more in common with political Islam than the practical matter of defeating communism – there was a spiritual kinship as well. As Gould and Fitzgerald wrote about William Casey, the Director of the C.I.A. from 1981 to 1987:

Casey’s passion for the Afghan jihad has sometimes been described as messianic. An ultra-conservative Catholic, Casey saw little difference in the antimodernist beliefs of the Wahabbist House of Saud and the antimodernist, anti-enlightenment views of the newly installed Polish Pope, John Paul II.

Pope Pius X had branded modernism as heretical in his 1910 “Oath Against Modernism”, and although rescinded in 1967, many conservative Catholics still view modernism as diametrically opposed to the “true faith”. Casey being one of them, who maintained ties with the Vatican as a member of the Knights of Malta – an 11th century order established to guard Christians on their voyages to the Holy Land.

The group donned robes with fancy ribbons and called each other “Prince” and “High Eminence”, as Casey designed a holy war against the Soviets that would send Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Afghanistan hadn’t experienced destruction on such a level since the human atomic bomb known as Genghis Khan hit them in the 12th century.

How ironic then was General David Petraeus the other day when asked why the Afghan people should want the ISAF to stay in their country, the General responded: “They [Afghans] don’t want to turn the clock back several centuries to the kinds of practices the Taliban inflicted on them.” Yet the U.S. attempted to do just that for 40 years while in league with radical Muslims who tried their damndest to destroy any and all modern and pro-democratic movements within Afghanistan.

Reason being is that after World War II the United States had developed a Manichaean worldview that infected its foreign policy. Primarily driven by Red paranoia, it forced them to see the world in terms of black and white – as in things were either good or they were communist – which applied to both Democratic and Republican regimes.

U.S. foreign policymakers perceived movements such as secularism, socialism, nationalism and even progressive democratic reform as more akin to communism than America’s good old fashioned brand of imperial democracy.

What is somewhat shocking is how the U.S. fetish for Islamic radical thought was spawned decades before the emergence of the Mujahideen. During the 1950s the C.I.A. covertly recruited a core of pan-Islamic extremists to undermine Soviet and secular influence and retard the modernization of Afghan society, funding their activities through a front group called the Asia Foundation which focused on grooming radical Muslims amongst students at Kabul University.

Thus, moving forward on a course set by the British a century prior, the U.S. resisted Afghanistan’s advances towards a Western-style government and helped hinder democratic reforms including women’s rights and separation of church and state.

In the mid-1950s, the C.I.A. and the British MI6 had developed a close relationship with an Islamic extremist group called the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and forged a partnership with Saudi Arabia to defeat the secular and nationalist policies of Egyptian President Gamal Abddul Nasser. The C.I.A. enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to return from banishment and infect Afghan society with a radical version of Islam that began to supplant the traditional and more moderate indigenous form. According to Gould and Fitzgerald:

The radical Islam of the Muslim Brothers returning to Afghanistan from exile in the late 1960s and early 1970s shared none of the “celebratory, personalized and ecstatic” traits of Afghan Islam – nor did it offer itself as a political or economic reform movement. Instead, what reentered Afghanstan following its exile was a violent, antimodernist hybrid (described by French expert Olivier Roy as more akin to the extremist Catholic sect Opus Dei than anything native in Afghanistan) which at first challenged the weakened boundaries of the old patriarchy, then in triumph broke free from traditional limits on violence and clan rivalries.

While Afghanistan’s progressive King, Zahir Shah, tried to institute modern reform, how mind-boggling that the U.S. backed antimodernist fundamentalist Muslims whose goal was to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and establish an Islamic Caliphate.

Fast forward to the late 70s when a Pentecostal inhabited the White House while neoconservatives, led by hawkish National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, preyed on Carter’s ingrained end times theology. Brzezinski pushed forward the agenda of what became known as “Team B” – a cabal of neocons such as Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Nitze, Seymour Weiss, Richard Pipes, Richard Perle, Daniel O. Graham and Leo Cherne, who exaggerated Soviet nuclear and military capabilities to force U.S. leaders to take a hard line against communism.

Well, Carter sided with the hardliners and moved the U.S. from a Nixonian détente to a more confrontational stance against the godless Russians and approved Brzezinski’s plan to goad the Soviets into invading Afghanistan so that, as Brzezinski admittedly put it years later: “…we could give them their Vietnam”.

In 1980, Brzezinski secured an agreement from King Khalid of Saudi Arabia to match U.S. contributions to the Afghan effort dollar for dollar. American imperialists and Christian zealots partnered with the Saudis to directly and indirectly fund the spread of extremist Deobandi and Wahhabist teachings throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan to combat communist ideology. Then came the Reagan era when the Soviets became the Evil Empire and the funding of the Freedom Fighter development project was expanded under Bill Casey.

Mr. Casey soon ran the biggest covert operation in U.S. history as Washington poured in over $3 billion dollars to train some of the most brutal religious fanatics on earth. The U.S. program made heroes of the likes of Islamic fundamentalist and cold-blooded murderer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose group – Hezb-e Islami – is now a Taliban affiliate. More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan overseen by the CIA and Britain’s MI6, including future Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Gould and Fitzgerald point out that the Team-B neocons and the Casey Christians had led an effort to create a “bogeyman” by building up the myth of Soviet nuclear superiority. But, ironically, their holy war means to that end produced one of another type:

“… instead of it being a nuclear missile stored in some deep silo in the heart of the Urals, the bogeyman would emerge in human form in the mountains of Afghanistan and the nearby tribal areas of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.”

Michael Hughes writes similar articles as the Afghanistan Headlines Examiner and the Geopolitics Examiner for

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