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Christopher Hitchens -New Commandments

Truly genius there were few like him.


The Closed War



“We are not in the business of building nations. We are in the business of creating them”- Thomas Friedman. 


On March 4, 2007 nine civilians – including five women, three children and an elderly man were blown up by a 2,000 pound bomb dropped by a US aircraft. Their mud house in Kapisa province, north of Kabul was targeted because US forces were targeting two insurgents  seen entering the house. In 2006 a minimum of 929 Afghan civilians were killed in fighting related to armed conflict. 116 of which were killed by US and NATO airstrikes, another 114 killed by NATO or US Ground fire. All of this thanks to an independent report composed by the Human Rights Watch. 


Accompanied by the every decreasing media coverage of the Middle east conflict and no coverage what-so-ever in New Zealand media in regards to Iraq’s promises to bomb Iran this paints a grim picture of the situation in the Middle East. Facts and statistics lost to the Master Narrative, the document with the purpose of guiding and assisting those involved in the explaining the situation in Afghanistan, among other places. This document, aptly titled the Master Narrative was released to the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) by the NATO Media Operations Center and is comprised of line after line to feed the media and pesky journalists. 


ISAF takes all possible measure to protect innocent civilians and their property. [Italics theirs]” the opening line beneath the “Civilian Casualties/ Human Rights” heading provides a stark contrast to the information given by Human Rights Watch. Nevertheless, the document shows that NATO are concerned with achieving one thing, the public’s enthusiasm towards them and their efforts. The familiar tag lines are beginning to look and feel like worn out cliches from a bad film. The Master Narrative document goes further to say to “The ISAF mission is to support the Afghan Authorities and to provide a secure and stable environment to allow for the expansion of governance and development.” This notion of helping is becoming somewhat, if not entirely, lost with Pro war writer and commentator Thomas Friedman say America needed to go over to Iraq and knock on every door from Basra to Baghdad, with a big stick and show the Iraq people  they were going to burst their “terrorism bubble” and to “suck on this.” What seems to escape Friedman, not everybody in Iraq is a terrorist.  Of course, the Huffington Post saw Friedman open his war promoting mouth even further  and declare the war on Iraq a total success. Saying that the future now lay in the hands of Iraq’s leaders. 


Friedman’s comments toward Iraq do serve a purpose in illuminating a greater feeling toward Afghanistan. In fact, you could go as far to say that Friedman’s comments illuminate the entire Middle East misadventure. With the straight of Hormuz heating up and heavy sanctions on Iran’s oil, it seems as though imperialist America can’t quite get enough of the promised land. One of the greatest problems with this war advancing into neighbouring nations is the further America pushes, the more resistant the opposing forces are going to become. The best example of this is the Iraq Green Zone that houses such wonders as cineplexes, malls and fast-food outlets. All the while electricity and fresh water have been cut off to civilian Iraqi’s. Such aggression on the part of the US and NATO can only lead to one thing, resistance. Resistance in the form of suicide bombers, IED’s and roadside ambushes. 


The resistance of Afghan Militants – or “terrorists” if you’re that way inclined- is only the beginning to a much larger narrative. As we’ve seen since 2001 this war has dominated America, in politics and foreign policy. During his campaign Romney declared Russia the United State’s biggest enemy, clearly playing on cold war hysteria. All the while the Middle Eastern wars lay nicely out of view of the electorates but not the larger areas of politics. China has announced that should America attack Iran under any circumstance, China will respond. Russia are China’s closest allies, as it seems war hysteria has begun the shift into the cold war narrative once again, with the ‘enemies of the East’ lurking menacingly around the corner. The question has to be asked, is the main threat not coming from the West? America are ones aiming missile defence systems toward Russia with no guarantees on non hostile usage.    


One of the most powerful things I’ve read in the Master Narrative is also the most contradictory to the actions of NATO. “Airpower is employed by ISAF under the strictest possible restrictions- if there is any reason to believe there are civilians present a strike will not occur.” Clearly the same sentiments are shared by those holding the guns. The Human Rights Watch report reads “ So far in 2008 there has been a return of high civilian deaths from airstrikes.” While it is unfortunate that the statistic is three years out of date, it nevertheless paints a much bloodier picture than NATO would like you to believe. At the time of publication (of the report) 173 Afghan civilians had been killed and 119 of them were killed as a direct result of airstrikes. The most horrifying aspect here, may be the most subtextual, even though the idea of NATO controlled press releases is certainly disconcerting it isn’t surprising. The Free Market imposition ideology and superseded the invasion and as a consequence of it being an ‘ideology’ ultimately failed in the end isn’t the scariest part of this either. Intellectuals from across the world have commented albeit in depth comments on the war and even without the contributions of Noam Chomsky who holds that Al Qaeda are are CIA funded and went rouge. The most horrifying and strike aspect here are the facts presented and thoroughly researched by Human Rights Watch. The hundreds of nameless that died in a war they had nothing to do with and the hundreds more that will die in the Middle East in what Alan Greenspan openly stated is a “war over oil.”


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