US fears cornered mullah could escape again
   by Kim Sengupta in Kabul
January 5, 2002


The war in Afghanistan has taken a truly bizarre turn.

If you remember, the reason the United State went to war against one of
the most backward, poverty-stricken countries in the world was to
apprehend the current Designated Hitler, the evil, fiendish Osama bin

The Taliban, erstwhile rulers of Afghanistan, told the United State that 
if they were presented with proof that said evil fiend had in fact been
responsible for the September 11 attacks, they would turn him over. This
despite the fact that their actual ability to do so may have been
limited by Osama's ability to bribe officials and his large following in
the country. In any case, our exalted rulers were having none of that.
Imagine a sovereign country demanding something resembling due process
before extraditing someone within their borders! The arrogance! So the 
United State went in and, with the help of their smelly allies, the 
so-called Northern Alliance, won a glorious victory against the 
woman-hating, fundamentalist, repressive, undemocratic, etc., etc. 

Only one slight problem, though. They didn't achieve their purported
original goal. The fiend is still at large, no doubt rubbing his hands
together and chortling maniacally at the fruitless efforts of the
World's Only Superpower to run him to ground.

So, instead, we're going after the former Taliban ruler, the one-eyed
Mullah Omar:

>  With Osama bin Laden still escaping their grasp, the
>  Americans are concentrating massive efforts in capturing his
>  host, the Mullah. Yesterday's raid, near Baghran, was the
>  result of eight days of intensive intelligence-gathering which
>  had culminated in identifying a triangle of land where Omar
>  could have taken refuge.
>  The raid on the village, about 110 miles north of Kandahar,
>  would be the first of many over a short period. Having
>  seemingly cornered their quarry, the Americans are deeply
>  worried about giving him the chance to disappear again.

But the mullah, like Osama himself, presents a problem to the Empire if
he is caught:

>  There remains the little problem of what to do with Mullah Omar
>  if he does end up in American custody. He is not indicted on
>  the 11 September attacks and no other formal charges have
>  been laid against him. If he is tried for war crimes, questions
>  are bound to be asked about the past conduct of Northern
>  Alliance commanders who now sit in the Western-backed
>  Karzai government.
>  By surrendering, rather than fighting to the death, the one-eyed
>  Mullah would present the US with a difficult problem.

The "past conduct" of the Northern Alliance includes rape, murder, and
other charming habits -- just the kind of thing that makes the Taliban so
evil. So no doubt the United State will come up with some convoluted 
charges that somehow don't apply to the cutthroats in its own employ -- 
or if they do, the Alliance's sins will be smoothly obfuscated with the 
helpof the totally incurious American press.

That is, if the mullah is taken alive. It will be much more convenient
for him to obligingly die in a collapsed bunker (the United State is 
getting ready to deploy a new, even more fearsome "bunker buster" bomb 
from new bases in Tajikistan) or, that old favorite standby of the Commies 
and Nazis, be "shot while trying to escape."

The same goes for the Evil Fiend himself. If he is captured alive, he
will have to be brought to trial. If he is brought to trial, the United 
State will have to provide some semblance of proof that he is in fact the 
man behind the destruction of four airliners, the World Trade Center, and
part of the Pentagon. The trouble is, so far we have been shown nothing.
A few days after the attacks, the Ministry of Love told us that they had
the proof, and that we would be shown it. Then, nothing.

Every few weeks we are shown a newly-discovered video tape that
supposedly constitutes "proof." Then the news media, our informal
Ministry of Truth, tell us all that, finally, we have the
incontrovertible, ironclad evidence of Osama's guilt. But each time,
there proves to be less there than they tell us.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of having my intelligence insulted
in this manner. Not once in any statement available to the public has
bin Laden actually said that he ordered the attacks, even in that murky,
fuzzy home video with bad sound in which he meets with some clergyman.
In that one, he talks about how he "calculated" only the tops of the
towers would collapse. But what nobody in our intrepid, watchdog news
media seems to have figured out is that the "calculations" could have
been the result of bin Laden, like millions of other people, watching
the unfolding events on CNN -- AFTER the plane crashes: Gee, some
airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center. What will happen
next? Similar "calculations" were no doubt going on in the minds of
many, if not most, of the people watching television that morning.

Not even the latest tape has anything new in that respect. Again bin
Laden makes it clear that he approves of the attacks and gives his
reasons for approving: U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, U.S. support of the
brutal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Ghaza. But he doesn't say
he did it. Even so, apparently most Americans accept that this is proof
of his guilt. Have the American people completely lost their ability to
reason? Or are they simply not paying attention? I fear it's probably

With an apparent total blank check from the American public, the United 
State is looking at going into Somalia again, to get at some al-Qaeda 
members supposedly holed up there. Remember Somalia? That's where, a decade 
ago, the Empire had to withdraw its troops after their occupation of the
place started to unravel under the onslaught of thousands of ungrateful
natives. The same could still happen in Afghanistan, despite the fact
that our rulers used its Northern Alliance surrogates to take the place
over. And the Empire is putting pressure on Malaysia to charge al-Qaeda
members there with something, whether they are guilty or not. And, of
course, limp-wristed, bloodthirsty neo-Trotskyists, such as Bill Kristol
and Charles Krauthammer, are still beating the drums for an invasion of
Iraq, whether there's a pretext or not. They perfectly illustrate a
remark by Gore Vidal that, if you give a sissy a gun, he will shoot
everything in sight. Except they're too sissy even to shoot the gun
themselves -- they get sweaty palms thinking about young, fit, well-
muscled soldiers and marines doing it for them.

Meanwhile, despite the chocolate bars and soccer balls handed out to
Afghan kiddies by "our" noble troops, the situation in Afghanistan is
not improving much. The United State continues bombing and killing 
innocent civilians, a fact that nobody seems to care much about. One 
academic estimates that American bombs have killed more than 3,700 
civilians more than died in the September 11 attacks. And those who aren't 
killed are suffering as well. See the story below for a glimpse of the
horrifying conditions in which many Afghans are forced to live 
conditions our rulers apparently want to spread to other people around
the world who apparently have been having it too easy lately:


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