Scotland on Sunday
Untimely American bombs, bringing its twin enemies together at a crucial 
moment, were a catastrophic error
  by Rohan Gunaratna
May 26, 2002


Concerning the reasons behind the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Stephen 
Sniegoski writes in "Ye shall know them by their fruits,"

> It is apparent that those "fruits" of the war do not relate to 
> reducing the terrorist threat at home. In fact, the war could 
> exacerbate that threat. Obviously, if the real aim were to 
> reduce the risk of terror in the United States, Washington 
> would not go out of its way to infuriate Muslims abroad.

Sniegoski notes that his conclusion is consistent with historian Walter 
Karp's axiom that "men intend the foreseeable consequences of their 
actions." It is apparent, he says, that the United States went to war in 
Afghanistan to advance Israeli interests and expand the Empire. He also 
mentions the interests of American companies in oil fields and pipeline 
routes in the region (see "Did the United States go to war for oil?"). With 
that in mind, an article in the British newspaper SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY 
provides some interesting information: 

> The single biggest failure to shorten the lifespan of al-Qaeda, 
> its principal enemy, stemmed from the US blunder of not giving 
> Pakistan sufficient time to drive a wedge between al-Qaeda and 
> its host, the Taliban. 
> Immediately after September 11, Pakistan's chief executive, 
> General Pervez Musharaaf, dispatched three high-powered 
> delegations to meet with the Taliban leader -- the Emir of the 
> Believers Mullah Muhammed Omar -- requesting him to surrender 
> the al-Qaeda's Emir General Osama bin Laden. As the Taliban was 
> a force created, nurtured and sustained by Pakistan, the ruling 
> party of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan began to crack under 
> the pressure. Within a month, two factions emerged within the 
> Taliban: a large silent faction which favoured handing over Bin 
> Laden and a vocal faction led by Mullah Omar and opposed to 
> the hand-over.

In short, there was a good chance that the Pakistani rulers could have 
split the Taliban away from al-Qaeda, negating the need for the United 
States to take Afghanistan over. As I noted in my earlier commentary, the 
Taliban responded to U.S. demands that Osama bin Laden be handed over by 
asking for evidence that he was guilty of a crime -- something that all 
sovereign regimes do when asked for the extradition of someone within their 

But the Empire wasn't having any of that. It launched air strikes against 
Afghan targets:

> The consequences were devastating. Mullah Omar announced that 
> the US, "the key enemy of Islam", had targeted the Islamic 
> Emirate of Afghanistan, a sovereign independent state, and 
> rallied support to fight the US and its allies. 
> The US actions drove the Taliban's indoctrinated rank and file 
> to believe that the West was now going to "go after Islam" and 
> they had to team up with Osama bin Laden, the "hero of Islam" 
> after al-Qaeda bombed the US embassies in East Africa in August 
> 1998; USS Cole in October 2000; and the World Trade Centre and 
> Pentagon in September 2001. 

SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY opines, "The US did not permit Pakistan's diplomatic 
initiative to take full effect due to a lack of understanding and 
intelligence on developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan." However, I think 
it was reasonably foreseeable that the unprovoked attacks on Afghanistan 
would destroy diplomatic efforts that might otherwise have borne fruit. 
The result was to an excuse to topple the Taliban -- and install a puppet 
regime that is much more amenable to American empire -- and pipeline-

There are further consequences of the Empire's attack on Afghanistan:

> Today, al-Qaeda -- essentially an Arab force -- is able to 
> infiltrate, probe and strike targets because of its links to 
> the Afghan community through alliance with the Taliban....
> Although the heavy bombing detected, disrupted and degraded the 
> physical infrastructure of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 
> Afghanistan, their fighting cadre is intact. The Muslim 
> territorial and migrant communities from Australia to the 
> Middle East and to Canada continue to provide recruits and 
> finance....
> Previously, Islamists relied on village, clan and tribal 
> organisations based on traditional loyalties, and these 
> organisations tended to fizzle out. By adapting existing models 
> al-Qaeda has built an Islamist organisation full of vitality. 
> Its politically clandestine structure is built on 
> internationalism. Using techniques drawn from Leninism and 
> operating on the Marxist militant model, al-Qaeda uses battle 
> names , adheres strictly to a cell structure, follows the idea 
> of a cadre party, maintains tight discipline, promotes self-
> sacrifice and reverence for leadership, and is guided by a 
> program of action. 

So now, Muslims all over the world see the United States as their enemy, 
and with their support al-Qaeda is the kind of organization that can cause 
more mischief against American civilians, while being difficult or 
impossible to wipe out.

In other words, through its own aggression, the United States has supplied 
itself with an all-purpose post-Cold War enemy, an ever-useful excuse for 
more military spending, more expansion into Central Asia and elsewhere, and 
less safety and fewer freedoms for us here at home. Remember, we have 
always been at war with Eastasia.

Write Wright.
• Return to David T. Wright’s archive.

• Return to the Thornwalker home page.

Copyright © 2002 by Ronald N. Neff, d/b/a Thornwalker.com
All rights reserved.