Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ending the "Good War"

James Ingalls and Sonali Kolhatkar, authors of Bleeding Afghanistan, write in Foreign Policy In Focus:

Ending the "Good War" (link here)
The piece is excellent and too long to summarize here - though a few of their comments merit special attention:

U.S. and NATO troops are doing the same things in both countries [i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan]: bombing civilian areas, invading villages, rounding up people without evidence, torturing detainees, causing deaths in custody, and shooting into crowds. “NATO’s tactics are increasingly endangering the civilians that they are supposed to be protecting, and turning the local population against them,” says Sam Zia-Zarifi, the Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch.

... In an important 2005 survey by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, 69% of Afghans identified either themselves or immediate family members as direct victims of human rights violations perpetrated by the warlords in parliament and their ilk; 61% rejected amnesty for such crimes. In fact, 76% felt instead that bringing war criminals to justice would “increase stability and bring security” to their country.

... Based on published polls and our own interviews with people in Afghanistan, most Afghans want primarily two things. They want security and justice, which translates into foreign troop withdrawal, warlord disarmament, and war crimes tribunals. And they want assistance to rebuild infrastructure and meet basic needs such as food, shelter, health care, education, and jobs.

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