Afghanistan War? AIRBASE! OIL!
Pulling out in 2014 would be an insult to the men and women who will die in 2011, 2012 and 2013!
As Washington and the world's media focus on the revolutionary events in Egypt, news about the war in Afghanistan all but vanished. Nevertheless, articles about several important subjects are linked below, including further developments in the Afghanistan banking scandal; new reports about joblessness and brain injuries among veterans; some coverage of President Karzai's visit to India, a major investor in Afghanistan and an important player in whatever endgame finally emerges; and a link to the new UFPJ fact sheet on civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
Further below I've linked (too) many good/useful articles and analyses about the events in Egypt, and about the implications of these events for other countries in the region and for US policy. How might the events in Egypt affect the war in Afghanistan? For openers, the revolution in Egypt is pretty dramatic evidence that the United States may have locked in too many resources into Afghanistan, leaving them unavailable for "defending" core US interests, e.g. in the Middle East. The US response to the events in Egypt is also a clear refutation that one of its priorities is "democracy," sometimes still used to justify the Afghanistan war. The "contagion" of events in Egypt may even reach as far as Pakistan, as one article linked below suggests. Perhaps the question about Egypt and Afghanistan could be discussed on the UFPJ Afghanistan list serve.
So it doesn't get lost, I'd like to link here an inspiring music video from the Cairo acoustic rock group Digla called "Tamam Ya Fandim – A Tribute to the Heroes of the Revolution." It's at http://www.youtube.com/diglaofficial. Another good one is at Mondoweiss, and it's called "The World Supports You, Egypt" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQnrHAKN4a8
USEFUL FACTS ABOUT THE WAR
---- 711 Coalition soldiers were killed in 2010, including 499 US soldiers. 24 US soldiers were killed in January. In total, 2,318 Coalition soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the war, including 1,472 soldiers from the United States. 273 US soldiers were wounded in January; the total US wounded during 2010 was 5,178, and the number wounded since the war began is 10,226. To learn more go to www.icasualties.org and to http://tomhayden.com/downloads/Wounded.pdf. On US wounded soldiers, see the important article by C.J.Chivers, "In Wider War in Afghanistan, Survival Rate of Wounded Rises," New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/world/asia/08wounded.html?_r=1&hp
---- "Afghan civilian toll up 20 percent-U.N. report," by Jonathon Burch, Reuters [December 21, 2010] states that "Civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose by 20 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared with 2009, the United Nations said, with more than three-quarters killed or wounded as a result of insurgent attacks. In a quarterly report on Afghanistan this month, the United Nations said there were 6,215 civilian casualties from conflict-related incidents, including 2,412 deaths and 3,803 injuries, between January and the end of October this year."
The Cost of the War
---- According to the website www.costofwar.com, expenditures on the Afghanistan war have reached $375 billion and the total for both the Afghanistan and the Iraq wars is $1.148 trillion. For a useful resource on the costs of war, go to "Bring Our War $$ Home" at www.bringourwardollarshome.org/index.html
Public opinion about the war in Afghanistan
---- According to the Afghanistan Study Group, two-thirds of self-identified conservative voters and Tea Party supporters call for either a reduction of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan (the 39% plurality) or a complete withdrawal "as soon as possible" (27%). 24% think that the current levels of troops should be maintained. The majority 71% of conservative voters, including over two-thirds of Tea Party supporters, are worried that the war's cost to American taxpayers - $120 billion spent on the war in 2010 - will make it more difficult to reduce the U.S. deficit next year and balance the U.S. federal budget in the next decade.
"63 Percent of Americans Oppose War In Afghanistan." Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high, with 63 percent of the public now opposed to U.S. involvement there, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey. Just 35 percent of survey respondents say they still support U.S. involvement. The increase in opposition to U.S. involvement comes as pessimism about how the war is going is rising. According to a poll done Dec. 17-19, 56 percent of the public believes that "things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan."