Anthony Gregory
LRC Blog
July 16, 2008

Murdering more Afghans is a central goal in the crucial war on terror, say both Obama and McCain, with a majority of Americans willing to go along. Obama wants a bigger military overall, and to send US troops in Iraq to Afghanistan, eventually. McCain is of course a belligerent all around.

This strikes me as totally insane. How is Afghanistan a necessary war? Even if it was in late 2001 — and it wasn’t, nor did it achieve the apprehension of the 9/11 culprits – the consensus seems to be that Osama bin Laden fled from Afghanistan sometime around then, perhaps before "Operation Infinite Justice," as it was originally called, was unleashed on the country, killing many thousands of Afghan civilians and displacing a million more.

Why escalate war in Afghanistan? Not to catch Osama, who many believe is in Pakistan now. So we might have a war there too, as Obama has been threatening.

The entire war on terror model is ridiculous, of course. A "war on terror" makes no more sense than a "freedom from fear" — no wonder the Rooseveltian Obama favors both. But this entire enterprise has to be opposed. They say Iraq was a distraction from the war on terror. Maybe in one important respect: It gave the opposition to the administration an easy, no-brainer of a cause. But all this mainstream dissent over the last seven years, this idea that Iraq was distracting us from the "real" war on Afghan peasants and beyond, will perhaps prove to be counterproductive. Osama might die of natural causes soon, before he is ever caught by US forces. Who thinks the "war on terror" will end then? Not under McCain, who never met a bombing campaign that didn’t inspire him to sing jovially, nor under Obama, whose aspiration is to lead the restoration of FDR-Truman-JFK-GHWBush respectability to the most aggressive and belligerent regime over the last half-century. The Democrats gave us the last seemingly endless war, the Cold War — unfortunately for the establishment, that did eventually end. So of course they see Iraq as a "distraction," for it has only made the empire’s war on terror look bad and reckless, and threatens to undermine America’s perpetual killing abroad. Saving the empire, and redirecting it to slaughter and enslave a different set of people, constitute Obama’s promise should he be elected. So, we’re probably looking at four more years, at least, before a chance for peace.

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