With Bush continuing his sword-rattling against Iraq, it is helpful to take a look at what is going on in Afghanistan, the last nation to be "liberated" by the U.S. military. Last December, after the fall of the Taliban, the corporate mega-media, acting as a shameless propaganda arm of the U.S. government, told us how delighted Afghans were at their new-found "freedom." Interestingly, you hear very little from them about what's going on in Afghanistan now. The U.S. bombing and the ousting of the Taliban has plunged Afghanistan into chaos, and deepened and worsened the poverty and misery of the people. There are almost daily fire fights among Uzbek, Tajik, and Hazara tribesmen, as rival warlords contend for power and influence. The northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif is particularly troubling, as it has descended into almost total lawlessness. Armed men prey on the local residents, and rape is common. (Remember Bush's feigned concern for women's rights in Afghanistan when he wanted to justify invasion?) Two brutal, corrupt warlords oppose each other for control of the region around Mazar-i-Sharif: Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Tajik warlord Usted Atta. In the west, Ismail Khan, supported by Iran, rules the region from his capital in Herat, and provides a greater measure of stability and prosperity there than is present anywhere else in the nation. Hamid Karzai's pathetic puppet regime controls only Kabul, and Karzai himself has to be guarded by Americans. He can't trust any of his own people to protect him. High officials of his government have been killed in public in broad daylight, yet there are no clues or witnesses supposedly! That bespeaks a government whose grip on power, even in Kabul, is tenuous at best. Only the presence of U.S. troops are keeping Karzai's regime in existence at all. Were they to leave, Karzai would be deposed and probably killed almost immediately.
Meanwhile, the U.S. bombing of the country has continued, even after it was supposedly "liberated." Not long ago, U.S. bombs massacred the guests at a wedding party, turning an occasion of celebration and joy into one of grief and horror. The fighting among the warlords would be more intense still, but it is kept in check by the threat of U.S. bombs and bribes to warlords. What little infrastructure Afghanistan had was destroyed by the U.S. bombing, and little of the promised international aid has materialized. In some places, children work all day for the princely pay of three or four carrots! Can you imagine working hard all day, only to be paid with three or four carrots? The horrors of "liberated" Afghanistan illsutrate graphically what is in store for Iraq if the U.S. invades it.