Dire Poverty is Unaddressed Factor in Afghan War
Interview with author and columnist, Norman Solomon, conducted by Scott Harris
Reacting to widespread charges of fraud and ballot stuffing in Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election, the United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission has ordered a recount of votes cast at 10 percent of the nation's polling stations. Although preliminary results showed incumbent President Hamid Karzai winning 54 percent of the vote, if a recount reduces his lead below 50 percent, a run-off election must be held.
Uncertainty about the future of Afghanistan's political leadership has been compounded by increased attacks by the Taliban and public outrage at a Sept. 4 NATO-ordered air strike of two tanker trucks that killed nearly 100, including dozens of civilians. Since being sworn into office, President Obama has almost doubled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 32,000 to a planned total of 68,000 by the end of the year.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the joint chiefs of staff, recently confirmed before a Senate Committee that he expects tens of thousands more U.S. soldiers to be deployed to Afghanistan during the latter half of 2009. Plans to further escalate the war comes as a CNN poll found that 58 percent of those surveyed were opposed to the war and 39 percent in support. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with author and columnist Norman Solomon, who just returned from a visit to Afghanistan in late August. He talks about what he learned on his trip that led him to believe a military escalation of the conflict is a serious mistake.
Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of the book, "War Made Easy, How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning us To Death." Read his columns online at www.normansolomon.com
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