by jay janson
Dear President Jimmy Carter:
By way of identification, am an archival research historian, musician, and a member of Veterans For Peace, All Souls Peace Task Force and Riverside Global Justice and Peace Ministries in New York City.
Being that the name Jimmy Carter is synonymous with seeking peace, justice with kindness, am encouraged to communicate a sincere if audacious plea, hopefully not taken as presumptuous or intrusive.
Would President Carter help President Obama, as people are saying, “earn his Nobel Prize” in Afghanistan, as of course President Carter earned his in Palestine?
President Carter is aware of the tremendous amount of antagonism born in ignorance of the history of the thirty-four years of warfare in Afghanistan; aware that war promoting conglomerate owned entertainment/news media is making use of this wide spread ignorance.
Who better than yourself, dear Mr. President, could help the Obama administration weather the pressure from the war industry to continue to bring death and destruction to the Afghan people in the name of fighting al Qaeda. Those who interest themselves in following the events carefully know that precious little disabling mayhem is reaching al Qaeda, as it is mainly directed at the still in part governing Taliban and tribal leaders not wishing to cooperate with the well intentioned American and European occupiers of their land.
Where is American gratitude toward Afghans, Taliban included, for their sacrifices made while doing their part to bring U.S. victory in the “Cold War?’
President Carter knows that media manufactured consent to war is completely unimpeded by what corrective information is available on the Internet and even that which is published by U.S. government agencies.
Presidential Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1998, bragged of having brought about the dissolution of the Soviet Union by having convinced you to have the CIA covertly fund, arm and train conservative Islamic fundamentalist hill tribes warring against a new Socialist government in Kabul in mid-1979. Brzezinski boasted that he had accurately predicted this would most probably be answered by Soviet intervention and cause the USSR’s own debilitating Vietnam-like syndrome. His interview with the French weekly Nouvel Observateur has long been available on the Internet verbatim. Sadly, journalist Robert Fist writes of this revolutionary Kabul government of having still been very popular in 1979. It was Afghanistan’s fate to be for thirty-four years, and counting, a victim of the ‘Cold War.’
Though Robert Gate’s corroboration of this in his memoirs, “From the Shadows” is also noted on the Internet, neither of these admissions have helped the anti-war movement seeking to show the Taliban in a non U.S.-threatening light, as it was seen by the Reagan administration, namely, a largely devout Pushtun nationalist organization dedicated to bringing good government, social order and citizen protection.
And if Taliban be condemned for its strict version of Islam, it should not be by Americans, whose government in order to oppose deadly Soviet intervention, for years, unfortunately, wound up supporting similar severe tribal fundamentalist attitudes at a time when a socialist, women emancipating government, in an already somewhat cosmopolitan Kabul, was in power.
Given everyone’s great appreciation for President Carter’s humane efforts in favor of rectification on so very many issues of foreign policy, could it not be felt incumbent upon him to consider helping Obama terminate the war in Afghanistan by being so bold as to catch the headlines and effect an educated reminder of the terrible fate that the Afghan population suffered as a pawn in the Cold War.
Could you possibly see to briefing America on the beginning of what quickly led to eight years of Afghans fighting the Soviets, and then led to 9/11, and finally a second invasion and eight year occupation war inside their nation for the perception that bin Laden (who also fought the Russians) was managing a world wide war on the U.S. principally from within Afghanistan.
Your decision of June-July, 1979, was taken in the context of the Cold War, and the public has long accepted covert activity during the Cold War as understandable. However, for an incomplete understanding of history, the public has been made to support war in Afghanistan.
Major media has already rationalized and excused Nobel Prize winner Henry Kissinger’s role in the overthrow of Allende by Pinochet; President Einsenhower’s ordered overthrow of governments in Guatemala, Congo and Iran; Robert Kennedy’s post nuclear confrontation CIA “Operation Mongoose” of sabotage and attempted assassination; President Reagan’s illegal funding and facilitating the murderous operations of the Contras, the funding of Svamimbi’s civil war in Angola; JFK’s unleashing the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs prepared under Eisenhower, just to name a few of the sad decisions taken during the Cold War now forgiven as necessary during their time.
All the above declassified covert CIA operations, have not affected the great public affection for past U.S. presidents.
Could President Carter not step forward and defend this innocent population by recounting the ‘Cold War’ history that played out in 1979 in Afghanistan? Your prominent and highly respected voice could lessen the enmity of America toward the Taliban and make a transition to peace earlier, thus saving many lives.
On May 11, 2009, respected journalist Chris Hedges wrote, “The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war. We are not delivering democracy or liberation or development. We are delivering massive, sophisticated forms of industrial slaughter. And because we have employed the blunt and horrible instrument of war in a land we know little about and are incapable of reading, we embody the barbarism we claim to be seeking to defeat.”
So much death and destruction for the actions of armies of most of the industrialized nations of the world, since the death of Osama bin Laden, now admitted to be principally fighting the Taliban.
A terrible history is given by the non-political Wiki-encyclopedia.
‘ Once the Soviet troop withdrawal was complete in Feb. 1989, US interest in Afghanistan ceased. The US decided not to help with reconstruction of the country, instead handing the interests of the country over to US allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
After the fall of the communist regime in 1992, outside forces saw instability as an opportunity to press their own political agendas. Pakistan quickly forged relations with warlords. Saudi Arabia supported the Wahhabite Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and his Ittihad-i Islami faction. Conflict between the two militias soon escalated into a full-scale war. Due to the sudden initiation of the war, working government departments, police units or a system of justice and accountability for the newly-created Islamic State of Afghanistan did not have time to form. Horrific crimes were committed by criminals and individuals inside different factions. Rare ceasefires, commonly collapsed within days. The most often-repeated story and the Taliban’s own story of how Mullah Omar first mobilized his followers is that in the spring of 1994, neighbors in Singesar told him that the local governor had abducted two teenage girls, shaved their heads, and taken them to a camp where they were raped. 30 Taliban (with only 16 rifles) freed the girls, and hanged the governor from the barrel of a tank.’ The Taliban’s first victory came in 1995. In the beginning the Taliban numbered in the hundreds, were badly equipped and low on munitions. Within months however 15,000 students arrived from the madrassas in Pakistan. The Taliban’s first major military activity was in 1994, when they marched northward from Maiwand and captured Kandahar City and the surrounding provinces, losing only a few dozen men. When they took control of Kandahar in 1994, they forced the surrender of dozens of local Pashtun leaders who had presided over a situation of complete lawlessness and atrocities.
A few years later I asked a kindly looking Afghan New York Taxi driver, (had a photo of his three young children pinned above his rear view mirror), what he and his Afghan friends thought about the Taliban government. “Taliban is saving our country, making the streets and homes safe again. Taliban is our only hope for peace.” The Taliban is credited with having protected women as well as enforcing strict covering clothing and now blowing up schools built with US funds to teach girls. US media reports crimes against women as all being committed by the Taliban and one good reason why Americans are fighting the Taliban. The Taliban all but eliminated poppy growing which since US occupation is flowering and producing opium more than ever. It seems the Taliban still rules over more land area than the government elected under the US occupation does, a government that Western media denounces continually as corrupt. President, Karzai is forced to continually plead for the US to stop collaterally bombing civilians.
Whatever the truth about the nature of the Taliban, everyone seems to agree that Afghans, by whatever name, will never stop fighting occupying foreign armies, and expecting to train Afghans to shoot their own countrymen is foolish. Recently, Afghan US trained soldiers are killing more US military than are the Taliban.
Dear President Jimmy, please demand a shred of mercy for the Afghan population. Not one single Afghan has ever attacked anywhere outside his country in our time. America has enemies in many other countries, yet the U.S., NATO, Russia, Japan, China, and other countries that have 90% of the world’s military power are participating in, or supporting, the violent occupation of one of the poorest nations in the world.
Appreciative of your work for peace in Palestine and for Alaska’s conservation,
jay janson at your service
August 31, 2012