In 2008, current US president Barack Obama campaigned on the promise that he would end the Iraq War, vowing to reallocate resources to the war in Afghanistan, instead. As a peace candidate, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for his rhetoric against Iraq (in spite of the fact that as a senator he voted to fund it), Obama has largely enjoyed the public’s illusion that he is opposed to war. At the end of 2011, Obama was hailed for “ending” the war in Iraq and deemed a hero for keeping his promises. He would campaign on this “accomplishment” in the 2012 election, using that, along with his killing of Osama bin Laden, as shining examples of his expertise in foreign policy. All that was left to do was finish up the war in Afghanistan.
Of course, those who are paying attention were and are well aware that Obama never intended to end the war in Iraq. He attempted to maintain diplomatic immunity for US troops in the region but was firmly told to leave by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. To this day, the unconscionable violence initiated by the US persists in the mess that was left. The country is more unstable than ever and civil strife mars its streets. On the same day that America ethnocentrically mourned the victims of the Boston bombing, 55 Iraqi innocents were obliterated in the violence that has for a decade been a part of their everyday lives. These realities about the Iraq War give reason to be skeptical of Obama’s promises that the war in Afghanistan will be over by 2014. Regardless of how pleasing his rhetoric may be, the cogs of the war machine continue to work in overdrive.
As the deadline to leave Afghanistan draws closer and closer, it grows increasingly apparent that the corruption, carelessness and indifference to the human condition that plagued the war in Iraq is present in Afghanistan, as well. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that in negotiations for withdrawal from the country, the United States military has asked for the right to continue to use nine of their military bases there. These include bases in Kabul, Kandahar, and Baghram, which houses one of the most corrupt military detention centers (Parwan) in the country. The eagerness of the military to maintain power in regions all over the country signals not a lasting peace, but a perpetual military occupation that relies on the puppet government of President Karzai to continue.
President Karzai’s puppetry is obvious in the now old news that the CIA has been giving monthly bags of cash (ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars) to the leader of the country. However, it is confirmed further in that in exchange for the U.S. military’s request for use of the nine air force bases, Karzai wants more aid in the form of security (as well as “economic support”). In exchange for letting the military continue to occupy the country, the prime minister wants … more occupation.
As the government of Afghanistan attempts to exhibit more force over its people, employing the war machine of the U.S. military, Obama’s coffin as a peace spreader receives yet another nail. The tragedy is not in his deceitful tendencies as president; this is nothing new. The tragedy lies in the forceful oppression of innocents for profit and the inevitable perception of the American public that these inhumane practices are coming to an end.