Sunday, May 1, 2011

A blast from the past

Way, way back when, in the year 2001, which is ancient history to anyone indocrin-cated in a federal brainwashing facility for youth, when Bush initiated the first of America's two — no, three (or do Pakistan and Yemen also count?) — current wars, he demanded that the Taliban "hand over" (assuming they were capable of doing so) Osama Bin Laden. Exactly one week after U.S. warplanes started killing Afghanis, on Oct. 14, 2001, the Guardian carried this juicy tidbit:
President George Bush rejected as "non-negotiable" an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.
Returning to the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the president said the bombing would not stop, unless the ruling Taliban "turn [bin Laden] over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostages they hold over." He added, "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty". In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir - the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime - told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: "we would be ready to hand him over to a third country".
Remember how this was plastered all over CNN, MSNBC and Fox and all the other mainstream American news channels? Or, wait, no it wasn't and it's certainly guaranteed Prawn Hannity and Rush Limburger never mentioned it to their attentive audiences. To be honest, even I'll admit ignorance of this story till just now, though I've closely followed news relating to American foreign policy for years. Not that there's anything newsworthy about Bush turning down a chance to get his hands on Osama, supposedly the very reason for attacking Afghanistan, and choosing instead to "stay the course" for a fucking decade.

"Staying the course" implies some sort of race, but every race must have a goal or finishing point, and since the U.S. could have completed "the [race]course" just days after it began yet refused to do so, that begs the question of just what is the real purpose of said course? After 1,420 American troop fatalities and an unknown (because no Western sources want to track the figure) number of "accidentally" murdered Afghani civilians, that seems like a question deserving an answer.

As for the number of slaughtered Afghani civilians, God only knows what the total is, but in just the few months after the war began, here's an estimate published by UPI:
Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project for Defense Alternatives, which researches security policy and its challenges, estimates anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 Afghan civilian deaths were due to U.S. aerial bombardment between Oct. 7, 2001, and Jan. 10, 2002.
No doubt the children, grandchildren and various other descendants of those thousand-odd Afghanis will toast Bush's good health, fondly pondering his wisdom in killing their ancestors rather than negotiating the apprehension of Osama, all while basking in the warm, fuzzy freedom glow of democracy.