Conn Hallinan | July 30, 2008
Editor: John Feffer
Foreign Policy In Focus
Every war has a story line. World War I was “the war to end all wars.” World War II was “the war to defeat fascism.”
Iraq was sold as a war to halt weapons of mass destruction; then to overthrow Saddam Hussein, then to build democracy. In the end it was a fabrication built on a falsehood and anchored in a fraud.
But Afghanistan is the “good war,” aimed at “those who attacked us,” in the words of columnist Frank Rich. It is “the war of necessity,” asserts the New York Times, to roll back the “power of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.”
Barack Obama is making the distinction between the “bad war” in Iraq and the “good war” in Afghanistan a centerpiece of his run for the presidency. He proposes ending the war in Iraq and redeploying U.S. military forces in order “to finish the job in Afghanistan.”
Virtually no one in the United States or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) calls for negotiating with the Taliban. Even the New York Times editorializes that those who want to talk “have deluded themselves.”
But the Taliban government did not attack the United States. Our old ally, Osama bin Laden, did. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not the same organization (if one can really call al-Qaeda an “organization”), and no one seems to be listening to the Afghans.
We should be.