Dé Céadaoin, Feabhra 17, 2010

NATO’s War of Terror Cranks Up a Gear

Twelve civilians were killed on Sunday past as NATO launched its largest military operation of the nine-year-old occupation of Afghanistan.

The civilians, 10 of them from the same family, died when two NATO rockets hit a house in which they were sheltering in the Nad Ali area of Helmand province. They were the first known civilian casualties of the massive offensive aimed at imposing foreign control on an area of Afghanistan that has so far successfully resisted the jackboot of the US-British led occupation.

The head of US and NATO forces in the Asian country, general Stanley McChrystal called the murders “regrettable” and claimed his forces would do all they can to “avoid future incidents”. The cast iron way of avoiding ‘future incidents’ – withdrawing all foreign forces from the country – unfortunately remains out of the question for people like McChrystal and their superiors.

A top pro-US Afghan army commander today claimed that the Nad Ali and Marjah districts were now under NATO control as most guerrilla fighters have left the battlefield. However, booby-traps and mines are thought to have been left to greet the 15,000-strong military contingent, while seven members of the occupation forces have been killed since Operation Moshtarak was launched before dawn on Saturday [February 13].

Arch US war monger Dick Cheney has meanwhile given his whole hearted backing to US president Barak Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan. The former US vice-president in the regime of George W Bush made the comments in an interview on US television yesterday.

“I’m a complete supporter of what they are doing in Afghanistan. I think the president made the right decision to send troops in. I’m not a critic, in terms of how they’re dealing with that situation,” Cheney said.

However, on the issue of torture, Cheney was less supportive of the US leader. Speaking on the same programme, he argued that the “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including water boarding, that he introduced while in power, should be publicly retained for use.

“I think you ought to have all of those capabilities on the table,” Cheney insisted.

“Now, President Obama has taken them off the table. He announced when he came in last year that they would never use anything other than the US Army Manual which doesn’t include those techniques. I think that’s a mistake.”

While Obama’s vice-president Joe Biden hit back at Cheney’s criticisms, many commentators have pointed out that the war of words between the two only helps to obscure the fact the Democrat administration is, in fact, following largely the same policies of the Bush era, including drone attacks in Pakistan, military and political interference in Afghanistan and Iraq and the assassination of targets outside US territory.

“Here, again, Cheney is barking up the wrong tree. He is just trying to create a difference that doesn’t exist for political purposes,” admitted US senator Mike Gravel.

This fact was underlined early today by yet another US drone attack in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan that resulted in the deaths of at least three people.

It remains clear that the US, Britain and their NATO conglomeration will stop at nothing to attain their economic and political ends. Bombs will be dropped, civilians who ‘get in the way’ will be butchered and those who dare to resist will be treated mercilessly. To talk of peace anywhere in this context is naive in the extreme.

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