Perils of Pauline

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Sep 27 07:27:15 MDT 2002

(Most people are aware that Christopher (Colonel Blimp) Hitchens has left
the Nation Magazine in a snit because the magazine's refused to back George
W. Bush's war on terrorism with sufficient enthusiasm. Nobody should get
the wrong impression, however, that the magazine is a consistent beacon of
enlightenment when it comes to questions of Empire. In the very same issue
where Hitchens bids goodbye, you get an atrocious article by Ahmed Rashid
titled "Afghanistan Imperiled". If the title conveys the image comes to
mind of Pauline tied to the railroad tracks while Uncle Sam comes to her
rescue, you would not be mistaken.)


Washington has begun to help build a new national army, but this will take
years to achieve. And this policy is directly undermined by continued US
funding of the warlords. Even though the majority of the 1,500 delegates to
the Loya Jirga harshly criticized the warlords, the Pentagon has renamed
them "regional leaders," giving them a legitimacy that Afghans themselves
are unwilling to bestow.

At the end of August the Pentagon finally appeared to be getting the
message. "I do think increasingly our focus is shifting to training the
Afghan national army, supporting ISAF, supporting reconstruction
efforts--those kinds of things that contribute to long-term stability,"
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told me in an interview at the


Louis Proyect

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