US Should Apologize Not Only for Kunduz But for Her Faulty Foreign Policies (Part II)
Next in line was the Soviet–Afghan War (1979 – 1989) which lasted over nine years. Stretching from December 1979 to February 1989 the war was fought by the Insurgent groups “the Mujahideen”, who received aid from several Western and Muslim countries, against the Soviet Army and allied Afghan forces. It is estimated that about 850,000–1.5 million civilians were killed in this confrontation while millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran (That’s what the Wikipedia says). Not to mention this was the start of foundation of “Talibans”. Who knew at that time these refugees will become an existential threat one day. This was the start of upcoming disaster for the mankind.
Gulf War in the year 1990-1991 was another feather in the cap of the United States of America. It was a war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. The war has also earned the nickname “Video Game War” after the daily broadcast of images from cameras on board US bombers during operation. This ridiculing of grave incident like war was another fault by the US.
The Iraqi no-fly zones were a set of two separate no-fly zones proclaimed by the US, UK, and France as a part of the aftermath of the Gulf War and the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict. The policy was enforced by US, British, and France collectively until France withdrew in 1998. While the enforcing powers had cited UN’s Security Council Resolution 688 as authorizing the operations, the resolution contained no explicit authorization. The Secretary-General of the UN at the time, Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the no-fly zones “illegal” in a later interview.
The operation continued till June 2002. The US-Britain coalition began to carry out offensive strikes, not only against targets that had fired on them, but upon installations that had demonstrated no hostile intent. The US claimed that these increased attacks were the result of increasing Iraqi provocations, but later, in July 2005, the British Ministry of Defense released figures just opposite of the claim. Their records indicated that the number of provocations had actually dropped dramatically prior to and just after the increase in allied attacks in the first seven months of 2001, apparently there had been 370 provocations on the part of Iraq earlier while only 32 such provocations were recorded in the seven months from October 2001 into May 2002. General Tommy Franks later acknowledged that the dramatic increase in offensive strikes was an attempt to destroy the Iraqi defenses. The US and British operations actually intended to reduce Iraqi ability to counter air strikes prior to their 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Iraq War was an insurgency beginning in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, lasting through almost an entire decade (2003–2011). This insurgency was directly connected to the attack on the world trade center of US on 11 September 2011. One can also say that this was the war against Al Qaeda or the initiation of Global War on Terror (GWOT). The United States led a coalition of other countries in a long but unsuccessful campaign to destroy Al Qaeda and other militant Islamist organizations.
This NATO-led international involvement in the war became a terrible mess getting out of control every passing single day. Intervention in Afghanistan and assisting the fall of Taliban regime preceded the Taliban insurgency there. This Afghan war, form 2001 till now, then lead to the War in North-West of Pakistan. Insurgency in Yemen (1998–2015), Iraq War (2003–2011) followed by Iraqi insurgency (2011–2014) and Ongoing civil war, International campaign against ISIL (2014–present), US-led Coalition airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq, Syria, Egyptian airstrikes in Libya, Libya civil war, West African airstrikes in Nigeria and the list is still not ending.
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is the official name used by the US government to describe the Global War on Terrorism. OEF – Afghanistan, was a joint US-UK and Afghan operation, was separate from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The two operations ran in parallel. OEF comprises several subordinate operations: OEF – Philippines (OEF-P, formerly Operation Freedom Eagle), OEF – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA), OEF – Pankisi Gorge, OEF – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS), OEF – Caribbean and Central America (OEF-CCA) and OEF – Kyrgyzstan.
Alas! So many of “Operations Enduring Freedom” but all ensuing to a zero. Why?? What’s the reason??
In his masterpiece, On War, Carl von Clausewitz observed that the “first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish … the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its true nature. This is the first of all strategic questions and the most comprehensive.” Now relating this to what Daniel L. Byman said in his analysis, Iraq and the Global War on Terrorism”. He writes, “The invasion of Iraq breathed new life into the organization (Al Qaeda). On an operational level, the US diverted troops to Iraq rather than consolidate its victory in Afghanistan and increase its chances of hunting down Bin Ladin. Today, Al Qaeda is reconstituting itself in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Politically, Iraq vindicated bin Ladin’s argument that the primary enemy of the Muslim world was not the local Muslim autocrats, but the “faraway enemy,” the United States.”
It was not supposed to be this way. Instead, the tables have turned. Today, Iraq and Afghanistan are torn by crime, plagued by a vicious insurgency, and devoid of competent governments and basic services. Bravo to the Armed Forces and Government of Pakistan who somehow managed to save their country from such fate by keeping US and its allies out of the borders of Pakistan – placing them at their rightful position where they should have been.
Strife in war torn countries like Afghanistan and Iraq continues without end in sight, while the human and financial costs to the United States and its allies mount. A very wrong concept prevails that originally the concept of America at war with terrorism begun on 11 September 2001. No – it’s not correct. The United States of America has been in the state of war even before her independence. The war history of America indicates that the country is continuously at war at the cost of taxes paid by her citizens. This huge tax amount is the right of people of America. This amount, if well spent on the welfare could have made thousands and thousands of American people prosper, well fed, well educated, and healthier and could get them a better life.
On 20 September 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of congress, Bush stated that, “(o)ur ‘war on terror’ begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated….” Or probably what he actually meant was that it will not end till the end of this world.