அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு

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அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு.

'' நீதி, மதம், அரசியல், சமுதாயம் சம்பந்தமான எல்லாவித சொல்லடுக்குகளுக்கும் பிரகடனங்களுக்கும் வாக்குறுதிகளுக்கும் பின்னே ஏதாவதொரு வர்க்கத்தின் நலன்கள் ஒழிந்து நிற்பதைக் கண்டுகொள்ள மக்கள் தெரிந்துகொள்ளாத வரையில் அரசியலில் அவர்கள் முட்டாள்தனமான ஏமாளிகளாகவும் தம்மைத் தாமே ஏமாற்றிக்கொள்வோராகவும் இருந்தனர், எப்போதும் இருப்பார்கள். பழைய ஏற்பாடு ஒவ்வொன்றும் எவ்வளவுதான் காட்டு மிராண்டித் தனமாகவும் அழுகிப் போனதாகவும் தோன்றிய போதிலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு ஆளும்வர்க்கத்தின் சக்தியைக் கொண்டு அது நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. சீர்திருத்தங்கள், அபிவிருத்திகள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆதரவாளர்கள் இதை உணராத வரையில் பழைய அமைப்பு முறையின் பாதுகாவலர்கள் அவர்களை என்றென்றும் முட்டாளாக்கிக் கொண்டே இருப்பார்கள். இந்த வர்க்கங்களின் எதிர்ப்பைத் தகர்த்து ஒழிப்பதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வழிதான் உண்டு. அது என்ன?

பழைமையைத் துடைத்தெறியவும் புதுமையைச் சிருக்ஷ்டிக்கவும் திறன் பெற்றவையும், சமுதாயத்தில் தாங்கள் வகிக்கும் ஸ்தானத்தின் காரணமாக அப்படிச் சிருக்ஷ்டித்துக் தீரவேண்டிய நிர்ப்பந்தத்திலிருக்கிறவையுமான சக்திகளை, நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள இதே சமுதாயத்துக்குள்ளேயே நாம் கண்டுபிடித்து, அந்தச் சக்திகளுக்கு ஞானமூட்டிப் போராட்டத்துக்கு ஸ்தாபன ரீதியாகத் திரட்ட வேண்டும். இது ஒன்றேதான் வழி. ''

மாமேதை தோழர் லெனின்
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Monday, 10 October 2016

15 Years Into Afghan War



ASIA PACIFIC

15 Years Into Afghan War, Americans Would Rather Not Talk About It
The Interpreter
By MAX FISHER SEPT. 20, 2016

American soldiers during Afghan National Army training at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in March. This year’s presidential campaign has hardly touched the war in Afghanistan. Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

The United States will soon mark 15 full years of war in Afghanistan, but you wouldn’t know it from the political discourse.

Democrats and Republicans seem to have something of a rare, if unspoken, truce on the subject. Even amid deepening partisan polarization, with the most frivolous issues seized for political gain, no one seems eager to discuss a war that is still costing American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

This year’s presidential campaign, in which mass deportations and the NATO alliance are on the table, has hardly touched it. When Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump squared off at a recent televised forum on national security issues, they were surrounded by an audience of veterans, many of whom had fought in Afghanistan, but the war barely came up.

And though the election has grown most heated over terrorism and immigration, the candidates showed rare restraint on Monday, when the police arrested an Afghan-born American citizen, Ahmad Khan Rahami, on suspicion of planting bombs in Manhattan and New Jersey.

Mr. Trump’s response was typically harsh and Mrs. Clinton’s typically detailed, but neither had much to say about Afghanistan. That is a conspicuous and newfound prudence for

both candidates, who have been eager to discuss Syria and Iraq immediately after terrorist attacks linked to those countries.

Whether or not investigators find connections between these bombings and American action in Afghanistan, it is increasingly apparent that America’s public and policy makers alike would rather not address their faraway, largely failed war.

Neither party has an incentive to call attention to this bipartisan failure. Neither has a better policy to offer. And neither sees any political gain in raising it. Voters, entering their fourth consecutive presidential election with the United States at war, seem happy to pretend that the Afghan war, which has killed more than 2,300 American service members, doesn’t exist.

The result is an awkward national silence whenever Afghanistan’s chaos inevitably imposes itself on our attention, like a family pretending not to hear the troubled relative pound the Thanksgiving table.

It is not hard to see why Americans shun the topic. They have experienced the war as a long series of bitter failures and of noble missions that turned out not to be. 

They have disengaged out of moral self-preservation as much as exhaustion.

For decades, leaders portrayed Afghanistan as a beautiful but lawless land to which the United States would bring order and American values, somewhat similar to the old Western frontier. Their adventure began in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded and the United States armed Afghan rebels. President Ronald Reagan called this “a compelling moral responsibility of all free people” and a battle for “the human spirit.” Rebel leaders were romanticized and taken on tours of American churches, according to “The Looming Tower,” a book by the journalist Lawrence Wright.

Those rebels turned against one another in a long civil war that gave rise to the Taliban. Americans were then sold on invading Afghanistan in 2001, to bring the Sept. 11 attackers and their accomplices to justice. The Taliban government quickly fell, raising a question that became obvious only after it was raised: Now what? What should take the Taliban’s place, and how to make it stick despite the group’s continued support?

Iraq quickly distracted attention and resources from the Afghanistan question until 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president while promising to end the former and win the latter. Afghanistan became the good war. Americans were sold on promoting democracy and, later, on saving the women — an ambition captured by a 2010 Time magazine cover showing an Afghan woman who had been mutilated by Taliban officers.

But practice did not match the ideals. Seeking allies where it could, the United States often directly empowered warlords whose corruption, drug trafficking and violence seemed little better than the Taliban’s. Drones proliferated overhead and airstrikes killed civilians on the ground, provoking anguished debate at home. Pakistan, at once Washington’s closest and least reliable ally in the war, played both sides.

Americans were left feeling they had compromised their morality, and to little gain. As the 9/11 attacks receded more than a decade into the past, it became harder to argue for the war’s necessity. American gains against Al Qaeda only drew more attention to the loftier goals that never seemed to advance.

The operation so completely failed to uproot the Taliban or build a functioning government that American officials became convinced that withdrawal would lead to total collapse — and that collapse would be unacceptably costly. With even the most meager goals unmet, the Obama administration settled on something even less ambitious.

Douglas Ollivant, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, put it bluntly when he told The New York Times last year that Americans had quietly decided on spending “somewhere between $10 and $20 billion per year in perpetuity for the privilege of Afghanistan not totally collapsing.”

That is not an inspiring mission. But voters, tired of inspiring Afghanistan missions, have stopped asking why we’re still fighting. So political leaders have not bothered to contort themselves into providing an explanation. Rather, in regular-as-clockwork annual speeches, Mr. Obama has simply delayed or slowed troop withdrawals.

Normally, an opposition party might profit from Mr. Obama’s broken promises and policy disappointments. But in 2012, neither he nor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, showed much desire to debate Afghanistan. Both candidates offered policies that were functionally the same: withdrawal.

Neither wanted to promise a solution, knowing he would have to deliver. Neither offered a way to end the chaos before departing, or to cope with its consequences once American troops had left.

Four years later, the country is barely standing, the Taliban is resurgent and refugee outflows are high. The United States has assumed an unspoken role as indefinite occupier, with just enough troops to stave off Afghanistan’s implosion but not enough to make that implosion any less inevitable. The question of whether the United States should play this role has not really come up in the presidential primaries or the general campaign, partly because so few Americans want to even acknowledge it is happening.

There is no known link yet between Afghanistan’s deterioration and the attacks in which Mr. Rahami is charged. Even if one emerges, it will have little bearing on the roughly 100,000 Afghans in the United States, many of whom are refugees from this long war and pose no unusual threat; attacks by Afghans appear no more common than those from any other group.

If anything, the significance is for the thousands of innocent Afghans still fleeing the country, often on dangerous, desperate journeys to Europe.

But even the search for links between Mr. Rahami and his birth country has reminded Americans of their unacknowledged 51st state, where Washington has ruled — indirectly, and to little positive effect — for longer than most hereditary monarchs.

Follow Max Fisher on Twitter @Max_Fisher.

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