Taliban now control southern half of Afghanistan

I just don’t get it. Obviously.

You see, I figure that if you deprive people of their livelihoods, you really need to make sure they can feed their children, among other things. Of course Bush administration (and conservative) ideology doesn’t recognize this. So we’ve been merrily destroying poppy fields in Afghanistan.

Of course, these are opium poppies.

“We are seeing a humanitarian disaster,” Emmanuel Reinert, executive director of The Senlis Council told IPS. “There are around Kandahar now camps with people starving, kids dying almost every day, and this is obviously used by the Taliban to regain the confidence of the people, and to regain control of the country.”

The poppy eradication programme has been a disaster, he said. “It is a direct attack on the livelihood of the farmers, so there is a clear connection between the eradication and this humanitarian crisis. All this is being used by the Taliban to say that when we were there we were maybe hard and cruel, but you could feed the family, now look what’s going on. They are more and more providing support, social services to the local population.”

But Bush probably won’t even admit that “[t]he Taliban frontline now cuts halfway through the country, encompassing all of the southern provinces.” He’s too busy fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, where it didn’t exist until he sent in the troops, diverting them from the ongoing battle in Afghanistan. He won’t admit that he and Osama bin Laden have had this wonderful symbiotic relationship which encourages more disgruntled youths to join al Qaeda, and allows the Bush administration to sow fear in support of increased executive power (at the expense of civil liberties). The Taliban sheltered Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda training camps; now we have fanatics running rampant in both Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the ones in Washington, D.C. (and Jerusalem — I’m just guessing what Hezbollah recruiting is like following the botched Israeli invasion of Lebanon).

But, oh yes. The Republicans are pushing a national security agenda through Congress to show how tough they are and how lily-livered the Democrats are. This, in a bid to retain control of the House of Representatives and arrest predicted Democratic gains in the Senate in November’s elections.

“Taliban forces now operate freely within Afghan borders without fear of U.S. or U.N. troops and now control regions previously thought free from the organization’s control,” says a classified Pentagon memo. “Their ability to regroup is directly related to the decision to withdraw forces that were deemed necessary to complete the mission.”

But too many prominent Democrats have supported this absolute foolishness and continue to rationalize their support for it today. They don’t want to appear “soft” on terror. The consequence is that few people will have a viable choice for sanity in November. Just like with Vietnam, in most parts of the country, those who would vote for peace will have no one to vote for. The Democratic Party’s rightward shift means that even if they do make gains, it’ll make little difference, whether we talk about the so-called War on Terror or any of a number of other issues.

So, um, tell me again why I’m supposed to vote? I’m so confused.

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