Afghanistan and Pakistan Myths vs. Facts

 In Afghanistan, Middle East, military, Peace, War

1. MYTH: Expanded US military activity furthers national security and upholds our national values.

FACT:  Widening the war will be counterproductive both to our national security objectives and to our national values. As is already evident, it will de-stabilize the region, including Pakistan. Americans will also be increasingly causing the deaths of many women, children, elderly and other innocent civilians and disrupting the efforts of thousands of Afghan villagers to flee their villages in order to escape the spreading violence.

2. MYTH: Winning the war in Afghanistan requires a military victory for US forces.

FACT: Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of State Clinton, National Security Advisor Jones, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mullen, and even President Obama, himself, each have acknowledged that the internal conflict in Afghanistan cannot finally be won by military means. They have publicly agreed that it will have to be won, if it can, by dramatic improvements in the economy, the political system, government services, and the courts.

3. MYTH:   The additional US troops will primarily be training the Pakistani Army and police, and are not being sent for combat operations.

FACT: Thousands of additional troops are being sent to Afghanistan, largely from the 82 Airborne Division, the premier regular combat unit of the Army. Such soldiers are not being sent as “trainers,” to lecture in classrooms. Instead, they will accompany Afghan soldiers on patrols and attempted ambushes to monitor and instruct their Afghan counterparts They will inevitably engage in combat alongside their “students” and suffer casualties — just as GI’s did while on “training missions” in Iraq and Vietnam. More Americans will die and, at the same time, their fighting role will alienate the Afghan people.

4. MYTH: The U.S. military will help defeat the Taliban and prevent them from providing a refuge and base to Al Qaeda.

FACT: US military activity in Afghanistan strengthens the Taliban. It inflames Afghans’ hostility to the U.S. and wins new supporters for the Taliban. Even now, Coalition forces are having difficulty distinguishing Afghan Taliban forces, from tribal militants against the national government and ordinary Afghans. That problem will only worsen as our military involvement expands.

5. MYTH: The U.S. military in Afghanistan is not targeting civilians. Any civilian deaths are purely accidental.

FACT:  The killing of Afghan civilians is the inevitable and foreseeable result of American missile attacks, bombing, and night ground patrols. This euphemistically termed “collateral damage” not only take civilian lives, but inevitably turns the population against us.

6. MYTH: The Administration strategy is that US military commitment will be limited in size and duration.

FACT: As US soldiers suffer more casualties, there will be growing political pressure to avoid an “American defeat” by increasing our commitment. Now is the time to reverse direction in Afghanistan, before we become mired in another protracted guerilla war like Vietnam

7. MYTH: Defeating the Afghan Taliban will help stabilize the situation in Pakistan.

FACT: Afghan Taliban are not a significant factor in violent or political activity against the Pakistan Government. Indigenous radicals, including Pakistan Taliban, as well as deep discontent from a much broader spectrum of citizens, pose the threat to stability in Pakistan. As shown in a recent poll, a large majority of Pakistanis were angered by the US activity in the region and our perceived effort to control it. That rebounds against our efforts to help stabilize Pakistan, which is seen as our close ally.

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Showing 15 comments
  • Carol

    It is ashame that you people dont support the soldiers/warriors fighting for your freedom in the war. You all are walking around doing whatever it is you do in America. While our marine’s and other militray forces are going with out showers for weeks and having to use baby wipes while at war. They need good equipment to use and they dont have the equipment that they need. They need vehichles that can save them while driving over land mines and they need guns that can work good because sand gets in there guns and jams up. It is so sad that you dont support the military and that you can bitch and talk about the war while you are free. The men and woman over there are doing there best and you want to say no to the things they need and dont want the govenment to give more money so the soldiers can get what they need. You all disgust me. There warriors are willing to fight and die for YOUR FREEDOM and you arent willing to tell the senators and the President of the United States to help these soldiers/warriors. Regards, A Proud Marine Mom, Carol

    • Larry

      Like many,Carol, makes the common mistake that not supporting a war means not supporting the troops. Blinding supporting a wrong or counterproductive war is only putting troops in harms way for no reason.

      Carol, a Marine Mom, should reflect on the words of the most decorated Marine Corp Commadant in US history:

      In August, 1931, the much decorated Commandant of the Marine Corps. General Smedly Butler stunned an American Legion convention in Connecticut with the following:

      “I spent 33 years…being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City (Bank) boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street…In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested…I had…a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions…I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities…The Marines operated on three continents…”

      And while Carol believes she epitomizes patriotism compared to those who oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq she ought to reflect on what it means to be a blind patriot:

      “Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
       Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

      Carol doesn’t know, or does not seem to care to know, how many times in history we have been lied into war.

  • Martha Miller-Hampton

    Did Afghanistan attack the United States? NO.

    Did Iraq attack the United States? NO.

    Why is the United States still in Afghanistan? Is it oil?

    Why is the United States still in Iraq? Is it oil?

    Saudi Arabia’s Osama bin Laden is DEAD, long ago and most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, NOT Afghanistan or Iraq. More people have been killed by the United States that was killed on 9/11 and for what purpose? Vengeance? Vengeance against another nation’s people for what Saudi Arabia did. Afghanistan did nothing to the United States at all, for what reason is the United States trying to stomp out the Taliban? Did the Taliban attack the United States? NO. The United States is spending the country’s money to fight insurgents in both countries, patriotic insurgents that will give up their lives until the last one of them is dead trying to keep the United States from continually occupying their countries. Is taking their oil away from them worth it? Are we as a people that desperate? The United States continued forced occupation of small countries is disgraceful and occupation funding for their policing actions must not continue to be allowed; therefore, ALL Congressmen voting for continued support of the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq should be voted out next year in the 2010 Primaries without fail.

  • Liam O Brien

    What has my safety and freedom got to do with our troops killing Iraqi’s or Afghans. NOTHING . Just like my freedom was not endangered when we attacked Vietnam and killed a million people there. I support our troops by paying large chunks of my money in Federal Taxes every year. Money buys the guns and bullets for our troops that real support. Patriotism does not, its just emotion and the last resort of the scoundrel.
    Its about time we stopped telling others how they should behave and live their lives. If these people want to behead each other thats their business, they have done that for centuries . Lets look into our own backyard where every year we murder 34,000 + Americans in our homes , Cities , parks . etc . Since 9/11 attack we have murdered 272,000 residents of the USA, thats like having a 9/11 attack ever month since that first attack. Lets get our priorities right as a nation and society. Flag waving and beating the drums belongs to a time past.

  • Joseph Gilbert

    The nuclear issue is the big one here. “What if the Taliban gets ahold of Pakistan’s nukes and gives them to al Qaida?!”. That is the one to address if one hopes to challenge the current policy.

  • USMC

    Look people. Im in the military. I am a Marine. When I see websites like these it really pisses me off. You liberals have no idea what you are talking about. “Well Mr. Marine i watched MSNBC and they said this.” or ” I read a book from some guy who knew a guy who went there.” Yeah. Bravo. People these days are such lemmings. Believing the Liberal media without question. It’s really sad. How many of you can say you have looked into the eyes of an insurgent who wants nothing more than to kill you? Thats what i thought. These people are taught two things when they are able to speak. The extremist version of The Kharan and to hate Isreal and the West. The solution to this problem? Remove the radical leaders and set up a new government. Which is what we did. Progress has been made. It has been a slow progress but these things usually take time. The American public with its 2 minute attention span and I want it now attitude cant grasp the concept. The Liberals will be the undoing of this country because they cannot understand the meaning of sacrifice nor can they do what is necessary to protect this country. You cant even call a terrorist a terrorist anymore! Oh and we cant torture terrorists or excuse me “enemy combatants” even if it means saving American lives because lets face it….. the terrorists “have feelings too”. Dont you realize they would slit your throat if they even had the slightest chance? Do you not realize that to them our rules are nothing but a weakness. Thats right they see our Geneva Conventions rules as nothing short of stupidity and weakness. Do you people even know the history of Afghanistan? It was born in violence since Alexander the Great was conquering Asia. The Afghans only know war and violence. But I’m sure you knew that. You know why is it you never see anything positive on the news? Why is it you never see schools being open up or children smiling and playing with our troops? When they do show anything remotely positive its only for five seconds and back to the big bad evil G.I. who slaughters “innocent civilians”. When those soldiers took photos and were “torturing” the iraqi prisoners it was all over the television every 5 minutes. Not the school openings or the battles won, nor the other improvements. Just the negative stuff. Why? The liberal media. Use your heads. Think. Dont be so quick to denounce something you have little understanding about. To the hardcore liberals out there….. You are cowards and hipocrits. Your dangerous thinking and appeasing of rogue nations will be the downfall of this nation. Remember a man named Hitler? What happened to him? Oh he was appeased and got away with everything until it was too late and he invaded Poland. Hitler prior to the attack swore that he never would attack another country and he was a peacful man. But the idiots believed and took no action to stop him. Had hitler been arrested or killed prior to his illegal military buildup….. no world war 2. But because the sheep of the nations in europe allowed this wolf power…. you know the rest. So liberals shut the hell up you cowards and treasonous pigs. The truth is people like you wouldnt lift a finger to help this country let alone fight for it.

  • marymack

    War is big business. When will you people realize that EVERY war is pre-planned, with the RICH BANKERS funding both sides, making lots of money while ridding the planet of more people. The Defense Industry, the Surveillance Industry, you name it, they make TONS of money on WAR. FYI, Al Quida was CREATED by the CIA. Extremist Muslims are paid by YOUR CIA. Drugs are brought into this country by YOUR CIA. YOUR CIA is the WAR, and it has NOTHING TO DO WITH MY FREEDOM that I FIGHT FOR EVERYDAY. I have to fight in my own space for the very air i breathe cause YOU polluted it. The largest polluter in the WORLD is YOUR MILITARY.

    Hey Mr Marine(USMC), I repeat, you are not making me one bit safer by killing other people. And the only thing that will help other third world countries is TALK AND MONEY. Your very presence in their country is cause for anger.

    I’d be angry if a soldier from another country came to my door to break it down. Oh, nevermind, i have those people here already with the DEA and the HIDTA and other jack booted thugs looking for a PLANT. hahahaha lolololol Insanity Do you know, Mr Marine how many INNOCENT Americans have been killed in the War on Some Drugs? You and your USMC friends are “TRAINED TO KILL” That’s all you know. I sure hope you have no children.

    WAKE UP YOU STUPID PEOPLE Did you brush your teeth with Fluoride this morning? Did you feed high fructose corn syrup full of MERCURY to your children this morning? Please, for the sake of the rest of us, PULL YOUR HEAD OUT

  • Arvind Amin

    Dear Kevin:

    After end of world war two, both Ruse-wealth made a biggest blunder in creating Pakistan with Churchill. There are more Indian Muslims in India then in Pakistan. For 3000 years lived peacefully with its neighbors. The colonization by British killed India’s Super power. India was exploited in every way possible and used 5 million Indian troops to win the two world wars. The West never recognized India’s effort to win both wars. Their efforts are not recognized by both US and UK.

    Now Pakistan acts as a rough nation with terrorism on India. Pakistan supported by Western powers attack India seven times, US supplied money and armaments to destroy India from the map of this world. Each time Pakistan was defeated with World War two weapons, while UD supplied all modern weapons and Jet fighters. The second mistake by the West was to supply nukes and nuke weaponry. Now US are worried with nuclear power Pakistan’s instability. India of today is economically and militarily a powerful force. My question to America is how could you be friends and partners with a rough nation of Pakistan that trained the 9/11 terrorists to attack America to deliver colossal damage tour nation USA.?

    Former President realized the value of Indian Friendship. But Obama has not honered the US-India treaty.

    Arvind Amin.

  • Arvind Amin


    Arvind Amin

  • Faryal shah

    Mr arvind is right that muslims and hindus lived happily for centuries but when these britishers came , they changed the whole scenario. they looted the wealth and used against us. they made muslims and hindus enemies of eachother, but our founder quaid e azam never wanted a separate country but when hindus came to power they started assaulting and killing muslims then the idea of separate muslim state came into existance. then My pakistan got independent. India and Usa r the main reason who r destabilising pakistan and afghanistan. whatever happens in india they blame pakistan, i think they can’t live with or they can’t live without us. US invasion in afghanistan is only for oil. no taliban is capable of reaching to our nuclear assets. these r not fruits or vegetables … Pakistan is the only muslim nuclear state in the world, it can’t be tolerated by the enemies of Pakistan. I am proud to be a Pakistani. we dont care what india is doing to malign us we true pakistanis know what we are. I have noticed so many statements made against pakistan and 99% of them r false. Last but not the least pakistan never trained 9/11 terrorists. its a propaganda against us by indians and Usa

  • Henry Khudyakov 1201.360.08.05(Tel).72Montgomery str.Jersey City,N.J.07302.ap-nt307

    Dear Earthlings!Empires were brought to life at the cost of the soldier pay! And brought down by inactive corruptionI do enjoy the caustic comments on the blog, but they help little in one’s private business toil..(especially on an artist’s below poverty line budget(believe me:)In whose portfolio meantime decompose unacclaimed: The huge bust-1500mls-on the photo overlooked by NASA:and also:drastically new type of bikini which makes the flasher feel the breasts beautifying enhancement was worth IT!(…On One of the 1000supon 1000s Martian’s photos!(sorry for the omission!)These and more(including theUSA&NewYorkiana Arts Surprises(idological in naturetoo)can be viewed-alas-on my Wind.Vista Media Center’s LIBRARIES&Photo Galleries&’s website..) Khudyakov.72MongomeryStr.,#307.Jersey City,N.J.07302.t.1(201)3600805-problems communicating over th phone at times…)(“ideological”,correction#2).

  • iicccc


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  • […] national anti-war group Peace Action has released a new briefing paper titled “Afghanistan and Pakistan: Myths and Facts” that looks at some of the commonly cited arguments in support of the Afghanistan […]

  • […] national anti-war group Peace Action has released a new briefing paper titled “Afghanistan and Pakistan: Myths and Facts” that looks at some of the commonly cited arguments in support of the Afghanistan […]

  • […] national anti-war group Peace Action has released a new briefing paper titled “Afghanistan and Pakistan: Myths and Facts” that looks at some of the commonly cited arguments in support of the Afghanistan […]

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