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Counting on the Count

By Owen Paine on Thursday May 25, 2006 02:23 PM

Tom Lantos, freedom's friend, is at it again -- take a look at this from the Globe's op-ed page, which is just the place for such booby-prize, not-fit-for-front-line efforts at opinion shaping.

What's he up to, the Bay Area Impaler, with this crafty detailed plea for our noble nation-building effort in Afgooglestan? "Yes we can," he says, we can make a new society, one of peace and contentment. But distibuting ballot boxes ain't enough -- we need to build a broad intercommunal inter-ethnic tolerance, where now there is nothing but mutual suspicion and blood in the eye.

How? Through civilized boots on the ground -- specifically, American boots, and lots of 'em. No other boots will do, especially Euroboots.

Do I hear scepticism? Do I hear triage tolling? Do I hear "let's move on, this is a basket case"?

Shame on you -- that's not how Rome was built.

Comments (4)


My guess is Lantos is just fronting for somebody who has or wants a big juicy reconstruction contract in the 'Stan. The column is all about spending money.

Tim D:

That's probably the case MJS. Speaking of contractors in Afghanistan, for anybody who has not seen it, CorpWatch just issued a report entitled "Afghanistan, Inc.: A CorpWatch Investigative Report". Needless to say, Halliburton et al are engaging in their tried-and-true tactics of bilking American taxpayers for phantom services in the newest enclaves of the American empire.

Democrats have gotten a lot of political mileage out of the no-bid contract scandals of the Bush administration, but would it really be any better under the Democrats? Whether Democrat or Republican, both believe that the path towards development is paved with foreign direct investments. Reconstruction invariably would be farmed out to American firms who would either employ Americans or import cheap foreign workers. The thought of having the Afghan government create a Works Progress department, which would employ local Afghans to facilitate reconstruction is not even considered an option.

And it is here my friends that we must make a comparison of the current American occupation with the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The Soviets were not only working with the PDPA to reconstruct the country, but were bringing Afghanis to the Soviet Union to study engineering and medicine and sending them back to Afghanistan to contribute to the uplift of terribly impoverished society there. The Soviets also provided funds to the PDPA to create textbooks in the various local languages - Dari/Pashtu/Farsi, etc. Jonathan Steele of the Guardian UK wrote a great commentary piece about this not long after the invasion of Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the PDPA had taken concrete steps to educate and grant rights to women there. The U.S. was well aware of this at the time, as Bill Blum pointed out in one of his Anti-Empire Reports, citing an U.S. Army training manual from Afghanistan.

Has the plight of Afghan women improved much under the U.S.? Not really, says Sonali Kolhatkar. To be honest it's not likely either, given the radicalization of the country under the Taliban...

I just came across your blog and wanted to say I love the "stop me" name.


tim d:

you are too advanced
for my humble
mass line...
perhaps we all are

perhaps this broad
stop me format
has attracted only
wild eyed rejectionists
to begin with

its been known to happen..once or twice

even that wonderful snarkle head
back awhile ago
even the likes of he haw he
seem to have left us
to our triumphant nyet nyet nyeting

are we but
prattling among ourselves

now we're retelling
prog tales and true
of the legendary
soviet "occupation"

shame on uncle indeed that his stoogery
loooks backward compared to that flower
the final dark crop
of sovietism

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