VIDEO: The U.S. War in Afghanistan Is Now 16 Years Old. Trump Has No Plans to End It.

On October 7, 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The war is now 16 years old — and that’s not even counting the decade of U.S. intervention in the country during the Cold War.

Donald Trump once advocated the “speedy withdrawal” of U.S. troops from that country. As president, however, he’s gone in the opposite direction, demanding the U.S. must now “fight to win.” 

As Phyllis Bennis, director of the IPS New Internationalism project, explains in this short video, Trump’s plans to extend the war he once supported ending are even more worrisome for their lack of transparency. He’s not said how many new troops he’ll send or how long they’ll be deployed. Worse still, civilian casualties in multiple U.S. wars have been on the rise since he took office — by 67 percent in just six months.

It’s clear by now that the solution to terrorism won’t come from using military power, Bennis explains. That can only be achieved by diplomacy. “It’s harder, it takes longer, it’s not as sexy, it’s not sexy on CNN, it’s not any of those things,” she concludes. “But it’s the only thing that will work.” 

Video by Victoria Borneman and Peter Certo.

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Trump’s Afghanistan Speech Offers No End in Sight for the War

“Trump announcing that the U.S. is not going to reveal troop numbers or withdrawal dates is not a strategy to end the war. It is a strategy for justifying continuous, permanent war,” IPS Middle East foreign policy expert Phyllis Bennis told The Real News Network following Trump’s speech on his strategy for the war in Afghanistan.

“We have been at war in Afghanistan now for 16 years. Afghan civilians are dying in higher numbers every single year in that war since the United Nations began keeping track,” Bennis said.

Meanwhile, Trump has turned over authority not to political strategists in and around the White House or the National Security Council, but directly to the generals on the ground. He maintained that conditions on the ground will guide the U.S. moving forward, but what that really alludes to is a self-perpetuating war, Bennis argued.

“Conditions on the ground are going to continue to be terrible as long as there’s military fighting going on,” Bennis said.

Bennis said there was no commitment to diplomacy in Trump’s speech.

“Every analyst looking at this war has acknowledged that there is no military solution and that we will need a political solution that’s going to involve parts or all of the Taliban, as well as the U.S. installed, U.S. armed, and U.S. backed government in Kabul,” Bennis explained. “That’s what’s going to ultimately end this war.”

In his speech Trump also threatened the military aid the U.S. provides to Pakistan and called on India to play a larger role in the economic development of the region.

Afghanistan has long been a venue for this competition between India and Pakistan, Bennis said, “So the idea that Pakistan is going to simply back off and allow India to emerge as the major regional power inside Afghanistan is pretty unlikely.”

Taking audience questions, Bennis spoke to the Trump’s administration’s long standing policies of having corporate interests influencing decision making, in this case the effort to make war more profitable.

Military interests get billions from the Pentagon to provide weapons and other equipment, and in return, those same companies spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress to make sure these wars continue, Bennis explained.

If the Trump administration’s real goal was to figure out a way to end this war, they would have to pull out the military assets. “That’s step one.” Bennis said.

The U.S. must also look at its obligations to this country that it has decimated over decades, Bennis argued.

“We owe an enormous debt to the people of Afghanistan. We don’t owe military occupation. But we owe money, support, and an investment in diplomacy.” Bennis said.

As for the anti-war movement at home, Bennis said it must be linked to racism and Islamophobia.

“Islamophobia at home is necessary to build support against Muslim-majority countries. These wars require a way of demonizing them,” Bennis explained. Meanwhile, “wars against Black communities in this country are being militarized because tanks are being brought home from Afghanistan,” she continued.

“We can’t separate out opposing war and opposing racism,” Bennis said. “We have to build movements that cross those silos.”

The full interview originally appeared on The Real News Network.

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More Troops in Afghanistan is a Huge Mistake

troops-afghanistan-escalation-occupation

(Photo: Flickr / David Axe)

“It was a huge mistake when President Obama made the decision back in 2009 to escalate in Afghanistan,” bringing the total up to 100,000 U.S. troops, Phyllis Bennis told Press TV, and it’s a huge mistake now.

In 15 years of occupation, Bennis said, the region has not been stabilized, there has been no freedom brought to the people of Afghanistan, and the Taliban controls more territory than at any point since the U.S. invasion that overthrew them in 2001.

We have not even achieved the goal of getting children, especially girls, to school, Bennis said. In fact, 42 percent of Afghan children either have never been to school or dropped out before they reached the fifth grade.

As long as there are troops in the region, Bennis said, “there is going to be a continuing war against that occupation and against the Afghan government, which is widely seen as corrupt and encouraging this U.S. presence.”

Furthermore, Bennis said the Afghan president does not hold himself accountable to the people, most of whom live outside of the city in tiny villages scattered over a huge territory.

No matter who is in the White House come November, Bennis said, unfortunately it is likely that this ineffective policy in Afghanistan will continue.

“What we know from  Secretary Clinton is that she has generally supported the escalation of U.S. involvement in all the wars across the Middle East and Central Asia,” Bennis said. “There is no reason to think that she will have changed her position.

As for Donald Trump, she said, it is pretty clear that his Islamophobia and antagonism toward Muslims would play out and he would be willing to send massive numbers of troops, despite his occasional rhetoric on isolationism.

The culmination of militarism and hate from Trump, Bennis said “would indicate a very dangerous possibility of escalation in Afghanistan.”

Watch the full interview on Press TV’s website.

The post More Troops in Afghanistan is a Huge Mistake appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Army vets’ Afghanistan saffron business grows – Sharonherald


Sharonherald
Army vets' Afghanistan saffron business grows
Sharonherald
Saffron is very expensive, in large part because of the painstaking labor involved in harvesting the threads by hand. Rumi Spice charges about $ 109 for an ounce of saffron, Jung said. But a little bit of the product goes a long way in cooking, she said

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Army vets’ Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago’s South Side – Minneapolis Star Tribune


Minneapolis Star Tribune
Army vets' Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago's South Side
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Saffron is very expensive, in large part because of the painstaking labor involved in harvesting the threads by hand. At Naha, a restaurant in Chicago, Chef Carrie Nahabedian uses Rumi Spice saffron in her lacquered aged moulard duck breast, a dish

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHUvv_cM02o3PP4prQ2cDfvfWjXAw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=4xFTV-CYF6-5wAGy-Ki4Aw&url=http://www.startribune.com/army-vets-afghanistan-saffron-business-grows-on-chicago-s-south-side/380335961/

Army vets’ Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago’s South Side – Minneapolis Star Tribune


Minneapolis Star Tribune
Army vets' Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago's South Side
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Saffron is very expensive, in large part because of the painstaking labor involved in harvesting the threads by hand. At Naha, a restaurant in Chicago, Chef Carrie Nahabedian uses Rumi Spice saffron in her lacquered aged moulard duck breast, a dish

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHUvv_cM02o3PP4prQ2cDfvfWjXAw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=5dpJV9rYO-jAwQGyjI2YDw&url=http://www.startribune.com/army-vets-afghanistan-saffron-business-grows-on-chicago-s-south-side/380335961/

Army vets? Afghanistan saffron business cultivates on Chicago?s South Side – Bend Bulletin


Bend Bulletin
Army vets? Afghanistan saffron business cultivates on Chicago?s South Side
Bend Bulletin
CHICAGO — A saffron dream that first took root in Afghanistan is now growing on Chicago's South Side, where two Army veterans are carrying out what they consider to be “unfinished business.” In 2011, Emily Miller … Both women were accepted into the

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHJZlEePtkZjpW89HDNv_HDVkRLOg&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=XaFAV7DnAojbwQGC15DIDg&url=http://www.bendbulletin.com/business/4319103-151/army-vets-afghanistan-saffron-business-cultivates-on-chicagos

Army vets’ Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago’s South Side – Fredericksburg.com


Fredericksburg.com
Army vets' Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago's South Side
Fredericksburg.com
Saffron is very expensive, in large part because of the painstaking labor involved in harvesting the threads by hand. Rumi Spice charges about $ 109 for an ounce of saffron, Jung said. But a little bit of the product goes a long way in cooking, she said

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEMWsXixXDskEKqYm5sAVUqqIA5ug&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=Hmk3V9inBejSwQGSmbHgAg&url=http://www.fredericksburg.com/business/state_nation/army-vets-afghanistan-saffron-business-grows-on-chicago-s-south/article_1c1c9790-a878-5bd6-a407-6a349f08e04e.html

Army vets’ Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago’s South Side – Chicago Tribune


Chicago Tribune
Army vets' Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago's South Side
Chicago Tribune
A saffron dream that first took root in Afghanistan is now growing on Chicago's South Side, where two Army veterans are carrying out what they consider to be "unfinished business." In 2011, Emily Miller performed night raids in Afghanistan as part of a

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEOxh-ai3S96jXEUVRp5rkgYxwyKw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=kDAuV7D-JMKvhQHGkavAAw&url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-afghanistan-saffron-rumi-spice-0426-biz-20160425-story.html

Army vets’ Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago’s South Side – Chicago Tribune


Chicago Tribune
Army vets' Afghanistan saffron business grows on Chicago's South Side
Chicago Tribune
A saffron dream that first took root in Afghanistan is now growing on Chicago's South Side, where two Army veterans are carrying out what they consider to be "unfinished business." In 2011, Emily Miller performed night raids in Afghanistan as part of a

|||||||http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEOxh-ai3S96jXEUVRp5rkgYxwyKw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=bvgkV_jLLYmLhAGUzam4CA&url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-afghanistan-saffron-rumi-spice-0426-biz-20160425-story.html