By Kathy Kelly, Nick Mottern, David Swanson, Brian Terrell, August 27, 2021
On the evening of Thursday, August 26, hours after two suicide bombs were detonated at the gates of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport killing and wounding scores of Afghans trying to flee their country, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to the world from the White House, “outraged as well as heartbroken.” Many of us listening to the president’s speech, made before the victims could be counted and the rubble cleared, did not find comfort or hope in his words. Instead, our heartbreak and outrage were only amplified as Joe Biden seized the tragedy to call for more war.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he threatened. “I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities. We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing.”
It is well known, and experience and formal studies have confirmed, that deployment of troops, air raids and exporting weapons to another county only increases terrorism and that 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist’s home country. Even the architects of the “war on terror” have known all along that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan only makes peace more elusive. Gen. James E. Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in 2013, “We’re seeing that blowback. If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.”
Even as he hinted that more soldiers might be sent into Afghanistan, the president’s misguided reliance on “force and precision” and “over the horizon” attacks targeting ISIS-K is a clear threat of drone attacks and bombing raids that will surely kill more Afghan civilians than militants, even if they will put fewer U.S. military personnel in danger. While extrajudicial targeted assassinations are illegal, documents exposed by whistleblower Daniel Hale prove that the U.S. government is aware that 90% of its drone strike victims are not the intended targets.
Refugees from Afghanistan should be aided and given sanctuary, especially in the U.S. and the other NATO countries that together ruined their homeland. There are also more than 38 million Afghans, more than half of whom were not born before the events of 9/11/2001, none of whom would ever “wish America harm” if their country had not been occupied, exploited and bombed in the first place. To a people who are owed reparations, there is only talk of sanctions targeting the Taliban which would more likely kill the most vulnerable and give rise to more acts of terror.
In closing his remarks, President Biden, who should not have been quoting religious scripture in his official capacity at all, further misappropriated the call for a voice to speak of peace from the book of Isaiah, applying it to those he said “who have served through the ages, when the Lord says: ‘Whom shall I send? Who shall go for us?’ The American military has been answering for a long time. ‘Here I am, Lord. Send me. Here I am, send me.’” The president did not cite Isaiah’s other words that put that call into context, the words that are carved into the wall overlooking the United Nations headquarters in New York, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
The tragedy of these last days suffered by the people of Afghanistan and the families of 13 U.S. soldiers should not be exploited as a call for more war. We oppose any threat of further attacks on Afghanistan, “over the horizon” or by troops on the ground. Over the past 20 years, official counts indicate that more than 241,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zones and the actual number is likely many times more. This has to stop. We demand all U.S. threats and aggression cease.