Wednesday, 5 February 2003

Don't mention the war in Afghanistan

The near collapse of peace in this savage land is a narrative erased from the mind of Americans

by Robert Fisk


click here to visit his website There's one sure bet about the statement to be made to the UN Security Council today by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell – or by General Colin Powell as he has now been mysteriously reassigned by the American press: he won't be talking about Afghanistan.

For since the Afghan war is the "successful" role model for America's forthcoming imperial adventure across the Middle East, the near-collapse of peace in this savage land and the steady erosion of US forces in Afghanistan – the nightly attacks on American and other international troops, the anarchy in the cities outside Kabul, the warlordism and drug trafficking and steadily increasing toll of murders – are unmentionables, a narrative constantly erased from the consciousness of Americans who are now sending their young men and women by the tens of thousands to stage another "success" story.

This article is written in President George Bush's home state of Texas, where the flags fly at half-staff for the Columbia crew, where the dispatch to the Middle East of further troops of the 108th Air Defence Artillery Brigade from Fort Bliss and the imminent deployment from Holloman Air Force Base in neighbouring New Mexico of undisclosed numbers of F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers earned a mere 78-word down-page inside "nib" report in the local Austin newspaper.

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