Monday, December 23, 2002

The United States, in an announced change in policy, is planning to set up eight to ten bases in Afghanistan in the next six months "in hopes of boosting reconstruction efforts and regional security". "In addition, the new bases will try 'to dampen regional tensions' and to project the power of the central government in Kabul into the provinces, Joe Collins, deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations, said at a Pentagon briefing." Collins said that this reconfiguration would not increase the size of the U. S. military presence in Afghanistan, which currently stands at about 9,000 troops. However, another official said the U. S. presence could increase if the Army Corps of Engineers is "tapped for a major construction project", which he said is being contemplated. A major construction project? Now, what could that possibly be? Well, (insane) Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, fresh from an assassination attempt, has announced a summit to be held on December 26-27 between himself, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and American stooge Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, to discuss the building of a gas pipeline linking Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. This is the infamous gas pipeline that crazed conspiracy theorists claimed was the real reason for the American attack on Afghanistan, especially given that Afghanistan seemed to have nothing to do with September 11, and since the Americans have been noticeably unsuccessful at capturing al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan or controlling the country. If a pipeline is to be built, bases will be needed to protect the contruction workers and the built pipeline. Attacks on workers, the pipeline, and these bases will keep the local warlords entertained for years, and may even lead to the vietnamization of Afghanistan for the American military. Of course, paying for these bases is in effect a direct subsidy from the American taxpayers to the oily friends of the Bush Administration who will benefit from the construction business and from the gas in the pipeline.