CREATING A QUAGMIRE - PART I
It is ironic indeed that a man who engineered the quagmire in Afghanistan which bankrupted and demoralised the Soviet Union, precipitating its collapse, should be brought in to direct our own quagmire which is bankrupting the United States Treasury and precipitating the collapse of American hegemony in the world.
In his 1996 memoir From the Shadows, former Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates revealed the $500 million in non-lethal aid which was designed to counter the billions the Soviets were providing their puppet regime. Some American policymakers were eager to lure the Soviets into a Vietnam-like entanglement. Gates recounts that at a key meeting on March 30, 1979, Under Secretary of Defense Walter Slocumbe wondered aloud whether 'there was value in keeping the Afghan insurgency going, "sucking the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire."' Former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said in a 1998 interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur,: 'We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.'
The cynicism with which Gates and others backed Al Qaeda is revealed in this Zbigniew Brzezinski interview:
Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
The CIA was instrumental in setting up the network of madrassas in Pakistan which train the bulk of Islamic terrorists worldwide and in promoting the regional spread of fundamentalist Islamic jihad.
"[I]t was the government of the United States who supported Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands of religious schools from which the germs of Taliban emerged." (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), RAWA Statement on the Terrorist Attacks In the US, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), http://globalresearch.ca/... , 16 September 2001)
US support to the Mujahideen initiated during the Carter administration led to the pumping of "billions of dollars into the Afghan cause and thousands of Islamic zealots were given specialist training in the US and Britain." (Review of John Cooley's Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, http://www.neue-einheit.com/... ) :
"In the United States they experienced tough courses in endurance, weapons use, sabotage, and killing techniques, communications and other skills. They were required to impart these skills to the scores of thousands of fighters who formed the centre and the base of the pyramid of holy war." (John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars - Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, London Pluto Press, 1999, p. 81.) . . .
The CIA became the grand coordinator : purchasing or arranging the manufacture of Soviet-style weapons from Egypt, China, Poland, Israel and elsewhere, or supplying their own ; arranging for military training by Americans, Egyptians, Chinese and Iranians ; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave many hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year, totaling probably more than a billion ; pressuring and bribing Pakistan -- with whom recent American relations had been very poor -- to rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary ; putting the Pakistani Director of Military Operations, Brigadier Mian Mohammad Afzal, onto the CIA payroll to ensure Pakistani cooperation. (Phil Gasper, Afghanistan, the CIA, bin Laden, and the Taliban International Socialist Review, November-December 2001, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/... )
A RECIPE FOR COOKED INTELLIGENCE AND COVER-UPS
Melvin Goodman, a 20 year veteran of the CIA who testified against confirmation of Gates in 1991, writes in Foreign Policy in Focus:
In his memoirs, former secretary of state George Shultz demonstrated that CIA involvement in a policy of covert action tainted its intelligence. His memoirs remind us that when operations and analysis get mixed up, "the president gets bum dope." Shultz demonstrated how this happened in the 1980s in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, all contributign to the strife we face today in Southwest Asia. CIA director William Casey and his deputy Robert Gates covered up important intelligence regarding Pakistani nuclear developments in order to protect the covert action program supporting the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, and they exaggerated the role of the Stingers against Soviet forces in order to trumpet clandestine deliveries of surface-to-air weapons. When I challenged the operational director of the deliveries about providing weapons to the most reactionary members of the mujahedeen long after the Soviet withdrawal, he responded "we merely delivered the weapons to Pakistan and let God sort it out." This is the mentality that provided weapons and influence to Bin Laden and other anti-western fanatics.
CREATING A QUAGMIRE - PART II: THE QUAGMIRE COMES HOME TO ROOST.
The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its "mission," had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director Robert Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological capabilities in its annual "Soviet Military Power" report right up to 1990.
Given that context, a decision was made to provide America's potential enemies with the arms, money - and most importantly - the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.
That decision is coming home to roost.
The Cold Warriors were proud of luring the Soviets into the quagmire of Afghanistan, but their role in luring the United States into the quagmires of Afghanistan and Iraq remains too murky.
"The full story of the productive (sic) U.S.-China cooperation directed against the Soviet Union (especially in regard to Afghanistan), initiated by the Carter Administration and continued under Reagan, still remains to be told," Brzezinski wrote in his book, The Geostrategic Triad.
That story needs to be told before Robert Gates is confirmed as Secretary of Defense.
WE OWE OUR TROOPS BETTER
We owe it to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq not to put them under the command of a man implicated in financing and training the enemies they fight. We owe it to the troops to give them a commander who will protect them from IEDs and missiles, not one with a proven record of protecting the ISI who supplies those weapons.
Update [2006-11-9 17:13:4 by LondonYank]:: A couple people have criticised lack of direct ties between OBL and Gates. Below are extracts from two articles which are heavily footnoted with sources.
Afghanistan, the CIA, bin Laden and the Taliban By Phil Gasper
One of the first non-Afghan volunteers to join the ranks of the mujahideen was Osama bin Laden, a civil engineer and businessman from a wealthy construction family in Saudi Arabia, with close ties to members of the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden recruited 4,000 volunteers from his own country and developed close relations with the most radical mujahideen leaders. He also worked closely with the CIA, raising money from private Saudi citizens. By 1984, he was running the Maktab al-Khidamar, an organization set up by the ISI to funnel "money, arms, and fighters from the outside world in the Afghan war."
The 9/11 Commission One Year Later
Since September 11, CIA officials have been claiming they had no direct link to bin Laden. These denials lack credibility. Earlier this year, the trial of defendants accused of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing in Kenya disclosed that the CIA shipped high-powered sniper rifles directly to bin Laden's operation in 1989. Even the Tennessee-based manufacturer of the rifles confirmed this.34 According to the Boston Globe,
Some military analysts and specialists on the weapons trade say the CIA has spent years covering its tracks on its early ties to the Afghan forces.... Despite the CIA's denials, these experts say it was inevitable that the military training in guerrilla tactics and the vast reservoir of money and arms that the CIA provided in Afghanistan would have ended up helping bin Laden and his forces during the 1980s.35
"In 1988, with U.S. knowledge, bin Laden created Al-Qaeda (The Base): a conglomerate of quasi independent Islamic terrorist cells spread across at least 26 countries," writes Indian journalist Rahul Bhedi. "Washington turned a blind eye to Al-Qaeda, confident that it would not directly impinge on the U.S."36
(PDF at page 205)
The Formation of al-Qaeda
As early as June 1979, and perhaps earlier, the United States had already commenced a series of covert operations in Afghanistan designed to exploit the potential for social conflict. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser under the Carter Administration, US involvement had begun long before the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979. (1) Brzezinski's revelations have been corroborated by former CIA Director Robert Gates in his memoirs From the Shadows, where he writes that US intelligence began sponsoring an Afghan rebellion in Afghanistan six months before Soviet intervention. (2)
Update [2006-11-10 6:6:38 by LondonYank]:
According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the ISI operatives in contact with al-Qaeda had received assistance from "American Green Beret commandos and Navy SEALS in various US training establishments." Over 10,000 mujahideen were "trained in guerilla warfare and armed with sophisticated weapons." By 1988, Jane's reports that "with US knowledge, Bin Laden created Al Qaeda (The Base): a conglomerate of quasi-independent Islamic terrorist cells in countries spread across at least 26 countries." But in the meantime, "Washington turned a blind eye to Al-Qaeda." (3)
: More background on Robert Gates' links in promoting and financing ISI-backed Islamic fundamentalist terrorism against the USA. This is from our own military's lesson plan on Afghanistan terrorism
HON. PETER DEUTSCH, OF FLORIDA, IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES , Friday, October 7, 1994
Mr. DEUTSCH. Mr. Speaker, I am shocked to see reports detailing the extensive involvement of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in supporting Islamic fundamentalist terror groups in Afghanistan and India. I have seen Peter Arnett's excellent documentary "Terror Nation? U.S. Creation?" shown on CNN last month. The film provides a graphic account of the links between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the fundamentalist regime of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. I was disturbed to note that some Afghan groups that have had close affiliation with Pakistani Intelligence are believed to have been involved in the New York World Trade Center bombings. Following an investigation, Peter Arnett reports about the New York bombing, "It happened at this apartment complex. Police at the well-patrolled community say the Skeikh's Driver, Mahmud Aboubalima was Shalabi's most frequent visitor. Police consider Aboubalima their prime suspect. He is the second person from the Afghan Refuge Center implicated in a U.S. crime. But he has not been charged. Shalabi's family blames Sheikh Rahman for the killing, a charge a cleric denies. With Shalabi gone, Aboubalima takes control of the Afghan Refugee Center. Aboubalima, Sheikh Rahman and Hampton El were bound together not only by the Brooklyn-based Afghan Center, but also by the holy war headquarters in Peshawar, Pakistan, the bustling base of operations for the Afghan resistance. It is in Peshawar that the New York terror campaign takes shape. Peshawar was the headquarters of Sheikh Rahman's international network. Peshawar was also the headquarters of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's party, which trained four of the key New York suspects. Hekmatyar's links to the New York suspects came as no surprise to pro-Western afghan officials. They officially warned the U.S. government about Hekmatyar no fewer than four times. The last warning delivered just days before the Trade Center attack." Speaking to former CIA Director Robert Gates, about Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Peter Arnett reports, "The Pakistanis showered Gulbuddin Hekmatyar with U.S. provided weapons and sang his praises to the CIA. They had close ties with Hakmatyar going back to the mid-1970's. Hekmatyar's Islamic fervor played well with the fundamentalist powers of Pakistan."
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