TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Tariq Ali on Obama’s Af-Pak Syndrome

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While most Canadians seem unaware their country is at war, and CBC coverage almost exclusively sugars over our government’s war by calling it a mission, as if combat were peace-keeping, the people of Afghanistan face the daily reality of occupation and war.

And they’ve been facing both continually since 1979. Indeed, their country has known both for millennia, stretching back through Soviet, British, Moghul, Mongol and Greek occupation and massacres.

For various reasons, the governments allied in NATO are possessed of the hubris to believe that they can do what Alexander, Jingis Khan, the British Empire and the Soviet Union couldn’t do: keep Afghanistan.

NATO’s war against Afghanistan is bloody and costly, and like all wars claimed to be fought for someone else’s interest, is yielding very little for the interests of the Afghan people. Furthermore, the undeclared American sister war against Pakistan is threatening instability in that country while slaughtering scores of civilians with remotely-piloted drones.

Such bombings have vastly increased under the government of Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama, who has authorised as many drone attacks in eleven months in office as George W. Bush did in the last three years of his tenure.

Addressing what US Marine General Smedley Butler called a “racket” is the internationally renowned radical activist, author and atheist Tariq Ali. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Ali lived in exile since the 1960s in opposition to Pakistan’s then-military dictatorship.

A longtime editor at the New Left Review, Tariq Ali has authored and edited numerous books on history and politics including the classic The New Revolutionaries and the recent The Clash of Fundamentalisms which investigates US power and its role in the creation of global terrorism. His most recent books are 2008’s The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight of American Power, and 2009’s The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom, and Other Essays.

Tonight, in his address for Hampshire College’s annual Eqbal Ahmad Lecture, Ali argues that the United States must leave Afghanistan immediately unless it wishes to cause irreparable damage to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States itself. The excellent Active Ingredients Media recorded the interview.

(Below, a different lecture called "Obama, Pakistan and the US empire")


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