Rehash on ‘Patriotism’

Gotta repost this one I did first 2 years ago:

In commemoration of this Independance Day weekend (for which I am a little late in writing about) I would like to bring to the reader’s mind the principle of Patriotism.  I am bothered by the display of patriotism I see in my church so often.  I am really bothered by the huge gobs of patriotism taught to my kids in elementary school so often.  They can sing the theme songs of each of the 4 branches of the military from memory.  So many of the assemblies parents are invited to make lengthly mention of military in conjunction with the “virtue” of patriotism.

Therefore, I bring you my very favorite words on the subject from President Spencer W. Kimball of the Church I belong to, who died back in 1985 I believe.

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel — ships, planes, missiles, fortifications — and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45).

Also, I would like to point out one of my favorite parts of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Have we arrived at this point yet?  Thomas Jefferson thought we arrive at this point at least every twenty years as is evidenced in his letter to William Smith in 1787:

And now, for a collection of some of my favorite quotes on the topic of patriotism:

I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country.-General Augusto PinochetI am not going to repent. I am not going to ask for favours. What I did, I did for my country.

-P. W. Botha, former President of Apartheid South Africa

I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.

-Pol Pot, mass murderer of Cambodia

It is impossible to conceive a more troublesome or more garrulous patriotism (speaking of the patriotism of the USA); it wearies even those who are disposed to respect it.

-Alexis de Tocqueville

Pledges of allegiance are marks of totalitarian states, not democracies. I can’t think of a single democracy except the United States that has a pledge of allegiance.

-David Kertzer

The very existence of the state demands that there be some privileged class vitally interested in maintaining that existence. And it is precisely the group interests of that class that are called patriotism.

-Mikhail Bakunin

A problem with treating patriotism as an objective virtue is that patriotisms often conflict. Soldiers of both sides in a war may feel equally patriotic, creating an ethical paradox. (If patriotism is a virtue, then the enemy is virtuous, so why try to kill them?)


The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny; flattery to treachery; standing armies to arbitrary government; and the glory of God to the temporal interest of the clergy.

-David Hume

Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.

-Emma Goldman

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.

-George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is a arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

-George Jean Nathan

Patriotism ruins history.


In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.

-H. L. Mencken

Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.

-Henry Steele Commager

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.

-Howard Thurman

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

-Samuel Johnson

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.

-Sinclair Lewis

Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism – how passionately I hate them!

-Albert Einstein

I have no sense of nationalism, only a cosmic consciousness of belonging to the human family.

-Rosika Schwimmer

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world.


I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

-Eugene V. Debbs

Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind.  We love the land of our nativity, only as we love all other lands.  The interests, rights, and liberties of American citizens are no more dear to us than are those of the whole human race.  Hence we can allow no appeal to patriotism, to revenge any national insult or injury.

-William Lloyd Garrison, Declaration of Sentiments, Boston Peace Conference 1838

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?

-Blaise Pascal

It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.



39 Responses to “Rehash on ‘Patriotism’”

  1. 1 Tim July 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you again Curtis for this. How often do we need reminders that war is wrong? I cannot seem to remember ever reading the Master condoning it in any form. While I do support our troops, and understand that in some cases they may actually have been used to protect my freedoms in the past, I can’t imagine that anything happening in the world today jeopardizes those freedoms, nor is any military action the US is currently involved in, protecting the freedoms of anyone else.

    • 2 Mike Walters July 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      you are wrong. there are threats to your freedom both within and without he borders of the US. You would be wise to review the events of 9/11/01 for a reminder of how real the danger is. Moroni lived in a time of corruption within the government, but he was still wise enough to take arms against enemies of his nation both within and without.

      al Quida wants to kill you and your family, and if given the chance they will do it. they also want to deny education to your children, and they want to eliminate your freedom of religion. They are prevented from doing so only by the superior strength of the US military.

  2. 3 SUNNofaB.C.Rich July 2, 2010 at 1:34 am


  3. 4 theradicalmormon July 2, 2010 at 5:58 am

    You are right Sunn. Patriotism is indeed garbage. One of your more insightful comments since you’ve been around here.

  4. 5 Joseph July 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Seems like Brigham Young had some good quotes on the dangers of nationalism. I can’t remember them now. I know I read them via Hugh Nibley, but can’t remember which books.

    Anyway, you did include plenty of great quotes.

  5. 6 Mike Walters July 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    This is an interesting article. It explores the difference between reasonable loyalty to owns country, and fanaticism. Obviously loyalty is a virtue which is worth cultivating. We should be loyal to God, our family, and our country. this does not mean we agree with everything our leaders say and do. In fact if a good man disagrees with his leaders and he fails to make his voice heard, this remains the greater fault.

    I am an american soldier. I am currently deploying to Afghanistan. I do not like killing. I do not think I could kill another human if my life depended on it. But make no mistake THIS IS ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE MISSION OF THE US ARMED FORCES.

    As a physician in Afghanistan, the large majority of my patients will be afghan natives. We provide free care to these people and ask nothing in return. We build roads, schools, bridges, and hospitals also and ask nothing in return. We are desperately trying to establish freedom in this country, and to liberate them from the Taliban who are truly despots, and murderers.

    In 1998 Osama bin Laden made the following statement:
    “It is the personal duty of all muslims everywhere to kill americans. We do not differentiate between civiliians and those in military uniforms.”

    Yes we are a warlike people. But so long as individuals like this threaten my homeland, and the safety of my family, I will take up my arms to defend them. Let us not forget those who died 9/11/01.

    America is not perfect. There is much corruption, and greed. But those who seek peace and righteousness still outnumber those who do not. We still remain the single greatest force for good in the world.

  6. 7 theradicalmormon July 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Hi Mick. Long time no see. You are aware, aren’t you, that we basically created Al Queda, funding them as a guerrilla group fighting against the Russians in Afghanistan when the Russians were actually invited there by the government at the time? You are aware that Osama and his crew view us as a great evil for a reason aren’t you? Our policy in the near east/persia/babylon and the middle east has bred such terrible consequences that Al Queda actually has a platform to stand on. It’s sort of like the situation with Pol Pot. Our secret bombing of Cambodia where we dropped more tonnage than we did during all of WWII, killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians and the people flocked to Pol Pot because he opposed the destruction wreaked by the US military, whereas, before our many murders, he was the leader of a very unpopular group numbering not more than a few thousand. The Mujahideen exist as a power to be dealt with because of the policies of the US that have so upset the people in those regions.
    9/11 happened as a direct result of our actions in the east. We were just shocked and amazed because for the first time, the guns were facing the other direction. For the first time, we were the ones that had to deal with death and destruction. It would be good for us to have the attitude of the Nephites at the end of a battle they had with the Lamanites:

    Alma 4
    2 But the people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted for the loss of their brethren, and also for the loss of their flocks and herds, and also for the loss of their fields of grain, which were trodden under foot and destroyed by the Lamanites.
    3 And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty.

    Why were we attacked? Figure it out and wake up and don’t do the same thing again. That is the lesson of Alma 4. That is the lesson we have not yet learned.

    Patriotism is used as a tool of the secret combinations that rule this nation. If you do not serve their interests, you are not a patriot and thus are not a virtuous person. You are personally doing what you see as good and that is to be applauded. But to get to that point, we had to kill countless Afghanistan people and consign countless more to suffering and poverty. Our war over there is not based on some benevolent desire for democracy in Afghanistan. We don’t want democracy for other nations in general. History has shown that all too often. Our war there has always been about oil pipelines and the continuance of our empire. There is no net good that is arrived at by pursuing war. We know who buys up the armies of nations and who rules over this earth with blood and horror. It is him that we follow when we murder.

    • 8 Mike Walters July 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

      You need to review your history a little better. Al Qaida (sorry for the misspelling earlier) was originaly formed in Saudia Arabia as anti-american muslim jihadists. During the Russian war in Afghanistan the americans gave their support to the Mujihadeen who were actually Afghan natives, and were opposed to the Taliban. After the exodus of Russia from Afghanistan we continued to support the Mujihadeen who were pro-democracy, still against the taliban. The primary support for the Taliban in Afghanistan has always been Pakistan. They have received weapons, and training, and other supplies from the Pakistani military through the Afghan non-existent southern border.

      Furthermore there are no significant oil deposits in Afghanistan. To imply that our eforts there are for oil is a weak, cliche, and non-supportable arguement.

      • 9 Mike Walters July 9, 2010 at 1:01 am

        Furthermore, The Afghan nation has been at war with one opponent or another for over 40 years, and most of those wars were civil wars. the various factions an tribes in that region have been trying to kil each other for milenia. And lets not forget that muslims hate other muslims. When there are no Americans around to kill, the Sunni attack the Shiites, and vice versa.

        To blame their poverty and suffering on the United States is ridiculous in the extreme. You also seem completely oblivious to conditions under the Taliban. They are despots, relying on torture, extortion, and murder to achieve their goals. They fund their operations through the production and sale of opium. It is estimated that greater than 90% of the worlds illegal heroin comes from Afghan poppy fields. They use women and children as suicide bombers, and they hide their weapons in elementary schools because they know Americans will not kill children.

        Make no mistake THERE IS NO RIGHTEOUS ANGER IN THEIR CAUSE AS YOU HAVE SUGGESTED. They are evil. They are the secret combination you claim to abhor. Yet you continually defend their evil actions.

  7. 11 theradicalmormon July 9, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Who needs to review their history a little better?

    “The origins of al-Qaeda as a network inspiring terrorism around the world and training operatives can be traced to the Soviet war in Afghanistan[35] (December 1979 – February 1989). The United States viewed the conflict in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Marxists and allied Soviet troops on one side and the native Afghan mujahideen on the other, as a blatant case of Soviet expansionism and aggression. The U.S. channelled funds through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the native Afghan mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation in a CIA program called Operation Cyclone.[36][37]
    At the same time, a growing number of Arab mujahideen joined the jihad against the Afghan Marxist regime, facilitated by international Muslim organizations, particularly the Maktab al-Khidamat,[38] whose funds came from some of the $600 million a year donated to the jihad by the Saudi Arabia government and individual Muslims – particularly independent Saudi businessmen who were approached by Osama bin Laden.[39]”

    Also, you don’t know about the oil in Afghanistan? It’s all above ground my friend.

    Seems like you are as ignorant as the rest of the US population of the secret combinations that have led us into this war. But, that’s what I’m here for.

  8. 12 Forest Simmons July 18, 2010 at 12:34 am

    When President Kimball suggested that we were a warlike people and that we were relying on gods of iron and steel to defend ourselves, he didn’t claim that we were not in danger. He was “appalled and frightened for us,” because of our own idolatry, not so much because of any external threat.

    Have we repented in the intervening 34 years? Or are we in deeper?

    He suggested that if we had a tiny particle of faith in god, we would quit relying on the arm of the flesh, turn to righteousness, and give god a chance to protect us.

    Have we done that?

    Will we do that?

    I’m afraid not. I’m as appalled and frightened as Pres. Kimball, and I don’t have to be a prophet to see the coming destruction. It’s as clear as the nose on our collective face.

    In the July 4, 2010, testimony meeting I expressed my sadness for the decline of my country into idolatry, and expressed my worry about the possible consequences. Afterwards a young missionary (less than a third my age)took me aside and chided me for expressing my opinion intead of “sticking to the gospel.”

    Of course, people are not offended by opinions that they agree with, like the usual superstitious, patriotic opinions that make everybody feel like all is well in zion.

  9. 13 Joseph July 24, 2010 at 10:50 pm


    I admire your courage. Can’t say I’m surprised at the response. I’m bothered, but not surprised. I wonder if you would have gotten the same “sticking to the gospel” criticism if you had praised the U.S. as infallible and spoken of U.S. troops “fighting for freedom” (also topics outside of the “pure gospel”, but usually more acceptable in testimony meeting). We’ve lost sight of the fact that pronouncements about government made by Joseph Smith were to clarify that he was not promoting violent revolution or treason. They were not meant to unequivocally equate any earthly government with Heavenly. Your testimony is as much a part of the Gospel as President Kimball’s talk. I wonder, would the missionary level the same criticism at Spencer W. Kimball?

  10. 14 Forest Simmons July 25, 2010 at 11:26 pm


    No special courage, really; I was speaking in a testimony meeting of a group of Spanish speaking members, most of whom were experiencing first hand the same kind of persecution that the lower class Zoramites felt from the upper class.

  11. 15 Mike Walters July 27, 2010 at 9:40 am

    “Osama bin Laden first visited Afghanistan as a 23 year old in 1980, at the behest of Prince Turki bin Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence. By 1982 he had established a base in Pakistan from which to provide infrastructure for the Mujahideen, drawing on the expertise of his family’s billion dollar construction business. With funds from the Saudi government, his family, and other wealthy contributors he carved out caves and tunnel complexes in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, mainly around the city of Khost and south of Jalalabad…. In 1990 disillusioned with squabbling among the Mujahideen he returned to Saudi Arabia to work in the family business. He also created an organization to aid and support the 35,000 Arab veterans of the Afghan war, who were now the most dedicated and experienced fighters in the world. This group came t be known as Al Qaeda (The Base) and instead of simply providing veterans’ benefits would undertake new operations when the jihad went global.”
    -Stephen Tanner 2009. “Afghanistan a Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban.” Pp. 273-274
    “The Taliban began amid the anarchy of southern Afghanistan when a local strongman raped several girls in the summer of 1994. Local people turned for help to a mullah named Mohammed Omar and he in turn called on some of his religious students. These men executed the criminal and intimidated his followers. Afterward, the students responded to calls from other people victimized by lawless brigands. The ranks of the Taliban grew in direct proportion to the society’s desperate desire for order.”
    “In the growth of the Taliban one can also see the gloved hand of Pakistan. Under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistanis had decided to open the road to central Asia through Kandahar and Herat…. In October (1994) the Pakistanis decided to test drive the route with a 30 truck convoy filled with food and medicine. The convoy, however, was captured by an Afghan warlord named Mansur.
    Just prior to this event a group of the Taliban had seized a huge arms depot at Spinbaldak, capturing eighteen thousand AK-47s and tons of ammunition previously stockpiled by Hekmatyar (another Afghan warlord and a former Mujahideen). Now the Pakistanis asked the Taliban to rescue their convoy, which they did. Mansur was shot and his body was paraded around hanging from the barrel of a tank. The Taliban then turned against Kandahar itself, taking the city after only two days of fighting. The government garrison surrendered amid rumors that its commander had been bribed. Captured were vast quantities of arms, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery. On the airfield the Taliban found a dozen Mig-21 Jets, and transport helicopters.
    Over the next 3 months the Taliban overran twelve southern provinces as its ranks swelled with thousands of volunteers, primarily Afghan refugees or native Pashtuns filtered through Pakistani religious schools. In areas under their control, the Taliban replaced utter anarchy with strict order under extremely conservative Islamic principles. And the Pakistani now had their open road.”

    -Stephen Tanner 2009. “Afghanistan a Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban.” Pp. 279-280

    As I stated in my previous post the US did indeed give aid to the Mujahideen through Pakistan, but this aid did not go to either Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban. Bin Laden organized Al Qaeda after he left Afghanistan and he did it with strictly Saudi funds, most of t his own. After the departure of the Soviets, the Mujahideen fractured and began warring among themselves. This is why bin Laden left. The Taliban arose out of the chaos of yet another round of civil war. Again this was entirely independent of US help.

    As far as your contention that somehow the US presence in Afghanistan is motivated by a lust for oil. That argument is ludicrous in the extreme. That is the same old tired cliché that you liberal socialist bigots use for every US military action. You have absolutely no evidence to support this ridiculous claim. There is no oil in Afghanistan.

    Finally, you are in no position to educate me about anything. I happen to actually be in Afghanistan. Let me remind you that the US is not the only participant in this effort. On my base alone there are forces from the US, Great Britton, Czechoslovakia, Australia, Germany, Jordan, etc. This is truly a multinational coalition.

    For your education I will let you know what we actually are doing here. My base covers an area of operation of 2 provinces. In the last year alone we (the United States government) has invested 7 to 8 million dollars in these 2 provinces alone. The utilization of this money has been in the hands of the locals, and they in return have been required to show transparency for use of the funds to avoid embezzlement, and fraud. In the past year that money has gone to build a new hospital, several schools (where girls are allowed to attend by the way), It has built many roads, and trained local police forces. And lest you think that these construction projects have been given to Halliburton through the Army’s “Afghan First” program it is required that all construction contracts be given to Afghani firms.

    As a last thought, the United States is the best thing to happen to this country in the last 50 years. We cannot afford to be here forever, and they will ultimately have to sink or swim on their own merit. The history of this area is that these people have never been able to get along since 2500 BC. Your opinions about this conflict are misguided, and wrong. I believe your emotion is genuine, but you are blinded by your worship of the false god Noam Chomsky. You are too full of hate to see clearly.

  12. 16 Mike Walters July 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    A few thoughts on the supposed oil in Afghanistan. I suppose that you are referring to the proposed TAPI pipeline, which is a natural gas pipeline proposed since 1998 to deliver natural gas to Pakistan, and India from the natural gas fields in Turkmenistan. This pipeline would travel through the Afghanistan provinces of Herat, and Kandahar.

    For the record, this pipeline does not currently exist, and there are at present no firm plans to construct this pipeline.

    If Afghanistan could be stabilized, the construction of such a pipeline would be a wonderful thing for this country as it would provide great income, and jobs for the locals. At present however there is still far too much violence to allow for construction to proceed. I would be highly supportive of the construction of this pipeline if it could be built as it would provide not only income, but it would serve to stabilize relations not only in Afghanistan, but in the entire region. The exception of course being relations with Iran.

    Unfortunately, at present it does not seem that this project will ever be undertaken. Not only is this region still filled with violence from terrorist groups such as the Taliban, but Pakistan recently signed an agreement with Iran to pursue the IPI pipeline which links Iran, Pakistan, and India. Then just days after the signing of the agreement, a Pakistani muslim extremist group (Jundullah which are Sunni’s) attacked a Shiite mosque in Zahedan Iran killing 25 people and injuring 125. (I suppose you will blame the US for this as well.) This underscores the true nature of politics in this region, namely that the Islamic extremist religions teach that violence and terror are legitimate methods of dealing with neighbors who think differently than you.

    The notion that the TAPI pipeline is the main reason that the US is involved in Afghanistan remains a fantasy of your frenzied mind. It is very unlikely that any such pipeline can be built in this region. If it was built it would become an immediate target for all terrorist/ warlords in the area, and the maintenance of such a pipeline would be difficult and fraught with delays and interrupted service due to constant sabotage.

    This pipeline is a pipedream, but if such a pipeline could be built it could be a tremendous boon to this country. I would be in support of it and you should be too.

  13. 17 Forest Simmons July 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    It’s not so much oil per se as control of oil and gas. And it’s not so much access to any particular resource as it is the opportunities for war profiteering.

  14. 18 theradicalmormon July 31, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Just returned from a two week vacation without computer access to speak of. Will cash in on this discussion as soon as I get my legs back under me. Lots of stuff to talk about here.

  15. 19 Leah July 31, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I don’t buy the “we made Al Qaida what it is today” argument. If I wanted to I could same argument that the Russions created Al Qaida because if they hadn’t invaded to begin with we would have never even been there. Or we could even say that God made Al Qaida what it is because he gave the terrorists life and the free agency to choose evil over good.

    Life is about using our God-given agency to choose right over wrong and overcoming the evils of this world. Not to say that this nation is blameless, but I just don’t think the US could have possibly expected for the situation to turn out like it did. Even *IF* the US supplied arms and training to Osama Bin Laden’s group, we had no idea that we were dealing with a primitive and savage group of people who, once the war ended, would choose brutality and oppression over freedom and civility.

  16. 20 Mike Walters July 31, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    To be very clear. The US did not contribute to the formation of Al Qaeda. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Soviets were fighting a loose coalition of Afghani native warlords known collectively as the Mujahideen. During this time the US gave money to the Mujahideen through Pakistan. this was the Operation Cyclone which was referred to in a previous post. The US were interested in supporting the Mujahideen because at that time we were enemies with the Soviets, and were deep into the cold war. Make no mistake, the money we gave at that time went to the local Afghan natives, NOT Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban. These two terrorist groups did not even exist at that time.

    We specifically supported an Afghani named Ahmed Shah Massoud, also known as the Lion of Afghanistan. He led the forces of the Northern Alliance in Afhnanistan at that time.

    Again I want to be clear. This Northern ALliance was a group of Afghani Warlords who were allied against the Soviets. It was this Massoud that we primarily gave money and support to.

    After the withdraw of the Soviets the Mujahideen began fighting amongst themselves, and Afghanistan was thrown into civil war. Oasma bin Laden was somewhat disgusted by this behavior, and he also left for his home in Saudi Arabia. That was when he formed Al Qaeda with Arab jihadist veterans of the Afghan-Soviet war.

    In September 2001 ahortly after the destruction of the world trade center, Osama bin Laden in cooperation with the Taliban assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud who was the only of the former Mujahideen whom the taliban could not defeat in battle. Massoud was te only figure in Afghanistan at that time who represented a legitimate threat to the Talibani domination of the region.

    As stated previously, Massoud was an ally of the United States, this was yet another justification by the taliban and bin Laden for his murder.

    Therefore, the idea that the United States had anything to do with the creation of the taliban or Al Qaeda is mistaken.

    More to come later.

  17. 21 Mike Walters July 31, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    One more thought, the idea that we want to build a pipepine through Afghanistan to engage in “war profiteering” is very unlikely.

    In 1998 UNOCAL evaluated the likelihood of constructing his supposed pipeline. At that time they released a statement:

    “UNOCAL company officials said late last year (1998) they were abandoning the project because of the need to cut costs in the Caspian region and because of the repeated failure of efforts to resolve the long civil conflict in Afghanistan.” [Volume 4, issue #20 – Monday, November 22, 1999]
    Three days following the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City, UNOCAL issued a statement reconfirming it had withdrawn from its project in Afghanistan, long before recent events. [ September 14, 2001 statement]

    Anyone who is familiar with the history of this area knows that warfare and civil unrest are much more the norm than peace. Any attempt to build a pipeline through this country would result in a huge loss on the investment due to constant sabotage by various tribes/jihadist groups who feel they deserve more of a cut. Every oil and gas company knows that a natural gas pipeline through this region will be impossible for the foreseeable future.

    “war profiteering” is not why the US is in Afghanistan. I would remind you that this is the 4th poorist nation in the world. The only potential source of wealth in this region is the large deposits of mineral resources which were recently discovered. It remains to be seen whether these can be developed to the point of turning a profit. As for the US we have spent billions of dollars in this region, and we are running out of money to spend here. This war has not been profitable in that sense.

  18. 22 Kevin July 31, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    “War profiteering is not why the US is in Afghanistan.”

    “As for the US we have spent billions in this region, and we are running out of money to spend here.”

    Mr. Walters, please reconsider your definition of War Profiteering. Where do you suppose those billions ended up?

    In my opinion, since 2001, there has been a massive transfer of public wealth into private hands when you consider both wars, tax cuts for the wealthy and the Wall Street bailouts. Right under the noses of most good hearted, red-blooded Americans because their rabid nationalism blinds them to the combinations that are alive and prospering.

  19. 23 Mike Walters August 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I have never implied that the U.S. is free from all corruption.

    I am as against Tax cuts for the wealthy, and Wall street bailouts as much as anyone. These things however have nothing to do with the war in Afghanistan. The issue was raised that the reason we went to war in Afghanistan was to somehow make a profit from all of this. That argument is ridiculous.

    As I stated in a previous post, most of the money we spend in Afghanistan goes to the locals. I am currently stationed in a small base south of Kabul. My base has an area of operations which covers 2 provinces. In the last year alone the U.S. government has invested 7 to 8 million dollars in these 2 provinces. The utilization of this money is strictly in the hands of the locals. They get to decide what projects it is used for. To date this money has been used to build a new hospital, several schools, repair many roads which were destroyed by insurgents, and to train local police and the Afghan national army. It is required that all construction projects be completed by Afghani firms, and it is also required that at least 3 bids be obtained before the contract is awarded. Finally complete transparency is required, and the local populace is informed about where every dollar is spent. This is done to avoid embezzlement, and fraud.

    Where then is your profiteering? As far as your secret combinations, President Hinckley addressed this issue at the November 2001 general conference as quoted below:

    You are acutely aware of the events of September 11, less than a month ago. Out of that vicious and ugly attack we are plunged into a state of war. It is the first war of the 21st century. The last century has been described as the most war-torn in human history. Now we are off on another dangerous undertaking, the unfolding of which and the end thereof we do not know. For the first time since we became a nation, the United States has been seriously attacked on its mainland soil. But this was not an attack on the United States alone. It was an attack on men and nations of goodwill everywhere. It was well planned, boldly executed, and the results were disastrous. It is estimated that more than 5,000 innocent people died. Among these were many from other nations. It was cruel and cunning, an act of consummate evil.

    Recently, in company with a few national religious leaders, I was invited to the White House to meet with the president. In talking to us he was frank and straightforward.

    That same evening he spoke to the Congress and the nation in unmistakable language concerning the resolve of America and its friends to hunt down the terrorists who were responsible for the planning of this terrible thing and any who harbored such.

    Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions…let us be friendly and helpful, protective and supportive. It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down.

    We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.

    We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10).

    Again, I am not suggesting that there is no corruption within the United States, but those of you on the liberal left seem to have forgotten why we went to Afghanistan in the first place. 5000 people were killed by an attack on American soil. This is more than were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    It is the Terrorist groups who are the secret combinations you should be worried about. Make no mistake, if they had the means, they would kill you, your family, and all your loved ones. It is only through the efforts of the security forces waging the war on terrorism that you are kept safe.

    Omar Mullah who is the supreme leader of the Taliban recently issued an order calling on all Taliban troops to kill any civilian who was suspected of aiding the Coalition forces. They operate through torture, extortion, and murder; and they fund their operations through narcotic trafficking. They are the secret combination you claim to abhor. If you wish to find fault, find it with the monsters who would gladly kill you and your family if given the chance. President Hinckley clearly was supportive of our countries efforts, you should be too.

  20. 24 Forest Simmons August 1, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Here’s a good article that puts war profiteering in its properperspective:

    An excerpt near the end of the article affirms our purpose in Afghanistan:

    Theresa DePugh stepped up to the challenge and had the starving Ohioans write messages on their food pantry paper plates to President Obama, who has just obtained another $33 billion to squander on a pointless war in Afghanistan that serves no purpose whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/security complex and its shareholders.

  21. 25 theradicalmormon August 2, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Not much time here, but I think that you, Mick, are ignoring quite a wealth of evidence of US imperialist objectives in Afghanistan as a cause of this war. In the first place, capturing or killing bin Laden was not the real purpose of this war as should be recognizable to the casual observer. The Taliban offered to hand bin Laden over through Pakistan even without the usual procedures followed for extradition. But, Bush would hear nothing of that and bombed away back in 2001. Why? Control over oil is a strong contender in a lot of people’s books. Check the following:

    “On September 18 the BBC revealed that the US had plans to invade Afghanistan before Sept. 11. And the Bush Administration states the US plans to stay in Afghanistan a long time, set up a “friendly” regime, and establish a military presence there, while admitting it may be years, if ever, before it finds OBL.

    Unocal, a US oil company had been negotiating with the Taliban regime for pipeline routes until this past Spring, when the Taliban demanded too much money. These negotiations explain the US government’s “humanitarian” and “anti-drug” aid to the Taliban regime during 2000 and the first part of 2001.

    A military presence in Afghanistan will give US rulers a strong military base near the Caspian region of emerging oil nations, and athwart some of the best routes for oil and gas pipelines.

    “Fighting terrorism” is simply the pretext, necessary to win the approval of the American public–to counteract the “Vietnam Syndrome”, the healthy distrust of the American people of their imperialist government that works against their interest at every turn.

    And it is not a war for “cheaper” oil–as though our own dear US rulers were sending us off to fight, kill and die so that we can drive gas-guzzling SUVs to our heart’s content. As in the Gulf War, one aim is more expensive oil–higher profits for big US oil companies. The deeper motive, though, is control–political leverage over other industrial, imperialist countries like Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Holland–that, unlike the US, have few or no oil reserves of their own.”

    That was written shortly after the beginning of the war in 2001. This sort of information has been around for a long time. Surprised you don’t know about it.

    I’m also rather surprised at your resorting to name calling for views that oppose your own. You say that I am “full of hate,” and that I have a “frenzied mind,” and say that I worship the false god of Noam Chomsky. You then call me a “liberal social bigot.” Not sure where all this is coming from. You used to be quite a bit more congenial when we were students together. I would avoid calling names and making grand suppositions just because ones views are different from your own. You might learn something that way. It works for me.

    The secret combinations that control US foreign policy never tell the military little guys like you what their underlying purpose is. It is always about freedom and democracy and patriotism as far as the little guys know. Therefore, your experience there, while providing valuable knowledge in some circles, means very little to the discussion here regarding the bigger picture in this war.

    As far as war profiteering goes, there are many weapons manufacturers and a plethora of other wartime industries in the US that are making off with a killing on this war. War has always been like that and this has been known since the sentinel paper written by Major General Smedley D. Butler, one of the greatest patriots this country has ever known. Of course, you would probably call him a liberal social bigot and accuse of him of a frenzied mind and of being full of hate, but in case you have learned to keep your mind open a little bit, here is the paper for your perusal:

    As for your work, I hope you do plenty of good over there. However, our military has no business being over there or in Iraq whether you agree with me or not.

  22. 26 Mike Walters August 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I certainly hope you accidentally posted the wrong link because this article is crap. It says nothing about “war profiteering.” It simply states that Chelsea Clinton had an obscenely expensive wedding, and that people in politics tend to accumulate a lot of wealth. I agree that this is an issue, but it has nothing to do with war profiteering. In fact the only reference to either war was one line:

    “Theresa DePugh stepped up to the challenge and had the starving Ohioans write messages on their food pantry paper plates to President Obama, who has just obtained another $33 billion to squander on a pointless war in Afghanistan that serves no purpose whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/security complex and its shareholders”

    This article asks the question:

    “Where did the money come from? Who was he really serving during his eight years in office?”

    Then this poorly written article does not even attempt to answer the question. This article shows absolutely no research, it is poorly written, and completely unreferenced. It also grossly exaggerates its figures stating that 22% of the U.S. population is unemployed. I would suggest that you consult the following link to the department of labor for the more accurate figure of 9.5%.

    And since you are so concerned about where the money goes in the war let’s review a few figures:

    There are currently 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, and another 60,000 in Iraq.

    The average salary of a U.S. soldier is $25,000 not including other benefits such as medical care, dental care, life insurance etc…

    This totals $3,750,000,000 in salaries alone to the U.S. troops per year. (Or perhaps you are of the opinion that the U.S. troops do not deserve to get paid for their services.) This does not include the cost of equipment, food, housing, transportation, fuel, etc… I stated in a previous post that we were clearly running out of money for this war, and that eventually the Afghani’s will have to sink or swim on their own merit. This is clearly true just from the above figures. If there is “war profiteering” going on, I challenge you to present some real hard evidence. Who is profiting, and how much are they making from this war?

    Finally you have failed to address the true issues of this conflict. First, Al Qaida and the Taliban attacked America killing 5000 innocent people. Second, they are horrible unscrupulous criminals who rely on murder, torture, and extortion to accomplish their goals. They fund their operations through the trafficking of illegal narcotics (most of which end up in American streets.) Finally (I assume you are LDS from references you have made in previous posts) President Hinckley stated in general conference that we as Americans should be supportive of our leaders in this war, and he stated without equivocation that the Taliban and Al Qaida are secret combinations which must be “ferreted out.”

    I invite you to desist finding fault with those who are sacrificing their comfort, and safety that your freedom may be secured.

    More to come

  23. 27 Mike Walters August 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Is the war in Afghanistan pointless?

    I would refer you to the most recent cover story of Time magazine, much of which I will quote below:

    The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the Aug. 9, 2010, print and iPad editions of TIME magazine.

    The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband’s house. Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn’t run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose.
    This didn’t happen 10 years ago, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. It happened last year. Now hidden in a secret women’s shelter in Kabul, Aisha listens obsessively to the news. Talk that the Afghan government is considering some kind of political accommodation with the Taliban frightens her. “They are the people that did this to me,” she says, touching her damaged face. “How can we reconcile with them?”

    In June, Afghan President Hamid Karzai established a peace council tasked with exploring negotiations with the Taliban. A month later, Tom Malinowski from Human Rights Watch met Karzai. During their conversation, Karzai mused on the cost of the conflict in human lives and wondered aloud if he had any right to talk about human rights when so many were dying. “He essentially asked me,” says Malinowski, “What is more important, protecting the right of a girl to go to school or saving her life?” How Karzai and his international allies answer that question will have far-reaching consequences, not only for Afghanistan’s women, but the country as a whole.

    As the war in Afghanistan enters its ninth year, the need for an exit strategy weighs on the minds of U.S. policymakers. Such an outcome, it is assumed, would involve reconciliation with the Taliban. But Afghan women fear that in the quest for a quick peace, their progress may be sidelined. “Women’s rights must not be the sacrifice by which peace is achieved,” says parliamentarian Fawzia Koofi.

    Yet that may be where negotiations are heading. The Taliban will be advocating a version of an Afghan state in line with their own conservative views, particularly on the issue of women’s rights. Already there is a growing acceptance that some concessions to the Taliban are inevitable if there is to be genuine reconciliation. “You have to be realistic,” says a diplomat in Kabul. “We are not going to be sending troops and spending money forever. There will have to be a compromise, and sacrifices will have to be made.”

    For Afghanistan’s women, an early withdrawal of international forces could be disastrous. An Afghan refugee who grew up in Canada, Mozhdah Jamalzadah recently returned home to launch an Oprah-style talk show in which she has been able to subtly introduce questions of women’s rights without provoking the ire of religious conservatives. On a recent episode, a male guest told a joke about a foreign human-rights team in Afghanistan. In the cities, the team noticed that women walked six paces behind their husbands. But in rural Helmand, where the Taliban is strongest, they saw a woman six steps ahead. The foreigners rushed to congratulate the husband on his enlightenment — only to be told that he stuck his wife in front because they were walking through a minefield. As the audience roared with laughter, Jamalzadah reflected that it may take about 10 to 15 years before Afghan women can truly walk alongside men. But once they do, she believes, all Afghans will benefit. “When we talk about women’s rights,” Jamalzadah says, “we are talking about things that are important to men as well — men who want to see Afghanistan move forward. If you sacrifice women to make peace, you are also sacrificing the men who support them and abandoning the country to the fundamentalists that caused all the problems in the first place.”

    Read more:,8599,2007238,00.html#ixzz0vT3HFNCE

    I encourage you all to take a good long look at the face on the cover of Time magazine. This is what you are advocating when you cry for withdraw of American troops. You ask this women whether this conflict is pointless. We are all that stand between the women of Afghanistan and a horrible cruel fate.

    When you criticize our efforts here you are selfish, and shortsighted. The Taliban would like nothing more than to do this to you too.

    The United States of America remains the last and best chance for justice, and peace left in this world.

  24. 28 theradicalmormon August 3, 2010 at 4:39 am

    You said:

    “Finally you have failed to address the true issues of this conflict. First, Al Qaida and the Taliban attacked America killing 5000 innocent people. Second, they are horrible unscrupulous criminals who rely on murder, torture, and extortion to accomplish their goals. They fund their operations through the trafficking of illegal narcotics (most of which end up in American streets.)”

    Al Qaida attacked the US, but I don’t hear the Taliban being accused by the US for the incident. I suppose you say because they were harboring A.Q. they are the same as the terrorists as Bush doctrine stated. However, they offered to turn over bin Laden before the US invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, in spite of the fact that we never officially submitted for extradition proceedings for him as is the internationally recognized pathway for getting criminals from other countries.

    It is not very important, but where are you getting the 5000 killed number from? The twin towers incident ended up with less than 3000 dead as I recall.

    They rely on murder, torture and extortion to obtain their goals? I know what your reply will be, but that sounds an awful lot like what the US does to it’s enemies does it not?

    As for the funding their operations by the selling of illegal narcotics which end up on the streets of America, you seriously need to read, “The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia,” by Alfred McCoy, which extensively documents at least indirect complicity by the CIA in the drug trade of illegal narcotics that ended up in the blood stream of US soldiers in Vietnam.

    Additionally, your contention that we need to be there to stop the Taliban from harming women sounds good on the surface, but that is not a good enough reason to be there. Women were in a good place in 1978 in Afghanistan under the government of that time when the US funded the warlords and drug lords to fight against the government of Afghanistan and the Soviets who were invited there by that government. We were partly responsible for the downfall of that government.

    Also, we go about doing so much harm in the world, that our main goal should be to first do no harm. If we withdrew support to oppressive governments and stopped killing women and children ourselves through our military attacks in our wars, we would be doing a lot better for the women of the world than we could do for Afghanistani women by invading their country and causing all the harm we have caused there. If we want to fix the world we must first fix ourselves. If we want a revolution we should first revolt against Satans influence in our own lives. If you want to police the world, you first have to be morally pure and good. If a man wants to rule a city well, he must first be able to rule himself. The US is hugely separated from this sort of standard with our atrocities and the blood on our hands from support for various mass-murderers throughout the years.

    No, Afghanistani women are not a good enough reason for us to be at war.

  25. 29 Kevin August 4, 2010 at 4:55 am

    “Is the war in Afghanistan pointless?”

    I guess the answer depends on who you are and what you claim to believe. Does it not.

    3 Ne. 12: 43-44
    43 And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;
    44 But behold I say unto you, love your aenemies, bless them that curse you, do bgood to them that hate you, and cpray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

    • 30 Mike Walters August 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

      That’s fine until they cut my daughter’s nose off, or crash a plane into my place of business, or open fire at a graduation ceremony in Fort Hood, or plant a bomb in Time’s square.

  26. 31 Mike Walters August 6, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Once again you reveal your complete and utter ignorance about the history of this region, and this conflict. President Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over bin Laden on September 12, 2001. Mullah Omar who was and is the supreme leader of the Taliban refused. A delegation from Pakistan headed by ISI general Faiz Gilani (ISI is Inter-Services Intelligence similar to the CIA) traveled to Kandahar to convince Omar to cooperate. Omar came up with a list of demands including political recognition, and cessation of support for his Afghani foe Massoud (Please refer to my earlier posts for details regarding this individual.) While the Taliban stalled, bin Laden slipped across the porous northern Pakistani border.

    But let’s back up a bit and examine whether women (and all Afghani’s) really were better off in 1978, and let’s examine whether the US really was to blame for the political situation in Afghanistan during this time. In order to understand the Afghani political situation in the late 70’s one must go back even further to 1919. Lenin was the first foreign power to recognize Afghanistan. Given that the Soviets were to the immediate north, and that Lenin’s new Bolshevist regime needed allies to give it credibility, it made sense for the two new countries to recognize and support each other. Over the years that followed the USSR invested millions in aid into Afghanistan. They built roads, railways, telegraph lines etc… Most importantly they provided significant military aid, and training.
    Afghanistan largely sat out during WWII, but had leanings toward the German Nazi party. They complied however when in September 1941 Britain and the Soviet Union jointly demanded that they expel 210 German nationals; especially after seeing neighboring Iran invaded by a joint British/Soviet force. After WWII the British left India, and relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan soured over the Durand Line (I will not discuss this here) leaving Afghanistan even more under the influence of the Soviets. In the 1950’s the USSR continued to invest heavily in Afghani infrastructure, and military aid.

    During this time the US busied itself with the paranoid notion that world communism had to be stopped. Thus it created treaties such as NATO. It also created a corresponding treaty in central asia CENTO. (The Central Treaty Organization) This treaty was signed by Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan. Afghanistan was not invited to join because of their poor relations with Pakistan, and their close ties to the Soviets. Thus Mohammed Daoud (the Afghan president at the time) turned to Moscow for military aid, just as his predecessors had done. Over the next 2 decades over 3,700 Afghani military officers received training in the USSR, which included communist indoctrination.

    Fast Forward to 1965. During this year the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) was founded which was a communist party with very close ties to Moscow. Daoud during his reign had attempted to modernize much of Afghanistan, but he was very heavy handed. He had a tendency to imprison or execute anyone who disagreed with him. In addition he had soured his relationship with Moscow by trying build foreign alliances without their approval. (What nerve!) Thus in April 1978 himself, and the rest of the royal family were killed in a military coup by the Marxist PDPA. In October of 1978 the PDPA attempted to implement widespread communist reform which included among other things seizure of all privately owned land, and socialization of the banks. In response over half of the military enlisted personnel deserted taking their weapons with them, and the country erupted into civil war. On December 12, 1979 Brezhnev (the Soviet Premier) decided to send the Red army into Afghanistan to support the PDPA communist regime.

    During all this time the Carter administration in Washington pretended that they did not notice what was occurring in Southern Asia. The American people were still very disgruntled about our involvement in Vietnam, and wanted no part of foreign wars.

    The Mujahideen united in response to the Soviet invasion. As the war began, Pakistan took a very different approach than the US. They were concerned that if the Soviet army overran Afghanistan, Pakistan might be next. With a hostile India to their South, they could not afford to be isolated between two enemies. The president of Pakistan Zia-Ul-Haq spearheaded a campaign of international aid to the Mujahideen which included money and arms from Egypt, Turkey, Britain, China, and Switzerland. All of this aid was funneled through the ISI, so Pakistan could pursue a policy of denial and neutrality on the surface. In 1980 Zia turned down an offer of $400 million in aid from President Carter calling it “peanuts.” Thus in the initial stages of the conflict, US involvement was minimal to none. Over time the US upped it’s contribution ultimately providing $3.2 billion under Reagan who was decidedly more anti-communist than Carter. Finally the Soviets were defeated. In 1986 Gorbachev declared that Afghanistan was a bleeding wound. Beginning in January 1987 USSR forces ceased offensive combat operations and in 1988 accords were signed in Geneva giving the Soviets 9 months to pull out.

    “Women were in a good place in 1978 in Afghanistan under the government of that time when the US funded the warlords and drug lords to fight against the government of Afghanistan and the Soviets who were invited there by that government. We were partly responsible for the downfall of that government”
    -Radical Mormon

    Thus we see that your contention that the US stirred up a Soviet war in Afghanistan is false. Furthermore your suggestion that the Afghani’s wanted the communist government of the PDPA is false. Your suggestion that the Soviets were invited into Afghanistan, and were welcome there is also false. Ultimately the downfall of the PDPA government was the will of the Afghani people, because they refused to cooperate with the confiscation of their land and property under the communist PDPA. They were assisted by many nations, and the United States was a late player in that arena. It is likely that the Mujahideen would have been successful without the help of the US. And by the way, the Mujahiden were not drug traffickers, that practice was pioneered by the Taliban.

    Finally, I find your position to be hypocritical, and biased. You would preach oppression in exchange for peace. You sit in the comfort of the United States enjoying the freedoms which are secured to you through the blood and sacrifice of others. You do nothing to make a difference for good in this world, yet spend all of your time pointing the finger of scorn at those who have left the security and comfort of home, and put themselves in harms way to secure freedom for you and others. Your opinions are based on hatred, and prejudice. It is blatantly obvious that you have taken no time to educate yourself concerning the history of this region, which calls into question all your opinions.

    I am warlike. It turn out that there are things in this world which are worth fighting for. The war in heaven was fought over the issue of freedom. That war continues in this sphere. What gives you the right to decide that the Afghani’s do not deserve a chance at freedom?

    Do not bother to reply to this post I will not be back to your site.

  27. 32 theradicalmormon August 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Since you are apparently abandoning this debate, the following is for the edification of anyone still following it.

    Wow. Sounds like the war is really doing a number on you brother.

    Now that you’ve presented your version of history (I feel like Hugh Nibley after reading Fawn Brodie’s version of Joseph Smith’s story… “No Maam, that’s not history”), let me present to the rest of you what I think really happened. The reason I believe this version of the story is because of my study of US intervention in other nations with similar stories. There’s a lot of pattern recognition involved and the pattern fits perfectly. Also, Michael Parenti has been solid in other ways and I find his stuff impeccable. Here’s an excerpt of what he said:

    “Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged, with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only 3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973, the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic, corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side of the demonstrators.

    “The military officers who took charge invited the PDP to form a new government under the leadership of Noor Mohammed Taraki, a poet and novelist. This is how a Marxist-led coalition of national democratic forces came into office. “It was a totally indigenous happening. Not even the CIA blamed the USSR for it,” writes John Ryan, a retired professor at the University of Winnipeg, who was conducting an agricultural research project in Afghanistan at about that time.

    The Taraki government proceeded to legalize labor unions, and set up a minimum wage, a progressive income tax, a literacy campaign, and programs that gave ordinary people greater access to health care, housing, and public sanitation. Fledgling peasant cooperatives were started and price reductions on some key foods were imposed.

    The government also continued a campaign begun by the king to emancipate women from their age-old tribal bondage. It provided public education for girls and for the children of various tribes. A report in the San Francisco Chronicle (17 November 2001) noted that under the Taraki regime Kabul had been “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs—-in the 1980s, there were seven female members of parliament. Women drove cars, traveled and went on dates. Fifty percent of university students were women.”

    The Taraki government moved to eradicate the cultivation of opium poppy. Until then Afghanistan had been producing more than 70 percent of the opium needed for the world’s heroin supply. The government also abolished all debts owed by farmers, and began developing a major land reform program. Ryan believes that it was a “genuinely popular government and people looked forward to the future with great hope.”

    “But serious opposition arose from several quarters. The feudal landlords opposed the land reform program that infringed on their holdings. And tribesmen and fundamentalist mullahs vehemently opposed the government’s dedication to gender equality and the education of women and children.

    Because of its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies the Taraki government also incurred the opposition of the US national security state. Almost immediately after the PDP coalition came to power, the CIA, assisted by Saudi and Pakistani military, launched a large scale intervention into Afghanistan on the side of the ousted feudal lords, reactionary tribal chieftains, mullahs, and opium traffickers.

    A top official within the Taraki government was Hafizulla Amin, believed by many to have been recruited by the CIA during the several years he spent in the United States as a student. In September 1979, Amin seized state power in an armed coup. He executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.

    It should be noted that all this happened before the Soviet military intervention. National security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly admitted–months before Soviet troops entered the country–that the Carter administration was providing huge sums to Muslim extremists to subvert the reformist government. Part of that effort involved brutal attacks by the CIA-backed mujahideen against schools and teachers in rural areas.

    In late 1979, the seriously besieged PDP government asked Moscow to send a contingent of troops to help ward off the mujahideen (Islamic guerrilla fighters) and foreign mercenaries, all recruited, financed, and well-armed by the CIA. The Soviets already had been sending aid for projects in mining, education, agriculture, and public health. Deploying troops represented a commitment of a more serious and politically dangerous sort. It took repeated requests from Kabul before Moscow agreed to intervene militarily.

    “The Soviet intervention was a golden opportunity for the CIA to transform the tribal resistance into a holy war, an Islamic jihad to expel the godless communists from Afghanistan. Over the years the United States and Saudi Arabia expended about $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan. The CIA and its allies recruited, supplied, and trained almost 100,000 radical mujahideen from forty Muslim countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself. Among those who answered the call was Saudi-born millionaire right-winger Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.

    “After a long and unsuccessful war, the Soviets evacuated the country in February 1989. It is generally thought that the PDP Marxist government collapsed immediately after the Soviet departure. Actually, it retained enough popular support to fight on for another three years, outlasting the Soviet Union itself by a year.

    Upon taking over Afghanistan, the mujahideen fell to fighting among themselves. They ravaged the cities, terrorized civilian populations, looted, staged mass executions, closed schools, raped thousands of women and girls, and reduced half of Kabul to rubble. In 2001 Amnesty International reported that the mujahideen used sexual assault as “a method of intimidating vanquished populations and rewarding soldiers.’”

    Ruling the country gangster-style and looking for lucrative sources of income, the tribes ordered farmers to plant opium poppy. The Pakistani ISI, a close junior partner to the CIA, set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA’s arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland became the biggest producer of heroin in the world.

    Largely created and funded by the CIA, the mujahideen mercenaries now took on a life of their own. Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah’s name against the purveyors of secular “corruption.”

    In Afghanistan itself, by 1995 an extremist strain of Sunni Islam called the Taliban—heavily funded and advised by the ISI and the CIA and with the support of Islamic political parties in Pakistan—fought its way to power, taking over most of the country, luring many tribal chiefs into its fold with threats and bribes.

    The Taliban promised to end the factional fighting and banditry that was the mujahideen trademark. Suspected murderers and spies were executed monthly in the sports stadium, and those accused of thievery had the offending hand sliced off. The Taliban condemned forms of “immorality” that included premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality. They also outlawed all music, theater, libraries, literature, secular education, and much scientific research.

    The Taliban unleashed a religious reign of terror, imposing an even stricter interpretation of Muslim law than used by most of the Kabul clergy. All men were required to wear untrimmed beards and women had to wear the burqa which covered them from head to toe, including their faces. Persons who were slow to comply were dealt swift and severe punishment by the Ministry of Virtue. A woman who fled an abusive home or charged spousal abuse would herself be severely whipped by the theocratic authorities. Women were outlawed from social life, deprived of most forms of medical care, barred from all levels of education, and any opportunity to work outside the home. Women who were deemed “immoral” were stoned to death or buried alive.

    None of this was of much concern to leaders in Washington who got along famously with the Taliban. As recently as 1999, the US government was paying the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official. Not until October 2001, when President George W. Bush had to rally public opinion behind his bombing campaign in Afghanistan did he denounce the Taliban’s oppression of women. His wife, Laura Bush, emerged overnight as a full-blown feminist to deliver a public address detailing some of the abuses committed against Afghan women.

    If anything positive can be said about the Taliban, it is that they did put a stop to much of the looting, raping, and random killings that the mujahideen had practiced on a regular basis. In 2000 Taliban authorities also eradicated the cultivation of opium poppy throughout the areas under their control, an effort judged by the United Nations International Drug Control Program to have been nearly totally successful. With the Taliban overthrown and a Western-selected mujahideen government reinstalled in Kabul by December 2001, opium poppy production in Afghanistan increased dramatically.”

  28. 33 theradicalmormon August 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    And, as for the refusal of the Taliban to hand over bin Laden… wrong again Mick. You accept the government’s official version too easily. Here is part of the real story and there are multiple other sources for this information too if you desire:

  29. 34 Mike Walters August 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    OK Curtis,

    Your message to my facebook convinced me to leave one more post.

    Suffice it to say that your sources are dubious at best. Michael Parenti is a well known anti-American socialist. You like his work because it agrees with your twisted view of reality. The point is that he is not objective. His version of Afghan history is going to be skewed against the US. The website you referenced is equally biased, and unreliable. But this is fruitless. You have swallowed so much anti-American propaganda over the last several years that at this point you are incapable of being objective. Contrary to your favorite bias, the US is not responsible for all the World’s evils. But again this is a pointless discussion.

    I am not incensed. I simply realize that you are not really interested in the truth.

    This truly will be my last post to your site, and I leave you with a prediction.

    2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

    6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;

    8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

    November 2009, Major Nidal Hasan took it upon himself to open fire on a graduation ceremony conducted at Fort Hood. 13 people were killed, and 30 were wounded. Since that shooting, it was discovered that Hasan had been in communication with radical Islamic imam Anwar al-Awlaki. On March 7, 2010 Al Qaida praised Major Hasan for his actions, and called on other muslims to do likewise :

    “The Mujahid brother Nidal Hasan has shown us what one righteous Muslim with an assault rifle can do for his religion.”

    “I am calling on every honest and vigilant Muslim…to prepare to play his due role in repelling the aggression of the enemies of Islam. This is the golden opportunity to reap the rewards of Jihad and martyrdom we have been waiting for.”

    My prediction is that armed conflicts with Muslim extremists will continue to increase in frequency. Terrorist attacks will continue and increase within the United States and elsewhere.

    The next country which will become involved in war will be Iran, and through their association with the terrorist group Hezbollah, they will launch attacks against Israel. Ultimately terrorists will obtain a nuclear weapon which they will use to destroy a major city within the US. This will lead to global nuclear war which will lead, as the above scripture indicates, to the end of all nations.

    I believe your desire for peace to be legitimate, but it will not happen in our lifetime.

    Be well my brother.

  30. 35 theradicalmormon August 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    There you go Mick! That’s the old Mick I used to know. Except for the fact that you still cannot accept anyone’s version of events besides the official US government sanctioned version. Parenti is a good man as is Chomsky and all those who seek to unveil works of darkness in our own government. It is not anti-american to seek to rectify the glaring flaws in US foreign policy. He is most decidedly socialist though, but I do not hold that against him any more than I hold being a capitalist against anyone. As far as scripture goes, being socialist is not a sin as far as I can tell in our cannon. As for swallowing anti-american propaganda, I have studied this thing out carefully for a long time now and am swallowing no propaganda. Chomsky is solidly referenced and has never put forth false information as far as I’ve checked his sources on numerous occasions.

    It would behoove all of us to listen carefully to Pres. Kimball’s words above, to put off the false gods of steel and iron, to give heed to the Savior’s teachings which promote love and peace and not war, to renounce war and proclaim peace and live as God would truly have us to live, not in hatred. It is not given to us to smite our brother or to go out into offensive wars or imperial crusades.

    As for your prediction: I don’t know that a major nuclear war will be the end of all nations. If it is a nuclear war that occurs it will probably be Israel or the US with it’s first strike policy that instigates it. If we are attacked first by terrorists (a seriously loaded word since you and your comrades in Afghanistan could easily be defined as spreaders of terror by some depending on the point of view), then there is plenty of reason for them to have done such a heinous thing, such as the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (that number is not seriously argued against by anyone anymore) and the continued massacre of civilians in Afghanistan, not to mention the continued support of Israel in all of it’s atrocities against Arab Palestinians.
    I believe that war will be a major part of the end of all nations and that the righteous will be heavily engaged in missionary work at this time as the scriptures indicate. All those who will not raise a sword against their neighbor must be gathered out to Zion or the New Jerusalem.
    I hope to be standing in the holy place the Lord speaks of there.

  31. 36 Kevin August 12, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Amen. I wish I could express what I feel and think as well as you do, RM.

  32. 37 Ben November 28, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I wish I could do so much more, I have left, like Lehi did, and occasionally hold out hope that I was wrong. First let me say there’s no such thing as a fallen prophet because God would kill him first. There are false prophets and true prophets, no fallen ones. Now let me say what can save America and spare even more than just a residue or remnant of the saints when it hits, no votes, no legislation, nothing can save a nation whose enemy is not China, is not the Secret Combinations, but is the very One of Israel whose sword and arm cannot be held back. He is the One who can stay His own arm and sword if He chooses based on the prayers, and faith of that nation’s people. Ah I hear them saying in one accord that they have faith but have forgotten what works can be claimed as faith: doing what the Prophet says, and this is what Pres.Monson and all the others have said repeatedly: listen to the Holy Ghost and do what it says. And also understand Isaiah because it reveals the entire last days events in their entirety. Because the saints do not know why the sword hangs above them, I assume they did not understand Isaiah. There’s no time here to explain, and there’s no use. When death comes, do not fear, we all make mistakes and the sword strikes all of us from time to time, it does not mean we are condemned, not all who died in the Flood of Noah were sons of perdition, many babies drowned were noble elect, and even of the adults not all were completely culpable. Even Moses, even the Apostles made mistakes. So I don’t judge, I merely state the facts that a sword is about to fall and only a remnant or residue will be spared. Farewell until we’re all clothed and crowned at our next meeting my dear brothers and sisters!

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