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The US government, as of 28/09/10, has waived a requirement that prohibited the government of Afghanistan from aiding or cooperating with America’s #1 enemies of the moment, the terrorist organisations known as the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Also under the requirement was the condition that Afghanistan cooperated with US efforts to reduce poppy cultivation and illicit drug trafficking. This requirement, too, has been waived.
The requirement was part of the “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2010″, and concerned funding for the Afghan government – a sum of money “Not to exceed $2,761,500,000″. In this Act, under the heading of “International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement”, there is [sorry, was] a pre-requisite that $55,000,000 of that figure MAY NOT be obligated for their assistance UNLESS the Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) certifies that the Government of Afghanistan is “cooperating fully with the United States efforts against the Taliban and Al Qaeda and to reduce poppy cultivation and illicit drug trafficking”, now this is the important part, “Provided, That the Secretary of State may waive the previous proviso IF the Secretary reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is vital to the national security interests of the United States”. (Bold and emphasis on “IF” added by me). So the Afghanistan government may cooperate with the two terrorist organisations, and not bother with reducing poppy cultivation/illicit drug trafficking, only if doing so is vital to the national security interests of the United States. Which apparently it is. Continue reading
This is a poem that I wrote a few months ago. I was inspired by a conversation that I had with a close friend on the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the conflicts throughout the world that are still ongoing today. Many of the conflicts are being fought by new generations of soldiers or “freedom fighters”, some barely more than children who inherit the history and the battles from their fathers, grandfathers or even ancestors. In this decade of warfare and violence, it appears as if there is no foreseeable end in sight; the wars are self-perpetuating, the new generations inherit the anger and the vengeance from the past and continue the fight. During the conversation, we discussed how warfare has changed from battles on horseback or on foot, using weapons such as swords which harm only the users. Throughout the course of history, weaponry has evolved to cause more damage and destruction, to the point where today we use missiles and bombs, tanks and fighters, which level cities and kill thousands of civilians. Now, warfare takes the lives of those not present on the battlefield, those who never asked for the violence. Where once battle was honourable and took trained knights or soldiers, now war is as simple as designating specific co-ordinates and launching a missile from the control room. Obviously this is just a part of warfare but serves to illustrate how battles have “evolved”, and how if we do not consciously stop the warfare, then it will continue to perpetuate with each new generation inheriting the history of violence, with no end in sight.
I don’t know the end, or how it began,
or the men that were slain, or the songs that they sang,
but I know that the battles continue this day,
for the violence remains, it is here to stay.
Fighting for freedom, for love and for peace
they clashed swords with Fate and let Death take his prizes
For out of the carnage and blood nothing rises
Save evil and sin, Destiny’s twin, blackened and twisted it rises within Continue reading