Obama and the just war
In his acceptance speech of the Nobel peace prize president Barrack Obama insisted that 'his' Afghanistan war is a 'just' war. “I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world.”
Our peace organisation, Vrede, is not per definition against all expressions of violence. We absolutely favour political solutions but we do recognise the right of the peoples to defend themselves against invasion and occupation (so does the Charter of the United Nations). A state has the right to have an army but in our view only in the context of defensive defense at the lowest level possible. Intervention wars in a far away country do not correspond at all to this concept. Any angle you choose to look at the Afghanistan war, will learn you that this is an intervention war motivated by revenge.
In its analysis, our peace organisation still takes an other form of justified violence into account. Against any violent utterance of 'structural violence' we think that the oppressed majority of the population does have the right to use social, for pure defensive, counter violence. We think of those groups and liberation movements which in their search for fundamental social justice are blocked in this political struggle by repression and violence and see no other way out than to take up arms.
Through the qualification of the Afghan war as a just war against evil, president Obama keeps on seeing Al Qaeda and the Taliban as one common enemy. But the Taliban did not blow up the New York Twin Towers. Caution, to me the Taliban represent an ultraconservative current, which is defending at the very first place a particular feudal social economic order, with big excesses in oppressing women. Religion is (mis)used, so we do think, in order to be able to continue this feudal order.
Al Qaeda can feel at ease in this part of the world because of the situation of global apartheid in which the 'international community' is limited tot the western countries, and in which a policy of double standards has become the rule. Terrorism can and is to be fought with the instruments of the existing judicial system not with armies: criminal right for the interior, and international right and the Geneva conventions for the supranational level.
With wording like “to bear the burden of war” and “because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity”, president Obama is spreading a cover up to hide the real reason of this war. We think that Afghanistan represents a particularly important chess piece that enables the West to open up the Central Asian resources in competition with the so called emerging nations.
Belgian reconfirms its support for this project. The new minister of external affairs, Steven Vanackere, commented his meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, that Belgian might develop its efforts outside the mere military sector. He spoke of strengthening civil society and named particularly police forces (sic). The Belgian budget 2010 will spend 76 million euro for the military presence in Afghanisan and 12 million for civil projects.
December 11 the council of ministers followed a proposal of the minister of defense, Pieter De Crem, to increase the Belgian military presence in Afghanistan with some 30 troops, from February 2010 till end of January 2011. We are close to some 600 Belgian soldiers in Afghanistan. Some days later in a dialogue with his US counterpart De Crem uttered the possibility to keep the Belgian troops longer in Afghanistan over the actuel limit date. Belgium is really seeking to be the better private in this Nobel prize winner's just war.
It is probably right to keep on saying that Obama is the best thing that could happen tot the United States (and to the world), indeed McCain would have been notably worse. But the best between warmonging Republicans and Democratic just-war-adepts doesn't merit a Nobel prize for peace. And it absolutely is no reason that our country should follow the US in the military quagmire of Afghanistan.