The “Moderates”

By B. R. Gowani

“Moderate” is the preferred word of the media and ruling class in the United States; and so, the dominant country’s dominant newspaper assembled eight people: Elizabeth Rubin, a reporter, Ali Ahmad Jalali, former interior minister of Afghanistan, Fotini Christia, a political science professor, Michael Semple, an Afghanistan specialist, Carne Ross, a former British diplomat, Nile Gardiner, of the Heritage Foundation, Gareth Price, of the Chatham House, and Greg Mills, a former security adviser in Afghanistan, to express their views on how to handle the war in Afghanistan and deal with the Taliban.

Some pointed out this is a complex situation with many facets: local grievances and enmity within various factions, in addition to the Taliban insurgency and its fight against its country’s occupation. But none of them outlined the formula for a US (and NATO) exit; instead their recommendation was that the US forces should continue their occupation of Afghanistan by operating in the background and manipulating the puppets installed through the façade of democracy.

Their suggestions that US and NATO forces should work with the “moderate” Taliban who can be, to quote one of the writers, “rented” is pure fantasy.

There is no doubt that every US government firmly believes in “moderation” at home and internationally. It never happens that when the US encounters any country that refuses to take its orders, that the country is just attacked and destroyed and then the US leaves them alone to rebuild. No! That is not in the US Operating Manual. Instead, it does things in “moderation”; that is, it occupies the place, through an overt and/or covert presence, for an extended period and destroys that country gradually, little by little. This forewarns any country thinking of placing their country’s interest over the US orders of the consequences their actions could have by disobeying the US order.

A recent example-in-process is the Latin American country of Ecuador. When the US was refused permission to renew the lease of its base in Manta, Ecuador by President Rafael Correa, the US approached Columbia, “a long-time US ally and one of the biggest recipients of US military aid in the world.” The agreement gives the US a ten year access to seven military bases. This will also allow the US to station 1400 staff, including (mercenary) private contractors. In Iraq and Afghanistan, these have achieved new heights of official terrorism and strength in numbers (As of March 2009, there were 68,197 DOD contractors in Afghanistan, compared to 52,300 uniformed personnel. Contractors made up 57% of DOD’s workforce in Afghanistan.) Ecuador and sympathetic countries (like Venezuela) in the region should consider themselves threatened.

Coming back to the subject of moderation, one should note that there is no such thing as the moderate Taliban — and it would be an equally foolish task to look for moderation in US policy. The United States ruling class is full of extremists and so are the Taliban.

The moderates, lead by Afghan President Hamid Karzai (once associated with the US CIA) whom the US put in power did not just commit simple fraud in the recent Afghan election in order to hold onto his power, but his party cheated in such immoderation that Karzai’s sponsors in the US are feeling embarrassed at the blatant rigging in the elections.

The Economist has put it as follows:

“So the unhappy options for the West are to try to reset the election, or reset Mr Karzai. In even a half-perfect world the natural response to a cheated election would be to hold another one—indeed, America at first urged Mr Karzai to re-rig the ballot so that he would win less than 50% and could thus at least hold a fairer second round.”

(The reader should be reminded that The Economist is not a leftist magazine; when it comes to US imperialism and the market economy, it wholeheartedly supports both.)

In this entire election drama nobody is asking as to what the majority of the people including the Afghan women want? The Afghan people are now fed up of the US occupation and bombing, the Taliban atrocities, the tribal jirgas “eye for an eye” law, and Karzai government’s corrupt rule (his own brother is involved in the drug business) to name a few problems, besides the economic and other hardships they face that are inherent to any developing country.

However, the common Afghan citizen who is downtrodden and a victim of circumstances, as elsewhere in the world, is yet again a speech- and power-deprived pawn in his own country.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

Comments are closed.