US Launches Massive Attack On Taliban Despite Olympic Truce

In ancient Greece, the Olympics festival were a sacred time of truce. For the duration of the games, the conflicts between cities such as Sparta and Athens were resolved within the Stadiums, not on the battlefields. When the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre De Coubertin, organized the 1896 Olympics in Athens he had the very same intention.

Pierre De Coubertin re-originated the idea that while the Olympics can instill a sense of national pride, the games’ goal must be to promote cooperation between the world’s nations and promote peace. Well, apparently the Obama administration, and more specifically General McChrystal- the commander in Afghanistan- forgot to read Pierre De Coubertin’s memo.

Last night, thousands of US, NATO and Canadian troops launched a massive offensive in the Marjah district of Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. The force is 15,000 soldiers strong, according to the NATO command, and it is being led by US Marines but also includes Afghan soldiers. The operation is concentrated on the town of Marjah, a Taliban stronghold, which has a population of 125,000 people. President Karzai warned against civilian casualties after the offensive began.

The offensive is the biggest military assault in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion 8 years ago. It comes after the Obama administration announced an additional 30,000 troops on top of the 113,000 foreign soldiers already stationed in the country.

The offensive seems to be in contradiction with the Afghanistan conference, which took place last month in London. During the one day event, President Karzai made the proposal that lower level Taliban should be brought into a negotiation process. President Karzai claimed that such move is the only way to start a reconciliation process in the deeply divided country. The Western powers, including the US, militarily involved in Afghanistan agreed on Karzai’s proposal. Yet, the Obama administration decided last night against “the carrot” deal making approach with the Taliban to favor the “very big stick” tactic.

During the Vietnam war, this type of fundamental policy contradiction was summed up by “Candy in the morning, napalm in the afternoon”. This is exactly what the Obama administration is currently doing in Afghanistan by unleashing hell on the Taliban stronghold: Pretending to have a carrot while in reality you are just planning to use a big stick. Vancouver has currently a shortage of snow, which is not very good when you are hosting the winter Olympics, but this is nothing compared to the shortage of  the Olympic spirit of truce displayed in spade by the US, NATO and Canada in Afghanistan.

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