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IN his letter headlined ‘Shannon stopover critics hide behind US security shelter’ (January 25), Jim Forde responds to the letter (January 18) from John Lannon of Shannonwatch who criticises what he believes is Ireland’s effective involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the compromise of its neutrality.
Mr Forde criticises Mr Lannon’s “anti-American views” saying, among other things, that Irish involvement does not compromise our neutrality, that the US will completely withdraw from Iraq within a year and that a deadline has been established for its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
I cannot see how Ireland’s neutrality is not under threat if it takes part, even indirectly, in the illegal war against Iraq and supports NATO in the war in Afghanistan.
Further, I am very sceptical about the US completely withdrawing from Iraq when it has established, or is establishing, 14 military bases and the largest US embassy compound in the world there.
In any case, when the US has vital strategic and economic interests in a country or a region it tends to get there and stay there for a long time.
In Iraq there are huge oil reserves. The US also needs military bases in Iraq to influence Iran and Syria. As there are vital US strategic and economic interests in the region that encompasses Afghanistan, and indeed in Afghanistan itself, I can’t see the US leaving that country soon either. What the US needs in Afghanistan is a compliant government, whether the existing one or a Taliban regime, that will “invite” it to stay.
Mr Forde challenges Mr Lannon to say if he supports the internecine and inter-tribal strife in Iraq and Afghanistan or the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan?
Well, we know the attitude of the senior US commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, because he has raised the prospect of a negotiated peace with the Taliban. British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband also wants to bring the Taliban into the “political process”.
Of course associating with the Taliban isn’t a new policy for the US and Britain. The Taliban was created by Saudi Arabia and the Pakistan intelligence service with the approval of the CIA and with the usual lackey support of the British government for US foreign policy. The US ally, Saudi Arabia, financed the Taliban’s march on Kabul. The US supported the Taliban because it needed them to stabilise Afghanistan so that the American company Unocal, supported by Enron, could build a gas pipeline through Afghanistan to the coast of Pakistan.
Finally, being opposed to US foreign policy is not anti-Americanism. It is what it is.
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