Last night I appeared on ABCTV’s The Drum (video here) talking about a range of Australian issues, Afghanistan and Murdoch thuggery in Britain.
Having just returned from Pakistan and Afghanistan, I talked about the reality of life in the latter under Western occupation and what’s likely to happen once most troops leave at the end of 2014. After more than a decade and tens of billions of aid (see this telling photo by my friend Benjamin Gilmour who just returned from Kabul and Herat) the nation is in a state of (mostly) chaos. Resistance to American and Australian forces have undoubtedly led to a Western defeat but what comes next? Many Afghans I met said they feared what would happen after the West leaves. This wasn’t because they wanted them to stay, although some did, but that Western aid and development should in some way assist the state. The time for war is long over.
I explained on the program that the West have empowered thuggish warlords; we’ve trained, armed and funded men with a horrific record in the name of “stability”. In reality, it’s created the opposite. I was researching the role of private militias and intelligence companies, both of which have corrupted the democratic process.
I heard over and over again how little America and its allies knew about Afghanistan despite spending more than 10 years fighting the Taliban and other forces.
In relation to the ongoing Murdoch saga in Britain, I argued that News International could rightly be called a mafia-like organisation and James Murdoch, who just gave testimony last night to the Leveson Inquiry, openly explained the intimacy between the Tories and his corporation (not that things were any better or different during the days of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown).