april 14, 2011: heard marc grosssman (the new envoy to afpak, after holbrooke) speak in rochester yesterday and got a chance to talk to him.
his entire presentation had nothing to do with reality. he said that obama’s “surge” had worked, that afghanistan was doing much better now, that it was secure, that 85% of women will soon have access to healthcare. wtf. afghanistan is more insecure today than it was under the taliban. it is the 2nd poorest country in the world. more women try to commit suicide today than ever before. it’s a humanitarian catastrophe!
he kept talking about bringing peace to the region and resolving the “conflict” and being interested in afghans taking the lead, but never once did he mention the occupation!!! so that’s what i asked. the “conflict” is the occupation. until we leave there can never be a resolution – just like in vietnam. he talked about an economic surge and a diplomatic surge (after iraq, surge has become such a horrific word – he should work on his terminology) which would complement the military surge. yes, they wanted to draw down american troops and be out by 2014, altho some forces would stay behind to train etc. lol. as if we’re falling for that. they have no intentions of getting out – they r building elaborate “bases” protected by huge, steel-reinforced concrete walls in pakistani cities as we speak.
my husband asked him if he could provide one example, in human history, where terrorism was defeated thru military means. he asked why intelligence and police work and negotiation and integration, which have worked in other places at other times, couldn’t be used in afghanistan. but grossman insisted that he needed all three “surges” for the taliban r not just going to listen to us (he made a joke), they will have to be forced militarily. of course he didn’t mention the fact that the taliban control most of afghanistan – they r not a tiny fringe group that can be “forced” to do anything. another question: why r we even fighting the taliban? they have no links to intl terrorism.
someone asked about whether the u.s. can afford all of this financially. he replied that we only spend 1% of our budget on intl aid. he didn’t even mention the cost of the occupation. it’s not about economic aid, it’s about military spending – what percentage of the budget is that?
someone said who r we to set the world straight. he answered that our lives are at risk. we cannot repeat 1989 – when the u.s. abandoned afghanistan, after soviet military withdrawal. what he didn’t mention was that the present puppet govt is composed of the same drug traffickers and warlords who wreaked violence on afghanistan in 1989. the taliban were a response to that mayhem.
my husband asked him about kashmir. since the unrest in south asia is about pakistan and india, why isn’t he the envoy to afghanistan, pakistan and india? he said that had been holbrooke’s plan but india said no. that’s it? india said no? i guess that makes sense.
finally i asked him about drone attacks. i told him the number of civilian casualties last year and the year before – more than 900 people per year. he said that he was not allowed to comment on drone attacks. he said that if he could explain we would understand that the civilian casualties r not that serious. a continuation of the same policy of classifying every lie as secret information and refusing to comment or, god forbid, produce evidence.
personally, grossman seemed to lack depth. i don’t know if this was his “stupid talk” for the general public or if he actually believes all the lies that he was dishing out. he seemed shifty. he didn’t make any eye contact with me the whole time we were talking. it was impossible to get thru – his programming was just too thorough. his entire presentation was bland, generic, mendacious. it was an alternative reality presented to a media-managed audience (including a good number of educators). those r the kind of speeches they must have given to american audiences 45-50 years ago, to justify vietnam.