Johnson won the right to burn the flag against enforced patriotism in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 landmark decision, Texas v. Johnson. For the police to effectively nullify this right in actual practice undermines this decision at a time when it is more imperative than ever to protect the right to dissent.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan on Wednesday, May 6th. At the beginning of the meeting, she publicly apologized for the latest U.S. massacre of civilians in the U.S. war of terror being fought in Afghanistan. Since launching its war of terror in Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. has repeatedly unleashed massacres of civilians in that war-torn nation. But Clinton was not meeting with Afghanistan President Harmid Karzai and Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari to apologize for this latest war crime. The intention of the meeting was to encourage these two presidents to get more deeply involved in collaborating with the U.S. in the war on terror in this region that is so vital to U.S. imperialist interests. The two allies in the U.S. war of terror are to meet later with President Obama, and Clinton is laying the groundwork for that meeting.
In this latest atrocity it is not yet known how many were killed. On Monday evening Mohammad Nieem Qadderdan, a former district official of Bala Buluk, said between 100 and 120 people were killed in the attacks. On Wednesday the International Red Cross stated that there were "dozens of bodies in each of the two locations." According to the Red Cross, "There were bodies, there were graves, and there were people burying bodies when we were there. We do confirm women and children. There were women and children." Two Afghan villages were bombed in U.S. air attacks. While Clinton said the U.S. “deeply, deeply" regretted the loss of life, she did not apologize for the U.S. war of terror which makes these massacres a regular occurrence. The U.S. has issued similar apologies in the past and then continued the war to kill even more Afghans. But then civilians are merely necessary “collateral damage” to the U.S. war machine.
Karzai and Zardari are in Washington to be pressured and bribed into getting their two nations even more firmly involved with the crimes of U.S. imperialism. Karzai, the U.S. Afghan puppet fawned at Clinton’s side. He stated, “Madame Secretary, do have full confidence in us." For the last seven plus years Karzai has continued to serve as the front man for the U.S. in Afghanistan. Occasionally he condemns some of the worst U.S. atrocities, but only to keep up the illusion that he is not a puppet of the U.S. and to keep some political support from various factions within Afghanistan.
Zardari was also in D.C. to show he can be subservient to the U.S. Empire as well. He stated, "Pakistan's democracy will deliver...we are up to the challenge."
Clinton made clear that the U.S. demands cooperation from both Afghanistan and Pakistan. She referred to Karzai and Zardari as leaders "who are leading their countries at a difficult time in history, who are working hard to maintain and nurture democracy and who understand that we face a common enemy. We may come from different places and have different backgrounds but we are facing a common enemy and therefore we have found common cause." But despite using the word “democracy,” that is not what she or other U.S. leaders have in mind. [To show the nature of “democracy” in Afghanistan, Karzai recently picked a notorious war lord and human rights abuser as one of his VP running mates in the upcoming election.] The cause she is referring to is the domination of the region by the U.S., in the furtherance of the goal of worldwide U.S. hegemony.
Zardari and Karzai are meeting with U.S. leaders to be told what role they will play on behalf of U.S. imperialism. If they play ball they will be rewarded. Obama has offered Pakistan $1.5 billion annually in military aid, as well as additional economic aid. Karzai is literally dependent for his life on the U.S. He is protected 24/7 by U.S-paid bodyguards. The U.S. also hand picked and installed him as the President on Afghanistan at the beginning of the war of terror.
Since coming into office the Obama administration has made clear that control of the area of the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan is critical to victory in the U.S. war of terror. In this area the Islamic fundamentalists have grown in strength since the launch of the war. When the Taliban was driven from power in the early months of the war, many of them sought refuge in the border region. Since then they and other Islamic fundamentalist forces have expanded their base in this region and they are now in major contention with Pakistani government forces, in addition to being regularly attacked by U.S.-led forces based in Afghanistan.
The U.S. under Obama has stepped up missile strikes against some of these forces in Pakistan and armed and trained Pakistani government forces as well. [These missile strikes have also resulted in increased civilian casualties.] Obama has also escalated the war within Afghanistan and this year the U.S. intends to introduce at least 30,000 more troops into the country. Obama is also increasing U.S. military aid to Pakistan in order to get the government even more deeply involved in the war.
The purpose of this week’s high-level meetings is to continue to put pressure on Karzai and Zardari to go along with the U.S. escalation of the war of terror in their respective nations. This added pressure is bearing results for the U.S. On May 6th the Pakistani army launched attacks against the Taliban in the northwestern region of Pakistan. It appears that there will also be a larger Pakistani military offensive launched soon in this area. The U.S. is pressuring Pakistan to make this a sustained military operation rather than a short offensive as has happened in the past. One of Obama’s reasons to meet with Zardari is to deliver this message.
The Obama administration is also deeply concerned that Pakistan is a nuclear power. With the growing unrest within Pakistan as it is dragged into the war of terror, the U.S. is worried about the security of Pakistani nukes. On May 6th White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stated, "The president is deeply concerned about the security situation. That's why we're sending additional troops to Afghanistan and that's why we'll talk with both the Afghans and the Pakistanis about our renewed commitment in helping them seek the aid that they need to address those extremists."
Also on May 6th U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke reiterated the stakes for the U.S. He stated, "our most vital national security interests are at stake" in Pakistan. Holbrooke has been regularly meeting with leaders in the area to keep the pressure on them to actively cooperate with the U.S. He has also repeatedly met with Indian leaders. Pakistan and India have been in contention for decades and these meetings further put the pressure on Pakistan which fears India’s closeness to the U.S.
In fighting its war of terror the U.S. has ironically strengthened various fundamentalist Islamic forces in the region with which it is in contention. Many of the people in this region feel that they are forced to choose between the reactionary forces of U.S. imperialism or the reactionary forces of the Islamic fundamentalists which are fighting the U.S. imperialists. In Afghanistan the crimes of the U.S. and its puppet government have engendered much resistance and unfortunately much of this resistance has been co-opted by the Islamic fundamentalists.
This has also occurred in the border regions and other places within Pakistan where many people have become victims of the war of terror. But the people of these two countries have no interest in siding with either the U.S. imperialists or the reactionary forces of Islamic fundamentalism. Both of these forces represent outmoded systems that must be eliminated if people are to progress.
But the U.S. and it collaborators and the fundamentalist forces on the other side are waging a battle to enlist allies in their reactionary causes. That is why the U.S. has invited Pakistani and Afghan leaders to Washington.
In this latest round of high-level talks between the leaders in the U.S. and Pakistan and Afghanistan the U.S. will emphasize the “common cause.” But the common cause interests of the ruling classes of these three nations are not in the interests of the people of these countries or of the people of the world. We have no interest in the U.S. continuing its war of terror. This war will only continue to kill and maim and destroy. And if the U.S. “wins,” it will only mean domination and hegemony by and for the U.S. imperialists. The very nature and existence of U.S. imperialism leads to daily misery and death throughout the world for billions of people. Why would the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan want to unite in “common cause” for such a result? And why would we, who live in the belly of the beast of the U.S. empire, have any interest in assisting our leaders to continue their war of terror? It is not our common cause.
World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.