The Guardian March 20, 2002


Rumsfeld's "Blitzkrieg" to dominate Central Asia

by Sara Founders

"Blitzkrieg"  the devastatingly effective Nazi war strategy  is how 
Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld describes current US military strategy 
in Afghanistan. Rumsfeld maintains, that the Pentagon must shift its 
priorities to building a high-tech military capable of launching similar 
lightning strikes across the world. (Financial Times, 1/2/02)

Blitzkrieg is the term the Nazis used for their rapid advance across Europe 
to conquer markets, resources and territory for German capital. Rumsfeld's 
use of the same belligerent word Hitler's generals used is not an 
accidental slip. He was speaking at a war college  the National Defense 
University  to the very officers and strategists who are planning future 
US wars.

Along with Nazi military terminology, Rumsfeld made it clear he was 
embracing the Nazi justification of overwhelming force and pre-emptive 
strikes. "The best defence and in some case the only defence is a good 
offence," he said.

Rumsfeld also underscored the developing view of US imperialism that other 
imperialist countries, which are at the same time allies and competitors, 
"must not be given a veto over US military goals".

Encirclement and occupation

In blitzkrieg fashion the Pentagon smashed into Central Asia, using the 
excuse of a "war against terrorism" to establish a permanent military 
presence in oil-rich Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan, 
four bases in Afghanistan and four more in Pakistan.

The rapidly expanding US military occupation is arousing deep apprehension 
among all the countries in the region.

Articles in the Pakistani, Indian and Russian press, and a number of 
European newspapers, have raised alarm regarding the long-term US presence 
in the heart of Asia.

Kommersant  Russia's main business newspaper stated, "The main 
goal of the military presence is to uphold the economic interests of US 
companies, primarily the oil and gas sectors."

Another Russian newspaper warned, "The so-called honeymoon in relations 
between Russia and Washington, which started after the September 11 
attacks, seems to be gradually developing into a new cold war."

Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army General 
Fu Quanyou warned that positioning US troops in Kazakhstan, which shares a 
1000-mile border with China, "poses a direct threat to China's security".

Now US oil corporations are rushing to consolidate their position. The 
Hindustan Times of India reported (3/2/02) that a consortium has 
revived plans to build a gas pipeline that will link gas fields in 
Turkmenistan to India after stretching 1000 miles across Afghanistan.

At the beginning of the last century the Caspian region generated one-half 
of the world's petroleum. The Nobel and Rockefeller dynasties built vast 
fortunes based on their ownership of this valuable resource. But after the 
socialist Russian Revolution in 1917, these resources belonged to the many 
peoples of the Soviet federation of socialist states.

Nevertheless, the giant oil monopolies never gave up on their drive to 
reclaim these vast fortunes. Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet 
Union, oil company executives flooded back into the Central Asian republics 
to reclaim their past wealth through new privatisation schemes and pipeline 
routes.

Today the Bush administration is top-heavy with CEOs from oil and gas 
corporations that have an enormous stake in the control and development of 
resources in this region. These lucrative contracts, worth billion of 
dollars, only have value if they are backed up and defended by military 
force.

War is not over

The U.S. military command secured its position in Afghanistan through a 
terror campaign of high-altitude bombing and overwhelming force. The 
tactics utilised by this occupation army are beginning to leak out into the 
US and world media.

On January 23, Pentagon commando units mistakenly identified as Taliban 
fighters some Afghan forces who were actually loyal to the US-puppet 
regime. In a night-time raid on their village, US forces reportedly shot 21 
people in their sleep. Some of the men were found shot in the back, their 
hands still bound by US-Army-issued plastic handcuffs.

Twenty-seven prisoners who were released two weeks later related that they 
had been kicked, beaten and imprisoned in cages at a US base in Kandahar.

In another incident, the Washington Post (5/2/02) reported that 
Hamid Karzai, the US-appointed president of Afghanistan, said US forces 
admitted to him that they had killed 65 innocent people on their way to his 
inauguration. US jets destroyed a convoy of vehicles near the city of 
Khost.

Almost four months of pulverising bombs have turned hundreds of villages 
into rubble. Infrastructure that barely functioned before has been 
destroyed.

Warlords are back in control of every city. Even the few United Nations 
emergency relief convoys are being looted. Hospitals are not functioning. 
In the midst of a cold winter, following a year of drought and famine, 
hundreds of thousands of refugees have been abandoned.

As in all the countries Washington has occupied  from Korea to Vietnam, 
the Philippines and Kosovo  it is unable to solve any of the enormous 
social problems it has created.

The same capitalist drive for new markets in a capitalist recession, which 
fuelled the German military blitzkrieg across Europe 60 years ago, is 
fuelling the Pentagon today. The corporate CEOs are backing military 
expansion to combat economic contraction.

But the Pentagon's vast overreach, its new bases, and the massive subsidies 
to the military-industrial complex in the form of an inflated military 
budget, have not jump-started the economy. Instead they are dragging the 
economy down, while creating a volcano of opposition abroad and growing 
anger in the United States.

* * *
Abridged. Acknowledgement to Workers Work Service ww@workers.org

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