Friday, May 17, 2013

Let them eat poop!

Will the wonders of US emancipation through war & occupation never cease to amaze!?  Here Afghan children are fetching water for their families from a streaming river near Kabul that looks more like an overflowing cesspool. Cholera & diarrhea epidemics are very real & deadly health risks from contaminated water. Diarrhea is the second highest cause of infant deaths worldwide: in 2009, it reportedly caused the the deaths of 1.1 million people over the age of 5 (many of them elderly) & 1.5 million deaths of children under the age of 5.

The US military is fully apprised of this catastrophe. According to a US Army study, water pollution from raw sewage is the worst environmental problem in Afghanistan & one of the worst health threats to deployed personnel. (Well at least they care about the soldiers!) The study of water contamination found a majority of wells contaminated with fecal or e-coli bacteria as well as other biological, nuclear & chemical contaminants. Some reports try to attribute the contamination to loss of Afghanistan’s glaciers, drought, agriculture & livestock-raising, & the reactionary canard of too many people. But how the hell do nuclear & chemical contaminants come from goat & sheep manure!? Or drought!? That’s the contamination that comes from war: from the use of depleted uranium, from military vehicles, from weaponry, from land mines, from drone bombing.

In 2002, a UN agency reported the complete neglect of waste management systems in Afghanistan with household & medical waste (we’re talking bacteria & viruses) discarded on streets. With no sewage treatment facilities, human feces floated in open sewers flowing into rivers & contaminating groundwaters. This is the result of water privatization that is part of IMF-World Bank neoliberal policies formulated since the 1990s. Neoliberal water policy combined with the US-NATO war has made water--one of the most vital elements of human life--a porridge of feces, poisons, & diseases for the Afghan people.

The Pentagon spends a considerable amount of research money developing water purification systems for the military bases. A portable, efficient water treatment unit has been developed by Pentagon-bankrolled scientists at Sam Houston State University in Texas but the generals haven’t been willing to fund these systems adequately for US troops. So you can be sure they aren’t part of any “emancipation program” for the people of Afghanistan.

UNICEF & other UN agencies, USAID, & the World Bank, claim they’re working with officials in the Afghan government to address the problem. But in ten years they haven’t been able to accomplish a damn thing. That’s because if you look at who they’re “working with” you’ll see they’re the same officials USAID & the CIA (is there a distinction?) are stuffing with bribe money. UNICEF, which claims its mandate is providing humanitarian aid to children, says it’s trying to “work around the war” to provide clean water. Has it ever considered condemning the war? Or in the interests of children, organizing against the war? Fat chance!!

End the US-NATO war against Afghanistan! Bring the troops home now! And cut the crap!

(Photo by Anja Niedringhaus/AP)

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