Conversation between Professor Noam Chomsky and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers December 17 2010 Douglas Mackey facilitating
Prof. Chomsky: Hello, good to talk to you.
Hakim: Thank you for taking the time off to talk to us. We know you have a busy schedule, so I’ll just ask one of the boys to ask the first question.
Abdulai: My name is Abdulai.Hakim: Abdulai is asking on behalf of the youth this question: Obama had announced in his diagnostic December review that the U.S. is making significant progress in Afghanistan. Could you please comment on this review being a ‘diagnostic’ review rather than a real, evaluative review? Of facts on the ground, for example, — facts about health, education, food security, water security, electricity
Prof. Chomsky: Well of course you know vastly more about what’s happening in Afghanistan than I do. I only know from secondary sources but it’s worth noting that a few days ago the ICRC released a report which is extremely unusual for them, -they rarely do it,- in which they said that the situation on the ground has deteriorated radically. They gave particulars and said it’s now far worse than it’s been in the past.They’re actually working there and have experience.Plainly that’s not consistent with the picture of progress.
Hakim: Thank you. We are aware of the ICRC report that the situation is the worst over the past 30 years. Among the ordinary people of Afghanistan, we know on the ground that in all the various sectors of development the systems are near collapse. It is unusual that Obama should be calling this significant progress. For example in health we have one of the worst indices of maternal mortality in the world. We have the worst food security in the world. More than 50% of the people of Afghanistan do not have clean water. Education, though touted as one of the areas of success, is riddled with corruption and the lack of trained and qualified teachers.