Yves here. One hates to say it, but of course Afghanistan Cassandras will continue to be marginal voices, the same way the very few economists who saw the financial crisis coming didn’t get more recognition as a result either. What John Maynard Keynes said of bankers is true of most human enterprise:
A “sound” banker, alas, is not one who sees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him.
And boy, was conventional thinking full of bloodlust after 9/11. I was lucky not to have a TV then (the more you watched, the more unsettled you became) but I did wind up catching a fair bit of President Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral, supposedly to commemorate the dead. It included a not terribly coded call to arms. Similarly, I went to the nearby Unitarian church the Sunday following 9/11 to hear the sermon, and was shocked at the warmongering.
By Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace and author of several books, including< a href=”https://www.orbooks.com/catalog/inside-iran-medea-benjamin/”>Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Nicolas J. S. Davies, an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
America’s corporate media are ringing with recriminations over the humiliating U.S. military defeat in Afghanistan. But very little of the criticism goes to the root of the problem, which was the original decision to militarily invade and occupy Afghanistan in the first place.
That decision set in motion a cycle of violence and chaos that no subsequent U.S. policy or military strategy could resolve over the next 20 years, in Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the other countries swept up in America’s post-9/11 wars.
While Americans were reeling in shock at the images of airliners crashing into buildings on September 11, 2001, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld held a meeting in an intact part of the Pentagon. Undersecretary Cambone’s notes from that meeting spell out how quickly and blindly U.S. officials prepared to plunge our nation into graveyards of empire in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.
Cambone wrote that Rumsfeld wanted, ”…best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. (Saddam Hussein) at same time – not only UBL (Usama Bin Laden)… Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”
So within hours of these horrific crimes in the United States, the central question senior U.S. officials were asking was not how to investigate them and hold the perpetrators accountable, but how to use this “Pearl Harbor” moment to justify wars, regime changes and militarism on a global scale.
Three days later, Congress passed a bill authorizing the president to use military force“…against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons…”
In 2016, the Congressional Research Service reported that this Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) had been cited to justify 37 distinct military operations in 14 different countries and at sea. The vast majority of the people killed, maimed or displaced in these operations had nothing to do with the crimes of September 11. Successive administrations have repeatedly ignored the actual wording of the authorization, which only authorized the use of force against those involved in some way in the 9/11 attacks.
The only member of Congress who had the wisdom and courage to vote against the 2001 AUMF was Barbara Lee of Oakland. Lee compared it to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution and warned her colleagues that it would inevitably be used in the same expansive and illegitimate way. The final words of herfloor speech echo presciently through the 20-year-long spiral of violence, chaos and war crimes it unleashed, “As we act, let us not become the evil we deplore.”
In a meeting at Camp David that weekend, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz argued forcefully for an attack on Iraq, even before Afghanistan. Bush insisted Afghanistan must come first, but privately promised Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle that Iraq would be their next target.
In the days after September 11, the U.S. corporate media followed the Bush administration’s lead, and the public heard only rare, isolated voices questioning whether war was the correct response to the crimes committed.
But former Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor Ben Ferencz spoke to NPR( National Public Radio) a week after 9/11, and he explained that attacking Afghanistan was not only unwise and dangerous, but was not a legitimate response to these crimes. NPR’s Katy Clark struggled to understand what he was saying:
…do you think that the talk of retaliation is not a legitimate response to the death of 5,000 (sic) people?
It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done.
No one is saying we’re going to punish those who are not responsible.
We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t believe in what has happened, who don’t approve of what has happened.
So you are saying that you see no appropriate role for the military in this.
I wouldn’t say there is no appropriate role, but the role should be consistent with our ideals. We shouldn’t let them kill our principles at the same time they kill our people. And our principles are respect for the rule of law. Not charging in blindly and killing people because we are blinded by our tears and our rage.
The drumbeat of war pervaded the airwaves, twisting 9/11 into a powerful propaganda narrative to whip up the fear of terrorism and justify the march to war. But many Americans shared the reservations of Rep. Barbara Lee and Ben Ferencz, understanding enough of their country’s history to recognize that the 9/11 tragedy was being hijacked by the same military-industrial complex that produced the debacle in Vietnam and keeps reinventing itself generation after generation to support andprofit fromAmerican wars, coups and militarism.
On September 28, 2001, the Socialist Workerwebsite published statements by 15 writers and activists under the heading, “Why we say no to war and hate.” They included Noam Chomsky, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan and me (Medea). Our statements took aim at the Bush administration’s attacks on civil liberties at home and abroad, as well as its plans for war on Afghanistan.
The late academic and author Chalmers Johnson wrote that 9/11 was not an attack on the United States but “an attack on U.S. foreign policy.” Edward Herman predicted “massive civilian casualties.” Matt Rothschild, the editor of The Progressivemagazine, wrote that, “For every innocent person Bush kills in this war, five or ten terrorists will arise.” I (Medea) wrote that ”a military response will only create more of the hatred against the U.S. that created this terrorism in the first place.”
Our analysis was correct and our predictions were prescient. We humbly submit that the media and politicians should start listening to the voices of peace and sanity instead of lying, delusional warmongers.
What leads to catastrophes like the U.S. war in Afghanistan is not the absence of convincing anti-war voices but that our political and media systems routinely marginalize and ignore voices like those of Barbara Lee, Ben Ferencz and ourselves.
That is not because we are wrong and the belligerent voices they listen to are right. They marginalize us precisely because we are right and they are wrong, and because serious, rational debates over war, peace and military spending would jeopardize some of the most powerful and corrupt vested interests that dominate and control U.S. politics on a bipartisan basis.
In every foreign policy crisis, the very existence of our military’s enormous destructive capacity and the myths our leaders promote to justify it converge in an orgy of self-serving interests and political pressures to stoke our fears and pretend that there are military “solutions” for them.
Losing the Vietnam War was a serious reality check on the limits of U.S. military power. As the junior officers who fought in Vietnam rose through the ranks to become America’s military leaders, they acted more cautiously and realistically for the next 20 years. But the end of the Cold War opened the door to an ambitious new generation of warmongers who were determined to capitalize on the U.S. post-Cold War“ power dividend.”
Madeleine Albright spoke for this emerging new breed of war-hawks when she confronted General Colin Powell in 1992 with her question, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
As Secretary of State in Clinton’s second term, Albright engineered th efirst of a series of illegal U.S. invasions to carve out an independent Kosovo from the splintered remains of Yugoslavia. When U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told her his government was “having trouble with our lawyers” over the illegality of the NATO war plan, Albright said they should just “get new lawyers.”
In the 1990s, the neocons and liberal interventionists dismissed and marginalized the idea that non-military, non-coercive approaches can more effectively resolve foreign policy problems without the horrors of war or deadly sanctions. This bipartisan war lobby then exploited the 9/11 attacks to consolidate and expand their control of U.S. foreign policy.
But after spending trillions of dollars and killing millions of people, the abysmal record of U.S. war-making since World War II remains a tragic litany of failure and defeat, even on its own terms. The only wars the United States has won since 1945 have been limited wars to recover small neo-colonial outposts in Grenada, Panama and Kuwait.
Every time the United States has expanded its military ambitions to attack or invade larger or more independent countries, the results have been universally catastrophic.
So our country’s absurd investment of 66% of discretionary federal spending in destructive weapons, and recruiting and training young Americans to use them, does not make us safer but only encourages our leaders to unleash pointless violence and chaos on our neighbors around the world.
Most of our neighbors have grasped by now that these forces and the dysfunctional U.S. political system that keeps them at its disposal pose a serious threat to peace and to their own aspirations fordemocracy. Few people in other countries want any part ofAmerica’s wars, or its revived Cold War against China and Russia, and these trends are most pronounced among America’s long-time allies in Europe and in its traditional “backyard” in Canada and Latin America.
On October 19, 2001, Donaldumsfeld addressed B-2 bomber crews at Whiteman AFB in Missouri as they prepared to take off across the world to inflict misdirected vengeance on the long-suffering people of Afghanistan. He told them, “We have two choices. Either we change the way we live, or we must change the way they live. We choose the latter. And you are the ones who will help achieve that goal.”
Now that dropping over 80,000 bombs and missiles on the people of Afghanistan for 20 years has failed to change the way they live, apart from killing hundreds of thousands of them and destroying their homes, we must instead, as Rumsfeld said, change the way we live.
We should start by finally listening to Barbara Lee. First, we should pass her bill to repeal the two post-9/11 AUMFs that launched our 20-year fiasco in Afghanistan and other wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Then we should pass her bill to redirect $350 billionper year from the U.S. military budget (roughly a 50% cut) to “increase our diplomatic capacity and for domestic programs that will keep our Nation and our people safer.”
Finally reining in America’s out-of-control militarism would be a wise and appropriate response to its epic defeat in Afghanistan, before the same corrupt interests drag us into even more dangerous wars against more formidable enemies than the Taliban.
Next up: brand new space weapons systems to defeat the UFO’s, and of course… China. There’s too much money at stake for it to be any other way. WASF…
I’m going to say that everybody who was totally wrong about Afghanistan will still have secure positions if not promotions. People like the Mustache of Understanding. In fact, it will be seen as a plus on their resume as it proves that they are a “team player” and a loyal member of the establishment. Anybody who criticized the occupation will continue to be marginalized if not ignored and probably they will never be booked to go on CNN or MSNBC. Maybe Tucker Carlson might have them on once or twice but otherwise none of the main stream media will touch them. And what do I see in Links today?
I spoke to a veteran communications professional who has been trying to place prominent voices supportive of the Afghanistan withdrawal on television and in print.
They told me it has been next to impossible.’
Republicans are as blood thirsty as ever. Democrats are as venal as ever. And they both swap these traits back and forth like houses in a Monopoly game while things collapse around them. Current events seem to have no effect on that. It’s like a Benny Hill skit where the car goes over the cliff and no one seems to notice as they are too busy shouting at each other. And really, they are no longer the key players anyway. The question isn’t whether Americans for sanity will be heard. It would be nice if they were, and they probably will be by some at least, but either way it won’t really matter. The question now is how long will it take for the catastrophe the US’s version of capitalist imperialism had already become by 9/11 – which was set in irreversible motion by that hapless alcohol soaked match – to complete it’s reverberations and does it indeed involve total or partial dissolution of the country and even of capitalism or is it broader still and combined with another one of its self imposed catastrophes, global warming – which our leaders (the ones who are supposed to listen to the voices of sanity) seem incapable of doing anything about including even recognizing (at least by the time it matters) – involve total or near total extinction of the human race.
This may seem a tad pessimistic; I hope it is far more so than warranted, what gets me right now though is just how biblical it seems to be turning out; pestilence and all.
thanks for that image – I’d forgotten about Benny Hill.
Thank you, Yves and the Rev.
It was noticeable that a politician, Labour’s Clive Lewis, who served in Afghanistan, opposes the war and supports the withdrawal was not invited by the speaker to speak at the Commons debate last Wednesday, but the likes of Sir Desmond Swayne were. Google Swayne. Other former veterans have found an outlet online. The UK MSM is hell bent on promoting forever war.
This said, overnight, the BBC world service featured a panel discussion of experts, including a former Pakistani ambassador to the US. The former envoy recounted how US officials and think tank types knew nothing of the ethnic and tribal influences of the region and thought they could do what the allies did to the axis after WW2. He mentioned one particular meeting where education was discussed and a debate on whether a New York or New Jersey system should be imposed and marvelled how surreal this and other meetings became. The former ambassador added that most of the money spent stayed in the US or, if it got to the region, went to Dubai soon after and how venal NGOs were, providing cover for war and lining their own pockets.
If readers can, the world service overnight is well worth a listen. It appears that people who know their stuff and talk out of turn can do so when no one is listening. If on Twitter, Anatol Lieven, Gerard Araud and Michael Clarke are particularly good.
Thank you, Colonel.
When you were talking about how they were working out whether a New York or New Jersey system would be imposed there for education, it may interest you to know they tried to do the same in Iraq. A long time ago I was reading this article about how they were trying to reform the traffic system in Iraq during the occupation, particularly Baghdad, and it was assigned to a guy on active duty who was ordinarily a cop from Milwaukee I think. All that was really needed was to get rid of the corrupt traffic cops who constantly demanded bribes from drivers but this guy downloaded the Milwaukee traffic regs and tried to bolt it onto the local regs. There would be meetings, discussions, arguments, etc. with the local Ministry but meanwhile the Iraqi drivers just kept on driving they way that they always had so nothing really changed.
Thank you, Rev.
If I was at these meetings, say, for education, I would have started to take the mickey and suggest the British system of ancient universities, public and grammar schools and sink schools for the masses, just to see how the Ivy League elite react.
Under the second Blair government, experts like Arabists were eased out and Zionist bootlickers sucked up to prominence.
What is the coverage like in Australia?
It’s entirely typical, I’m afraid. In the early days in Afghanistan, the Germans were responsible for border issues, and they simply tried to replicate their own system there (as they were later to do in Lebanon with equally disastrous results). The problem is that the systems that do exist (justice is the great classic) are not evident to western eyes: they are not “legible” in the words of James Scott. We do not understand them, and in a sense we do not see them, so we assume that they don’t exist. If they do exist, we see them as relics of barbarism, to be replaced by shiny new ideas imported from the West. Typically, an organisation (let’s say the UN) will contract an NGO (let’s say in Germany) to introduce, say, a new training system for the police. Said NGO will engage retired German policemen to draft a training programme which looks exactly like the one they are familiar with. Most of the money will find its way back to Germany. The training manuals will be written in English and only later (if you’re lucky) translated into the local language. Everyone will be very happy and the project will be called a success. A few years later, when the programme has ground to a halt and nobody is reading the manuals, another organisation (let’s say the EU) will engage another NGO (let’s say in Sweden) to do the same thing. And off we go again. If you wondered where the money goes, well, that’s where it goes.
Thank you, David.
Coverage in Australia? Pretty bad and by that I mean it is in alignment with what you see in the UK and the US. If it wasn’t for NC, I wouldn’t know that half of what I see it is patent rubbish. Just last night on the news they did a segment called answering your questions on the vaccines and the whole thing was a set-up which amounted to ‘Sure. Jump in. The water’s fine.’
Thank you, Rev.
“Under the second Blair government, experts like Arabists were eased out and Zionist bootlickers sucked up to prominence.”
The same happened in France and Italy.
In Iraq, the West has poured money to… promote organic agriculture, while the locals complain they have less water and electricity than under Saddam.
That same former Pakistan Ambassador to the US is a slick one. On one hand he notes on the BBC how the “smart guys” in the USG and “think tanks” knew nothing about tribes in Afghanistan. However here in the USA he also works along side Mikey Pompeo at the Hudson Institute, one of the loudest right wing “think tank” voices for blaming 7 months of Biden for what is happening in Afghanistan and providing intellectual cover for the next regime change wars and/or for the USA to confront “evil China”.
When you arm a whole group, train them, make promises you have no intention of keeping, and the minute you get what you want, abandon them, and then forget about them because, well, it’s what ‘murica does, who is surprised when a decade later they strike back. Why is Iran the way it is? Ask Kermit Roosevelt and BP Oil, why did the Taliban come to be, ask Charlie Wilson.
America keeps doing the same thing over and over again and thinking that no one will remember. The clutching of pearls when hostages are taken (Iran and the ayotollahs), when the Taliban strike back at the American war machine, or 9/11 happens, the average ‘murican with their lack of understanding of history or how long the rest of the world has a memory, then this will continue to happen.
When a greater percentage of the afghan army was sympathetic because they remembered what the US did when the Russians had invaded and all the broken promises made and broken and broken and broken.
How many afghans WANTED a US presence?
The fact that the US tried to clean up the mess they made with establishment of the Taliban and sweep history under the proverbial rug, is funny enough.
The American war machine is the only winner in any “conflict” when 1/3 of the oversight committees in Congress are fully invested in military contracts, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.
As I recall Tulsi Gabbard was the only candidate running for president whose primary concern was U.S. military adventurism. Not only did she lose big time but she couldn’t get a debate on the topic.
Tulsi had strong support in my community of anti-war vets, conscientious objectors and civilian allies. It’s not an especially large community – at least the ones in organizations – but should be included in voices worthy of paying attention to. Our understanding of political issues varies, but the raw reality of being informed by harsh experience certainly has merit in discourse regarding milatarism
Jacob David George (RIP) discusses the exact same phenomenon as Madea in this article – but here, he is talking about how the truth of the wars can never be part of the necessary therapy for victims of War Trauma/PTSD/Moral Injury:
I voted for her in the VA primary. The next day the results in my precinct had only of us out of exactly 1,000 voters.
Powerful video. Thanks for the link.
Among the relatively new approaches to PTSD is “post-traumatic growth,” itself part of a broader trend toward “resilience training.” Using one’s experience to help others is a prime example. However, as JDG describes so poignantly describes, his interpretation wasn’t exactly what the VA had in mind. It is so, so sad that he ultimately committed suicide.
The Party and Media leaders excluded her from visible debate presence in order to make her loss as big time as possible.
Sanders did not support her and force debate engineers to include her the way he coulda shoulda. Such is my memory.
She may well consider electoral politics too radioactive a sewage lagoon to re-enter any time soon.
I ran as a Tulsi delegate in RI. Even though our primary was delayed until after Biden was already far in the lead, I’m proud to say I got more votes than our current VP did in New Hampshire, the only primary where she was on the ballot.
So, what are we going to do about it besides complain? Damned if I know, but whatever we, the enlightened minority, are doing or have done isn’t working.
Maybe the progressive left in this country needs its own Powell Memo?
We wrote a Skunk Party Manifesto.
Problem is it still takes $ to build institutions. That’s wasn’t an issue for the business interests that were focused on rolling back the New Deal.
Probably different groups need to write their own possible Powell Memos and audition them all and see which one, if any, attracts enough interest to be used as a long-term political warfare guidance document.
Vote Blue no matter who? How about campaign finance reform….without it expect the future to be significantly worse. The major factor in Sanders’ loss in South Carolina and the Black belt was that the leaders in the Congressional Black Caucus remain firmly opposed to campaign finance reform. The reason they give is that as minorities their constituents cannot afford to donate to them and they need the big PACs to provide them with the funds they need for patronage and promotion and the ability to run campaigns.As you know Sanders said he would not take PAC money. So as long as the democrats rule at the whim of the BCC expect nothing but smash and grab in Washington. Even our Commander in Chief who has been working on a public servants salary for 50 years is a multimillionaire as is his family as a reward for his years of selfless service to the government and people. If he was in Singapore back in the day Lee Kwan Yew would have put him in prison after an appropriate caning. LKY felt the key to any societies success was controlling and remaining vigilant against corruption. The government had the right to audit all public employees. If their assets exceeded what their income and expenses justified and they had no reasonable explanation they were considered guilty of corruption and punished. By that standard most of our public leaders would be in prison. The question is why when our Presidents seem to all be multi millionaires do we pay a ton of money in pensions, secret service etc. forever.
Perhaps the ” enlightened minority” needs to cultivate some modulated and controllable hate and spite and focus on making itself and its members stronger and better protected than they now are against the “endarkened majority” if that is indeed what the “enlightened minority” faces.
Mark Ames, who is often spoken of with respect on this blog, wrote an article about that once called ” Elite versus Elitny”. Members of the “enlightened minority” might well read it for some moral, emotional and operational guidance.
I personally would also recommend reading Subgenius Pamphlet Number One for a little bit of Attitude Re-Engineering and Re-Education.
“Twenty years, $2 trillion, and the most powerful army in the world were no match for the one thing the Taliban has—and that current American leadership has lost
BY LEE SMITH”
Cannot recommend this insightful article highly enough.
All that media pressure, and yet Biden still pulled the plug on them. This might be an indication that maybe they don’t have as much power as they think. That might help explain the hysterical shrieking over something that (so far) has cost fewer American lives than the storming of the capitol on January 6th.
something that (so far) has cost fewer American lives than the storming of the capitol on January 6th.
That was a pretty pathetic comparison yesterday, and it still is today.
The only reason that so few American lives have been lost in the past year or more is because there was an agreement with the Taliban to make it so. They could have easily targeted US soldiers any time they wanted to and the Taliban special forces, for example, has night-scopes. I saw an example of this recently when a Taliban marksman using a night-scope was dropping one Afghan soldier after another with head shots. And if Biden had announced that he was reneging on the agreement to depart Afghanistan, that is exactly what would have happened.
Maybe people will start listening to Barabara Lee? Hah! Fat chance.
This got ZERO serious attention in the acela whirlpool.
I would feel remiss in my duties as an American citizen and Veteran (Honorably Discharged) if I did not remind people of the Presidential candidate who, in 2008, ran on the plank that he was [only] against “dumb wars”. Can it not be concluded, then, that Obama didn’t think the war in Afghanistan was “dumb”?
That’s quite a quote by Congresswoman Barbara Lee in 2001. “As we act, let us not become the evil we deplore.“
The memory of Rumsfeld still makes me sick. The entire Shrub administration for that matter. Why didn’t we have the sovereign means to stop them in their tracks? Why do we still not have it? Congress either bought their line of nonsense hook, line and sinker or they were in on it. Because life was good and they didn’t want to have to “change the way we live.” (So how’s that workin’ out?) What a bunch of nauseating crap. Public sentiment was always strongly against them. And they gave us comedians like Colbert and John Stuart. When asked by an angry crowd if he was proud of sending young Americans off to die, Rumsfeld had all the integrity of a self-pitying narcissist and said nothing… but he began to weep. And henceforth he kept out of the public eye. What a turd.
Have readers noticed that many, if not most, of the former officers against the war and supportive of the withdrawal got stuck at colonel, e.g. Ann Wright, Andrew Bacevich, Douglas MacGregor, Pat Lang and Larry Wilkerson? It’s not a coincidence. It happens in the UK, too. Former sergeant Chuck Hagel did not make officer.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books/article-excerpt-in-the-changing-of-the-guard-simon-akam-takes-british-army-to/ summarises what has happened to British forces this century and perhaps why.
Bacevich was on the News Hour the other night, but Col. Lang has been PNG there for many years due, I believe, for his opinions on Israel.
The military has spent far too long promoting the process warriors. Gotta be willingly blind to the gaps by the time they hit general staff.
Thank you, BH and EK.
Yes, now I notice that. And I thought the colonels you mentioned were just unusually bright chaps and not muzzled by their general star(s). Bacevich and Wilkerson are two guys to which I pay close attention.
On the other hand, listening to Petraeus this last week in an interview with an NPR reporter–well, it was painful, simply painful, to hear such dishonesty and self-pity ooze forth from that beribboned fool. There are a few multi-stars who are worth a listen, but most seem like taxidermy exhibits.
The list of officers which the military wants to promote to General/Admiral is approved by Congress, If you want to be on the approved list, with the promise of a well compensated life in retirement, you’d best starting sucking up to the appropriate Congressional Committees as soon as possible.
> And boy, was conventional thinking full of bloodlust after 9/11. I was lucky not to have a TV then (the more you watched, the more unsettled you became) but I did wind up catching a fair bit of President Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral, supposedly to commemorate the dead. It included a not terribly coded call to arms. Similarly, I went to the nearby Unitarian church the Sunday following 9/11 to hear the sermon, and was shocked at the warmongering.
I have thought that it would be somewhat instructive to go gather up some headlines from then and through the present day on Afghanistan and see how they have changed. I imagine a lot of them promised and then declared a quick victory. And a lot of the people doing that were probably the same ones going “just a little longer…” now.
I don’t have the stomach for it though.
OMG . . . re “America’s corporate media are ringing with recriminations over the humiliating U.S. military defeat in Afghanistan.” The US military was not defeated in Afghanistan. In fact, the US military was barely contested. The military didn’t lose, the US decided it was being played, picked up its marbles and went home. At most we recognized that a military solution wasn’t available (due to a lack of opposition).
That the Taliban reclaimed the country in what, one week, shows the nature of the scam. The Afghan government’s soldiers didn’t sign up to fight, they signed up to receive a paycheck. Afghanistan wasn’t defeated, either. The Taliban are the rightful rulers of Afghanistan. They are Afghanis.
I think the corporate media are trumping up pressure for another war somewhere. (I mean we have to remove the stain of defeat.) Think of all the war profiteering that is not happening at this moment!
If the media were honest they would have headlines such as “Afghani Patriots Overthrow Corrupt Government” and “The Taliban Evicts Foreign Occupiers.” Instead we get “Taliban Welcomes You to the Fourteenth Century” and yada, yada, yada. If that is how they want to live why should we have any say at all? Do we complain loudly over the Amish choosing to live as if they were in the nineteenth century?
Can you hear that sound? That’s Walter Cronkite and generations of honest news reporters rolling over in their graves.
So true Steve. I spent a few years and deployments there. The people felt the Taliban were their people and vice versa. The ones that don’t want the Taliban are viewed by many as sellouts. The masses of young men who are trying to leave are simply the excess men produced by polygamy. The well off get all the wives. Many of the professionals and business people and military higher ups I met there had multiple wives often in different districts. When the upper half of the society monopolizes the females the young poor testosterone laden men get desperate and head for Sweden or Germany or now, with a built in excuse that they are some sort of patriot, the US.
DW docs did a fascinating film about Afghanistan told from the point of view of women. Highly recommended
I well remember 911, Afghanistan, Iraq, Homeland Security and something called Total Information Awareness. I also remember getting my news/information from alternative/contrarian sites just like I do today about Covid. MSM in those days all on board with Government just like today about Covid.
I also remember the polling was 80-90% to strike back, just like polling today to whack anyone opposing the MSM, Big Pharma Covid message. It is even worse today than it was then.
So, first and foremost, did not believe them then and believe them even less today. As for Total Information Awareness, we are living it today, in spades.
The good news is that the MSM is moving from the Anger stage of grief to Bargaining:
Aaron Rupar @atrupar
The fall of Kabul is magnitude greater epochal event than the fall of Saigon in 1975 that led to the volunteer army, the Reagan/Thatcher counter-revolt, trashing of Americans no longer needed for mass armies, and the forever wars. It has been clear since then that nations supported by Russia and/or China who tag American forces as colonial invaders will stalemate the USA militarily. Syria is a recent example.
Of all the reason for the Taliban victory, the one that struck me was that Afghans in Kabul to resolve disputes used the rural Taliban judiciary since they are fair, not corrupt. The Afghan culture, the religion, the mountain people, defeated the incompetent mercenary global invaders. A negotiated withdrawal including getting rid of Kabul westernized entrepreneurs is underway.
What is astonishing is that the Blob, the corporate media, the PhDs, the professionals, the managers don’t get it. The US health system is utterly unfair, kills people. Climate change heat domes are killing the old, the poor who cannot afford air-conditioning. The coronavirus pandemic is a profit center. Wildfires and toxic air are the new normal. A hurricane is headed towards Long Island.
The predatory capitalistic system that the neo-liberal-cons run will fall. It is built in. January 6th won’t be a one-offer. It was the DC Metro police reinforcements who bashed their way into the crowd and retook the US Capitol so that VP Mike Pence could proclaim Joe Biden President to keep the extortion scheme going. The top one percent are desperately blaming the unvaccinated deplorables; American Mountaineers, not themselves. But workers are going missing. There are supply shortages. When the police disappear, western civilization ends.
The alternative is a real “New Deal” and the restoration of the rule of law by and for the people.
My grandson did two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Even got a
medal. He came home and developed PTSD. The VA hospital put tons
of medications at his disposal, which further enhanced his decline.
He attempted suicide,survived and died on the toilet the same way Elvis did,
so constipated he had a heart attack. A Marine….
Haven’t heard a single peep about 20 years of mental and physical damage to the actual ‘boots on the ground’. We went through all this with Saigon- how could these ‘worthless scum’ (many of them Black BTW)
dare stop the steady flow of career advances that the war enabled
No parades, no honor, just men with survivors guilt, missing limbs, and PTSD And now, for your patriotic pleasure, Vietnam 2.0.
Glad that those dastardly commies are now our friends. Seems corporate
opportunity easily trumps ideology when there are fortunes to be made.
Not FOX, not NPR, CNN or any other major news organization to my
knowledge has started a rousing cheer for the returning troops.
“Haven’t heard a single peep about 20 years of mental and physical damage to the actual ‘boots on the ground’.”
Heartfelt sympathy about your grandson.
Oddly (or not), the VA and DoD are on the leading edge of PTSD research. Unfortunately, it takes forever to filter down to the clinical level, and even then, it hasn’t addressed wounds left by committing wartime atrocities, so-called “moral injury.” Thus, veterans seeking VA mental healthcare find, as your grandson did, “tons of medications at [their] disposal,” but little or no understanding of the deep emotional scars left by perpetrating such acts. They might even feel judged, whether real or imagined. I’ve read countless comments in online forums to the effect that it’s no mystery why so many veterans shoot themselves in VA parking lots or why the suicide rate overall among veterans is so high.
There was a research paper a year or so ago in which the authors suggested that PTSD develops primarily in service members with a background of trauma and abuse — i.e., “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs. In other words, they were already mentally damaged, so don’t blame it on combat exposure. Another paper, published a couple of weeks ago, suggests that PTSD is more severe in those predisposed to psychosomatic symptoms. What the authors are implying, I don’t know, as only the abstract is public.
On a more hopeful note, I just did a quick PubMed search for the latest and see that “moral injury” finally is being addressed. Given the VA’s track record, it could take 20 years to be incorporated into clinical guidelines, but acknowledging the problem is a huge first step.
The Talibans have now an impressing collection of expensive toys that could pay for their first annual budget, no? That is, if we believe they are all into peace and public service, as the enthusiasts at MoA.
Gotta throw a flag on the headline’s flagrant violation of Betteridge’s Law
A worthwhile article,however it sounds as if the author believes in the Bush administrations fantasy about bin Laden/al Qaeda being the cause of the 9/11 events. I wonder why that is eg what proof does anyone have that they were responsible? To my knowledge obl was never even charged with any crime officially and the bizarre,never before seen events that took place here leading up to and including the 11th could never be accomplished by a cave dweller in Afghanistan (except ali Baba’s genie).