Afghanistan Forever: Why Neoconservatives Cannot be Trusted

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by Robert Carbery

It is becoming clear now that the U.S. will maintain a military outpost in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.
 
With Secretary of Defense James Mattis set to announce the deployment of an additional 5,000 American troops to Afghanistan in the coming weeks after Trump handed over authority on Tuesday to Mattis to set troop levels, hope for leaving the graveyard of empires any time soon appears doomed.
 
The Washington-installed regime in Kabul is now facing an expanding insurgency led by the Taliban despite the U.S. military presence in the country since October 2001. Some estimates peg Taliban control at 40% of Afghanistan as the group launches new offensive operations as it tends to do most summers while the Afghan government suffers from having no real power or control outside of the capital.
 
Three American soldiers died last weekend when a Taliban sympathiser in the army opened fire on them during a training exercise. These horrific events continue while casualty rates remain high in the hapless American-trained Afghan military. After all this time, the Taliban is as strong and influential as ever. In April, the group launched its bloodiest attack since the start of the war, killing 200 Afghan troops at an army base.
 
The additional American troops being sent in are supposedly going to be there in an “advisory” capacity. But this means nothing. They will be in combat situations and will be in harm’s way no matter their official designation. U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria are “advising” but are also fighting ISIS while they’re at it.
 
We will remain in this far off nation under the pretext of the never ending and ever expanding “war on terror.” Now, a permanent U.S. military outpost is becoming an entrenched reality in this strategic Central Asian country. From here, we can keep an eye on nuclear-armed Pakistan to the east as well as the energy-rich former Soviet states to the north. All while keeping strike forces closeby to Iran and other Middle Eastern nations teeming with terrorist cells.
 
Neoconservatives cannot be trusted because they want us involved in countries like Afghanistan throughout the world regardless of our capacity to do so.  
 
We will be fighting here for decades it seems. And for what? The U.S. has already spent 16 years fighting the longest war in its history at a cost of over $800 billion and thousands of American lives. And what have we accomplished with that? What are our objectives and how can we achieve them? What are we still doing there?
 
There is still no peace. The Taliban is surging and the situation is deteriorating. Is it up to us to prop up this country’s government despite the fact that when we leave the Taliban will take over? Why can’t we just come out and say we are there to establish a sizable and strategic military presence in the country for the decades to come?
 
Today, ISIS is establishing a foothold in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda is still not fully decimated. Trump dropped a big bomb on one of ISIS’ bases not too long ago in a show of force in stark opposition to the tactics of the previous administration.
 
We should stop trying in Afghanistan. We should cut our losses and get out of there. No amount of additional troops or change in strategy can save that sorry nation. It is not our responsibility. It is not worth American lives or treasure. Let’s get out while we can, Mr. President. Don’t let the generals convince you we need to be there.
 
I’ll leave you with Bonnie Kristian’s words from her recent opinion piece in the Washington Examiner:
 
“There is no reason to believe this escalation will make any security gains for the U.S. or even for the Afghan people. (It is telling no one bothers to argue a surge will make the U.S. safer, because the American public long ago realized occupying Afghanistan does not protect us.)
 
There is no definition of success, let alone a chance it will lead to victory, and it will not end the chaotic status quo.
 
The difficult but plain truth is that no amount of U.S. military intervention can impose an exterior stability on Afghanistan, however much Washington denies this fact. It is futile and dangerous to continue to try.”

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1 thought on “Afghanistan Forever: Why Neoconservatives Cannot be Trusted

  1. Sending any troops to Afghanistan has never been an answer to anything.
    The original invasion was a brainless response to something the country had nothing to do with. It was misdirected vengeance at best.
    Yes, as devout Muslims, the then-government of the country, the Taliban, had permitted bin Laden to reside there.
    But when the US high-handedly demanded his extradition without providing a shred of evidence against him – quite simply, the normal procedure in all international extraditions – the Taliban refused, making it clear that they would extradite if provided evidence.
    Well, the US never provided any evidence. And you know what? It has never provided any evidence to Americans either of bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11. None. All we have is the corporate press making the same assertions that it made all those years ago without any real evidence.
    So they invaded, and in truth achieved nothing.
    American troops have behaved brutally there for years, creating many atrocities.
    Their early approach involved going from village to village, using stun grenades, knocking down people’s doors, holding whole families at gunpoint, and taking away the men almost the way Stalin’s secret police did in the USSR. Can you imagine the fears and bad feelings this generated in an old-fashioned rural society?
    That horrible behavior was compounded by a whole series of slaughters in villages as trigger-happy, nervous American kids who didn’t understand the language or the customs and who hated the heat and dust they were consigned to, kids with big guns decided they did not like something and simply blasted away. It happened dozens of times. The same for air attacks on some perfectly innocent villages by trigger-happy American pilots.
    When you treat people horribly, you make enemies.
    Another “benefit” of America’s shabby invasion was to release poor Afghanistan farmers from the strict prohibition the Taliban had imposed on growing poppies. Before long a flood of opium-based drugs was back on international markets. Prices fell, consumption increased, and local American street-gang violence grew. Truly wonderful result, don’t you think?
    The Taliban is not and never has been a terrorist organization as it is widely misunderstood in the US.
    It is simply one of the basic divisions of that society, as it were, Catholics versus Protestants. It is extremely old-fashioned and fundamentalist and unenlightened, but then so are a small host of clans or religious groups of every description in the world in many lands. You don’t invade people for that.
    It is impossible to make them go away, unless of course you are prepared to slaughter people en masse.
    The Northern Alliance – representing another basic tribal division in the society, it was an alliance formed long ago within the country to vie for power with the Taliban – that the US allied itself with in the original invasion, has always itself been an unattractive grouping too. It had some genuine monsters in it, including mass-murderer, General Dostum.
    It never was the good guys versus the bad guys, a false idea that America’s government promoted. It always resembled a gigantic national feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in West Virginia and had nothing to do with issues Americans care about.
    The Pentagon and CIA always like to promote simplistic explanations, providing sound-bite summaries for the nightly corporate news broadcasts, stuff for the soccer moms and others back home to accept readily.
    In this case, it was the repression of women, something that in fact goes on still in Afghanistan as it does in every poor, rural place on earth, including Mexico, Brazil, India, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Turkey, and scores of other places.
    No, the reality of the great swirling mass of humanity in no way resembles, or relates to, life in Celebration, Florida, or in Ozzie and Harriet’s fantasy suburb of the 1950s. The very essence of propaganda is to fix on a truth and treat it as though it were only a truth for the place you are discussing.
    America’s phony efforts even on that front achieved nothing – the Burka is still worn widely and little girls are still not educated and people remain dirt-poor – but, while all the bloody stuff was going on, talk about it put America on the side of the angels in the eyes of the uninformed. The many, many killings of women and children by Americans received little press.
    But the US didn’t care, just so that it could defeat the Taliban without sending in vast numbers of its own troops. Using air power with massive bombing above with local forces doing most of the fighting below, followed by a limited number of Americans to occupy, to torture, and to terrorize into submission
    This is a poor, backward country, and its customs and social structures do not resemble Celebration, Florida, and they will not do so for centuries.
    To expect that bombing and occupation would alter that is the very essence of arrogance and the blind brutality we see from America’s establishment today, working away in a half-dozen places to achieve nothing beyond death and dominance. It is a one-way trip to nowhere.
    Afghanistan’s people pretty much mind their business, so why on earth the US thinks it must dominate and decide who governs is beyond me, and it is beyond reason.
    It’s just part of a rather sick tendency we see in America’s Deep State, the need to control everyone.

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