Saturday, August 21, 2021

Farewell Afghanistan

The United States has just about completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. The 20 year war is over. Or at least the US role is
Instead of the Afghan government fighting the Taliban for another two years, a year, or even a measly six months the Afghan government and military collapsed in a matter of days. 
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani evidently decided that instead of taking a last stand with some death or glory hardcases who would ensure that their names lived forever as sources of fear to the Taliban, it was better to do like every other Taliban Afghan opponent and run away. Yes brave President Ghani ran away.
President Ghani popped up in the United Arab Emirates, alternately saying that he left for the good of the people and because he didn't want to get hanged. Ghani also denied that he had left with a bunch of cash (most likely because he had already transferred his wealth out of the nation). Other Afghan leaders who had worked with Ghani basically called him a punk. So it goes. 
Smart collaborators (and that is what Ghani was) tend not to stick around once the occupying force packs up and leaves.
It is unfortunate that some American still think that the US should keep killing more Afghans. It is unfortunate that some Americans, rather than asking why a nation that beat down Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in just under four years in the 1940s in twenty years couldn't defeat a ragtag militia who had no air force and few heavy weapons have decided that this withdrawal must be someone's fault. 
And by someone I mean whichever political party they didn't support. The ending of US involvement in the Afghan War thus becomes not so much about the hopeful cessation of US bombing wedding receptions and US ally organized pederasty as it's about who "lost" Afghanistan. Simple minded talking heads on the left and right wax poetic about how all this is happening because of the other party. They literally can't process information unless and until they blame someone else.
In fact some people who are otherwise anti-intervention are crying crocodile tears about what is pretty certain to be a loss of rights and status by Afghani women under Taliban rule. 
I call these crocodile tears because in various nations across the planet women have fewer rights and lower status than they enjoy in the US. The US can't violently change this for every nation. We don't have the ability or the right. It's a recipe for endless war.
 
Some people think we should have stayed in Afghanistan for another six months, another year, another five years, and so on. 
By this argument the US should still be in Vietnam. The French should still be in Algeria. 
The Portuguese should still be in Angola and Mozambique. The British should still be in India, Nigeria, and Kenya. 
And so on. It's a deeply cynical and solipsistic argument that gives no weight to the lives of Afghans--you know the actual people who have suffered through US bombings and occupations. Imperialists NEVER want to end wars and occupations. Not in them. The idea that the US should continuing occupying Afghanistan to "save women" is risible.  
Colonialism is a bad idea. Where is the evidence that because the US left Vietnam, that the world became a more unsafe place? 
The US couldn't reshape Afghan culture in 20 years. All it did was kill a lot of Afghanis and transfer billons to the military-industrial complex. Enough. The problem in Afghanistan isn't that the US didn't kill enough people. 
I am sick of Western media arguments that assume that Afghanistan belongs to them. 
The war was wrong. It was a bad idea. It started wrong and it's ending wrong. This war was endorsed by people on both sides of the partisan divide. It's not a Republican or Democratic thing. It's an addicted to war thing. Let's stop making war the first response to every problem.

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