The US military has been screwing up and mishandling Afghanistan since 1979 when we backed the Mujahideen against the Soviets. We financed the alchemy that led to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Bin Laden’s Jihad on America and arguably 9/11 may never have happened if we didn’t meddle with Afghanistan. And definitely if we had never meddled in Iraq (another story, yet the same story). Of course this was going to be a disaster. The whole thing was a disaster.
All this bullshit flag waving anti-Biden rhetoric is just that. Bullshit. There was no way this was going to end well. And of the countless missteps, it was Trump’s decision to bypass the Afghan government and make a cease-fire while we pull-out deal with the Taliban that was the final death knell. That basically took any legitimacy out of the Afghan government and gave the Taliban a year to prepare for the rapid take over we just witnessed. John Bolton called that months ago and he’s crazy. How did our military brass get it all so wrong? I don’t know, maybe check with history.
Did it have to be this bad? Could it have been handled better? Sure, maybe, or it could have been worse for that matter. I don’t pretend to know what the right way to pull out of this 42 year-old clusterfuck was but apparently neither did our military leadership. Every step we’ve taken in our remote colonization of the Middle East has dug us deeper and deeper into a slippery slope inside of a dumpster fire falling over a cliff.
We overthrew the government in Iran, installed the Shaw, Supported Saddam and gave him chemical weapons and logistics to use them. We armed the Mujahideen, accepted the Taliban the first time, blew Iraq into the stone age and starved the nation with sanctions for over a decade. We’ve killed hundreds of thousands of people in our never ending escapades. So Biden is doing the right thing by getting out of Afghanistan but I’m certain he will not do the right thing and officially end the war on terror by ending the ability of a president to use high tech weaponry to kill anyone, anywhere, on the planet. An authorization originally given to W. Bush that has been abused by every President since.
In 2001 Congress passed the “authorization for use of military force” to go after those behind 9/11. Bush never really bothered, instead he let Afghanistan become a quagmire while he lied us into Iraq, and then went after the slew of new actors that were created out of the chaos. See that’s the new Cold War, the War on Terror. The thing that allowed us to double our military budget, engage in endless wars, and make people like Dick Cheney and Eric Prince and companies like Raytheon, Haliburton, Lockheed Martin, and so many more, tons of money. All at the expense of people living in some of the poorest countries on Earth.
It’s time to put an end to all of this madness. Arguably the biggest help to recruiting more terrorists is citing our endless meddling in the middle east. Including our home grown terrorists by the way. Timothy McViegh, the Pulse nightclub shooter, and so many more of our domestic terrorists cited our meddling in the Middle East as their motive. Whether this was the outcome team Bush had in mind or whether it’s a happy accident the effect is the same. The deeper we dive the more money the military industrial complex makes. Yeah I said it, remember that thing that Eisenhower warned us about? Yea it happened. The kids don’t even know what I’m talking about because we stopped talking about it decades ago, it’s like we just accepted it.
In the 80’s we used to talk about the $800 dollar hammers and the $900 dollar toilet seats. But after Dick Cheney introduced the privatization of military services in 1991 and 9/11 ushered in a level of blind military fetishism we seemed to have forgotten all about why we actually spend 750 Billion a year on the military but can’t usher in the political will to spend 350 Billion a year for child care, affordable college, medicare expansion, family paid leave and other things that directly help Americans. Yes, the 3.5 Trillion dollar reconciliation bill, spent over ten years, would do all of that and still cost less than half of what we’ll spend on the military in those same ten years.
So pulling out of Afghanistan is a good start. And there was no pretty way to do it. And I fear for the future of human rights in Afghanistan. But let’s face it we were killing innocent civilians too. We couldn’t go a year without accidently bombing a wedding or a birthday party. If we want to save human rights in Afghanistan maybe the military isn’t the best apparatus to achieve that goal. Maybe, just maybe, we should start thinking about winding down the war on terror and use some of that money to actually invest in places we want to see get better. Both here and abroad.