It’s Not That We’re Leaving Afghanistan.
It’s Why We Ever Went in the First Place.
Why is anyone surprised at the rapid collapse of the Government and military in Afghanistan? The country is a cultural and political quagmire that has ensnared “conquering nations” for more than 500 years. Nothing has underscored that more than the last 20 years and, as usual, the USA has played right into it.
Afghanistan’s number one cash crop is Opium, as in morphine as in heroin, that accounts for 1/3 of its entire GDP. (It is also the world’s leading supplier of hashish.) The Taliban is nothing more than a Muslim Mafia that has now become one of the largest international drug cartels in the Eastern Hemisphere. The literacy rate in Afghanistan is 38% and only 18% in the rural areas where the Taliban and Al Qaeda do most of their recruiting. They find illiterate, impoverished goat herders, toss them an AK-47, $200 a month (a fortune to them) and a copy of the Koran (which they lack the literacy to read). Then they recruit them as “soldiers” in the faith of Islam. And since they’re often being paid more than rank-and-file Afghan Army recruits, the inclusion has great appeal.
As to “legitimate” Afghan leadership, Hamid Karzai (President from 2001 to 2014) is a notorious kleptocrat who kited more than $2 Billion in foreign aid and put it into his personal coffers. And his successor Ashraf Ghani is more of the same.
Corruption in the government and military is at epidemic proportions and has been for 50 years. As happened in Iraq in the final days, the money given to the military to pay rank-and-file soldiers is being siphoned off into the pockets of the generals and high-ranking officers. So no one in the Afghani Army above the rank of Captain can be trusted. As a result, capitulation and desertions have become inevitable.
In terms of the “brotherhood of Islam,” Afghanistan is little more than a farm club for Pakistan where the Pakistani government gets to dump its radical jihad problem children such as Al Qaeda and ISIS as well as The Taliban and, in turn, provide them sanctuary and succor whenever they hit a point of political critical mass.
Every US administration from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump has been aware of this hopelessly corrupt socio-political substructure and has, for two decades, supported it at every level, knowing full well that this very outcome would be a foregone conclusion. And yet they all continued to feed into it rather than acknowledge the fact that they all lost focus on the real reason for going-in in the first place: to apprehend, arrest and (if necessary) kill Osama Bin Laden and his minions. Once that mission was accomplished we should have simply closed it all down. But somehow arrogant naïveté is so ingrained in the American international policy matrix coming out of WWII that we actually believe we can fix anything…when clearly nothing could be further from the truth.
Joe Biden, who even as Obama’s VP expressed his distaste for the Afghanistan Paradox, has now chosen to put this “sick man of the Middle East” out of its misery, cut US and NATO losses and get the hell out of there. It was a gutsy, if ill-timed move, especially in view of the Trump/Pompeo negotiations that gave the Taliban virtual Carte Blanche in the country once the Americans had left. The evacuation has doubtless had unforeseen, disastrous final consequences.
Of course the Republicans "are outraged," even as they take down self-congratulatory postings from their GOP website, praising the Trump/Pompeo Summit with the Taliban.
Yes, to be sure, announcing any pull date from a country would have to be a bad move. And yet, it is also impossible to hide something that monumental, especially since the real blunder came with going in and staying in the first place. Still, the Biden administration’s decision to pull out so precipitously has turned out to be a train wreck. And yet, no one could have foreseen all the variables.
In truth Biden’s strategy, though somewhat ruthless on the surface of it, will save American lives in the long run (not to mention another $1 trillion). In the meantime, Afghanistan can return to the historical and political obscurity it deserves.
Sadly, this is a pathetic political duplication of Vietnam and Iraq before it, and—God willing—the US will finally step out of the role of “nation building" once and for all.
It is tragic to know that good people in a bad country will be harmed, that women will be once again disenfranchised and enslaved. And that a poor, underdeveloped, historically sodomized nation, will be left to an even darker fate than before.
Meanwhile, the US must at last come to a reality check. When do we stop making a fool out of ourselves as the ideological, military blunderbuss of Planet Earth? Imagine what good we might have done had we devoted that $6 trillion squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan to repairing our damaged planet, or at least to compete with some of the “no strings” funding offered by China to developing nations?
Of course that would have required vision and sacrifice. And our military/industrial complex would have taken a hit. After all, War is a very profitable undertaking…as the US of all nations should know.