Post-mortems on the Afghanistan invasion

Hat tip for the video to Alex Page.  Lowkey is the stage name of a British rapper, blogger and activist named Kareem Dennis.

The collapse in Afghanistan is no surprise.  It’s been obvious for years that it had to come someday, and the only question was when.  But I can’t stop reading and thinking about it.  Below are links to some of what I’ve been reading.

Observations on Afghanistan by Noah Carl on Noah’s Newsletter.

Celebrate the Heroes Who Warned Us That Afghanistan Would Be a Disaster by Ted Rall.  Rep. Barbara Lee was the one person in either the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives to vote against going to war in Afghanistan.  Where is she now?  Why isn’t she being interviewed?

Debacle in Afghanistan by Tariq Ali for New Left Review.  Someone else who was right.

The Taliban may pretend to show moderation—but the murderous reality is far different by Patrick Cockburn for The Independent.  Maybe so.  Maybe not.  The fact that one side is bad doesn’t make the other side good.  Whatever the situation, it wouldn’t have been improved by having American troops in Afghanistan stay one more year.

The Taliban’s Rise to Power: As the U.S. Prepared for Peace, the Taliban Prepared for War by Kate Clark for Afghan Analysts Network.   Eric Berne wrote in Games People Play that winners aim to win, and usually succeed in the end, while losers merely aim to  avoid or postpone losing, and always fail.

Taliban Rule Is the Democratic Will of 13% of Afghans by Anatoly Karlin.  This public opinion poll surprised me.

Despair in the Empire of Graveyards by Fred Reed.  Recollections of the fall of Saigon by a former U.S. Marine who was there.

America Lies, Destroys, Breaks Promises, Then Runs by Linh Dinh.  Recollections of the fall of Saigon by a Vietnamese man who was there.

Notes on the ‘Loss’ of Afghanistan by Thomas Neuburger for God’s Spies.  [Added 8/24/2021]  The Taliban are far from unique in Afghan life.

Afghan War Has Been Hugely Profitable by Jon Schwartz for The Intercept.  [Added 8/24/2021]  $10,000 invested in defense stocks when Afghanistan war began now worth almost $100,000.

Peeling the American Onion by Michael Moore. [Added 8/24/2021].  Moore thinks the withdrawal from Afghanistan is going pretty well, all things considered, and the Biden administration deserves some credit.

The Foreign Policy Borg and the Retreat from Afghanistan by Michael Brenner for Moon of Alabama.  [Added 8/24/2021]


2 Responses to “Post-mortems on the Afghanistan invasion”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    Problem is that the Afghanis may not particularly want the Taliban in power, a majority of Afghani males don’t oppose it enough to be willing to fight to stop them. Had life for the people dramatically improved over the last decade, there might have been some resistance.

    You can give women symbolic rights and even coax a few into the police and government. That does not cement the idea of political equality into anyone’s minds. Most Afghani males do NOT want women to have anything like equality. In a country where democracy did not organically develop, power devolves to whoever is more willing to kill – and die – for it.

    GWB had the notion that all people are secretly yearning for democracy and freedom. Get rid of the tyrant and set up vaguely democratic rules and suddenly the tree of liberty will sprout and grow. It ain’t so. People want stability. They fear losing what they have more than gaining what might be. The more impoverished and less educated a people are, the more this is true.


  2. philebersole Says:

    I don’t think that spreading democracy and freedom was ever the goal of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and the other architects of the Afghanistan invasion.

    I think John Dolan, aka The War Nerd, had the right of it.

    Dolan said the real objective of Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc. was to conquer Iraq for the benefit of oil companies and the USA’s Saudi allies. But since this was justified as part of a “war on terror,” it was necessary to also invade Afghanistan, which was al Qaeda’s lair.

    Once the invasion took place, the objective came to be avoiding admission of defeat. Whoever admits defeat gets the blame for defeat, as Biden is being blamed now. Also, the Pentagon, armaments makers and military contractors have a financial incentive to continue the way.

    The wise course for the U.S. government now would be to recognize the Taliban government and try to keep it neutral in the Cold War with China.

    But evidently the plan is to wage economic war against the new government, including seizing the old government’s assets. The means the Taliban have no choice but to line up with China and Russia.

    I give Joe Biden credit for doing the right thing, however haphazardly. But my fear is that he will ramp up war somewhere else to reassure the military lobby that he is not their enemy.


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