The Pentagon’s 20-year Afghan War Was a Failure

April 25th, 2021 - by Debra Sweet / World Can't Wait

Is US Ending a “Good” War in Afghanistan?

Debra Sweet / World Can’t Wait

(April 23, 2021) — The political and military leaders who run the US have real problems in the Middle East. Twenty years of their “war on terror” has failed to establish US control over the region and only spread and strengthened Islamic fundamentalism. Just one of their justifications for attacking Afghanistan — to exact revenge for 9/11- was true, though completely unjustified. The others, to establish “democracy,” to “save the women,” to end “terrorism,” were always designed to satisfy those who think “America equals the good guys.”

Biden has been forced to conclude that the US can’t “win” this war. The US entered in 2001 with almost no translators who spoke local languages, ignorantly killed local forces who were trying to aid the US, tortured and killed prisoners at the notorious US airbase in Bagram and killed hundreds of civilians in night raids and with drones. “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” 

Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking…”  This aggressive, imperialist war has been a disaster for the people of Afghanistan. For one example, women in Afghanistan still have one of the highest maternal death rates on the globe. 

The withdrawal of US troops this year is being called the “end” of the war. Notwithstanding that US intervention has increased the danger of Taliban control and interference by Pakistan, it appears true only insofar as regular US military deployment in the country. In fact, US plans to control the region will continue with large air bases surrounding Afghanistan (and Iran). The role of private contractors, the CIA, non-public military programs, backed up by the biggest pile of nukes, will continue to menace Afghanistan.

For those of us who care about humanity, the problems of those who run this system are notour problems. We shouldn’t believe all they say in their public messages, but it’s necessary to consider what they are saying, what they’re not, and dig beneath the surface to understand that this imperialist system can’tmaintain its global domination without aggression and exploitation.

I do not accept that this is the way the world has to be. I’d like to hear what you think:

Here are some critiques to get familiar with:

US Withdrawal from Afghanistan: The Formal End of a Savage War of Imperialist Aggression

“President Biden called it a ‘just’ war when he announced the withdrawal by September 11 this year. After years of calling Afghanistan the ‘good war,’ the mainstream media, the propaganda organs of this system, treated the news as the end of a well-intentioned but difficult and, to an extent, poorly thought-out effort on the part of the US.

But what’s the real truth? That America’s 2001-2021 war in Afghanistan — and its interventions in the decades before, and leading up to it, have been savage, totally unjust wars of imperialist empire that have destroyed the lives of literally millions of Afghans and devastated the country and society…”

Biden’s Claim To Be Ending America’s Longest War Misleading
Jeremy Kuzmarov, Covert Action Magazine

“As The New York Times reported, the United States would remain after the formal departure of US troops with a ‘shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations Forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives.’ Their mission will be to ‘find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic state threats, current and former American officials said.’

The Times further reported that the United States maintains a constellation of air bases in the Persian Gulf region as well as in Jordan, and a major air headquarters in Qatar, which could provide a launching pad for long-range bomber or armed drone missions into Afghanistan….”

Biden’s Drone Wars 
Brian Terrell, Common Dreams

“It appears from his statements and actions regarding the war in Yemen in February and regarding the war in Afghanistan in April, that Biden is not so much concerned with ending the “forever wars” as he is with handing these wars over to drones armed with 500 pound bombs and Hellfire missiles operated by remote control from thousands of miles away.”

The US Could Have Left Afghanistan Years Ago
Murtaza Hussein, The Intercept

“The US will leave without having accomplished its goals and with more Afghan suffering ahead. It also doesn’t seem that America’s own ‘forever war’ is actually ending. Biden reserved the right to carry out airstrikes and raids against suspected threats in Afghanistan indefinitely — washing America’s hands of its involvement in inter-Afghan conflict, while signaling that the United States would still be killing people in the country when it deems necessary…”

More resources for background:

At war with the truth: The Afghanistan Papers, The Washington Post
“The Afghanistan Papers”: The Lies Exposed — and the Deeper Truths That Need to Come
* Audio & Text: America’s Longest War: A Visual History of 19 Years in AfghanistanWall Street Journal

Debra Sweet is the director of World Can’t Wait