There has been astonishingly little mention of the Afghan war in this blog, and in most other blogs. America's longest war is the war no-one wants to talk about.
What's to be said? We've known from the first year that this thing cannot end well. The Taliban will win, if only because the majority of Afghans hate us
more than they hate them
How could we ever have been so deluded as to think that we could win hearts and minds in that part of the world? They simply don't like us. They don't like our religion, they don't like our culture, they don't like our skin color, and they don't like the fact that we're there
Bob Woodward and David Sanger have both produced worthwhile books on Obama's Afghan adventure. If you read those works, it soon becomes clear that we have been kidding ourselves. For all of our military's pretentious talk about counterinsurgency theory, the fact is that the Afghans want nothing we have to offer. Hamid Karzai was and is no leader -- in fact, he was always a laughingstock.
Let's have no illusions: When the Taliban returns to power, they will plunge that nation back into a despicable barbarism. But what can we do? We can either destroy Afghanistan utterly or we can let the Afghans choose their own pathway to hell. There is no third choice. For more than a dozen years, we've been telling ourselves a third choice exists, and we've been kidding ourselves.
The only piece on Afghanistan you really need to read is the one published a few days ago by Eric Margolis
Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington.
The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.
Such is the rotten foundation on which Washington is hoping to build a compliant Afghan “democracy” that will continue to offer bases to US troops and warplanes. Afghanistan’s majority, the Pashtun tribes, have little voice in the election charade.
The largest, most popular party in Afghanistan, Taliban, and its smaller ally, Hisbi-Islami, have been excluded as “terrorists” from the current and past elections. They are boycotting the vote, rightly claiming it will be rigged and run by the western powers and their local collaborators. We see this same pattern of faux democracy across the Mideast.
As US troops and heavy bombers attacked Taliban position, I wrote in the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers that invading Afghanistan was a terrible mistake, a war that would not be won. Not surprisingly, I was widely denounced.
My column of 26-years was blacklisted by a major newspaper chain after I dared to say the war was lost and a waste of blood and money.
This is one big reason why the war in Afghanistan has so far cost the US $1 trillion dollars. Billions have disappeared due to massive corruption. Without a steady stream of US dollars, the Afghan regime in Kabul would collapse. Pakistan has been paid over $18 billion since 2001 to fight its own Taliban and allow US military operations.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s efforts to cut US occupation forces in Afghanistan are being openly and brazenly challenged by his own insubordinate military commanders who cannot face admitting defeat at the hands of Taliban – the ultimate humiliation for the high-tech US forces.
I'll add this. Sanger and Woodward detail the way a newly-elected Barack Obama, terrified of seeming a neophyte, sought the aid of CIA experts and conventional Pentagon thinkers. It would have been better if Obama had
been a true naif. In Afghanistan, the conventional wisdom was never very wise.