President Biden spoke to an indifferent nation and to a frenzied media about the US Military withdrawal from Afghanistan that is ongoing, and which leaves in its wake hundreds of thousands of dead Afghani, thousands of dead Americans, and over a trillion dollars in dead American greenbacks.
The withdrawal, haphazardly set up by “the former guy” and then Secretary of State Pompeo, was set in motion when the former administration gently and politely asked the Pakistani government to release five thousand peace-loving Taliban fighters. Among those granted release, and who subsequently visited the White House in September 2020 for tea and genteel conversation, was Taliban Head of the Political Office Mullah Baradar – now the president of Afghanistan.
One of the agreements TFG and Pompeo set up, and which the Biden administration were bound to honor, required U.S. forces to draw down on a convenient schedule that was coordinated so that the Taliban forces were at full strength at the time of the U.S. withdrawal.
The convenience of it all shows the power wealthy nations have to manipulate international wars to the benefit of interested parties, regardless of the destruction left behind. And the destruction left behind is incalculable and heartbreaking.
What started as an attempt to hunt Osama Bin Laden following the events of September 11, 2001, turned into a full-scale invasion of the land known as the “Graveyard of Empires” because the rugged land and people refuse to acquiesce to foreign military, religions, or business interests. Whether it was Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, the British, the Soviet Union, or now the U.S., none were able to defeat the land or the people.
They are undefeated in war throughout history. And the U.S. is just another overconfident invader outclassed by people protecting their homeland, just like the US was outclassed in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps invading sovereign nations isn’t the strength of the U.S. military any more than nation-building is.
Over the next twenty years, the nation remained in the hands of Taliban despite the U.S. military presence in the major cities, around the mountainous regions, and along major trade routes. There were surges and recommitments, efforts to establish a functional government, and even schools for girls and protections for women.
But in the end, nothing really changed. The historic Silk Road was anything but smooth for the foreign occupiers.
The Taliban, long an adversary to U.S. interests – though they were long a conditional U.S. ally – waited out indifferent American commitments and took back their country from the most recent foreign invader who poorly understood the land, its people, and its tribal society.
What George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did following 9/11 remains a generational disaster of lost lives, lost intelligence community credibility, and lost trust of political leaders to deliver necessary decisions that may prove unpopular to the Beltway media.
If we were to bookend President Obama’s approach to Afghanistan with President Biden’s, or imagine Hilary in office, we would see something resembling the execution of a plan: Surge and stabilize, protect women and girls, arm and train a military, then leave. It would look like the typical clean up job Democratic presidents do following disastrous republican administrations.
But we did not get a Hilary administration because Republican voters and their friends —the angry and misogynistic leftists—instead voted in a five-time draft dodger who placed Russian interests before American, and who placed sycophants in key positions, including his incompetent son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
And now as the scene unfolds of the Taliban leaders posing in the presidential office and Taliban fighters celebrating as they destroy large cities, Americans can see the type of nation the American-Taliban, i.e., Trump supporters – dream of every night. Armed men in pickup trucks terrorizing unarmed citizens, raping women, girls, and boys, and killing everyone who doesn’t look like or believe like them.
But it is not only GOP white supremacists and TFG minions criticizing President Biden’s actions, it is the far-left Democrats as well, despite that crowd having voted “no” just a couple of weeks ago to providing more funding and arms to the Afghan military.
The leftists, like their pal Trump, seem always to forget that the internet is forever, so their recent “No” vote is being publicized thus exposing their duplicity. And Trump deleted his recent celebratory announcement about how he had done what “no one could in setting up the withdrawal so that not even President Biden could stop it.”
And of course the terrible Beltway press are falling, as they always do, for Trump and leftist revisionist history, because they are starved of scandal and malfeasance so they are doing their best tabloid imitation of creating scandal where none exists.
President Biden confidently and resolutely stated “I am the fourth President to oversee war with Afghanistan, I will not hand it over to a fifth.” It was a powerful statement in his address to the nation and world that affirmed his decision to end the longest running and most ignored war in American history.
Americans have the luxury of analyzing the outcome of twenty years of foreign military action from the comfort of our sofas in our houses and apartments. We can pontificate on military strategy and political acumen, on congressional oversight, and on whether to surge or draw down without fear of bombs dropping on our schools or roving gangs of men kidnapping girls by the dozens and forcing them into sex work.
And to add more salt to the “These colors don’t run,” people’s wounds, the Taliban are protecting the Russian and Chinese embassies while the American embassy is as trashed as the U.S. Capitol was when Trump forces took that over on January 6th.
Say what you will about TFG, but his friends, from recently released Taliban fighters or domestic insurrectionists, sure know how to quickly take over and trash Capitols and make a full mess out of historical buildings.
My daughter is sixteen years old. The U.S. military has been in Afghanistan for twenty years. There are tens of millions of young Americans who have no idea that America is even at war, even while their futures will be impacted by the human and financial cost of that war. The audacity of people to feign interest in Afghani “women and girls” while we cage, imprison, refuse to test rape kits, and mistreat women and girls – especially Black & brown women and girls- is all too American.
The invisible war is over and America won’t miss what they didn’t watch. There were no nightly news updates, few ceremonies, no military victories to note or celebrate, and no nationally known heroes to honor.
But there is another in a long line of failed US military wars, interventions, and actions, that amounted to nothing more than death and destruction for foreign citizens. Whatever one thinks of military intervention, one cannot miss or deny the facts that most of the people who die in wars or occupations are non-military citizens. Just regular people who want a good life, food, safety, family, and peace – just like you and me.
While the Taliban and inept Afghanistan government officials remained mired in a twenty-year stalemate, millions of Afghani children have grown up in a world mostly indifferent to their plight, and an occupying force unable to provide for their longterm safety.
And now the Taliban can truthfully say, like Vietnam before them, they defeated the “World’s Greatest Military…again.”
Americans overwhelmingly approve of President Biden’s decision, despite all the noise coming from the usual media suspects, and one gets the sense the President and his team were very much aware that Americans had long ago lost interest in a land and people that remain enigmatic only because Americans have no interest in knowing or caring about people our tax money is used to either obliterate or protect.
Getting out now is the right thing for the U.S. and for the president. Americans support his decision by large majorities. People are supportive because the administration continues to deliver jobs, income growth, market stability, and moral separation from TFG.
Sadly, Afghanistan doesn’t matter to most Americans.
Unfortunately there is nothing good in this for the Afghani women and girls, or boys and young men, who find themselves in a hopeless, dangerous place that is no longer between an occupying force and insurgents, but firmly in the grasp of men who disguise their hatred of women behind the veils of religion.
The war may be over but the consequences will reverberate for decades as refugees begin settling into American cities and as the newly formed religious extremist Afghani government takes hold.
We cannot know the futures of Afghani-Americans no more than we can know the futures of Afghanistan citizens now living under a new government. But we can know that the Afghan people, whether here or abroad, lost.
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.
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