The war in Afghanistan has never made any sense. From the bombing of Mazar-e-Sharif in November, 2001 to the droning of children chasing birds in 2013; it’s been one homicidal debacle after the other. On top of that, none of the strategic objectives have been achieved.
The warlords and Taliban still control much of the countryside, the reconstruction effort has been a complete farce, women are no safer today than they were when the invasion was first launched, and the central government is a comical Potemkin regime riddled with corruption and incompetence.
Oh yeah, and the dirt-poor country now produces 90 percent of the world’s opium. The only area of commerce in which post-invasion Afghanistan excels is the production of illicit narcotics. Is it any wonder why the American people are sick of the whole damn thing and want to get out now?
And then there’s the people who have to pay for the conflict, like the soldiers who carry the scars for the rest of their lives, and oftentimes kill themselves to escape the relentless mental darkness that war creates.
The AP reports that US military suicides have surged to the highest level ever recorded:
“Pentagon figures obtained Monday by The Associated Press show that the 349 suicides among active-duty troops last year were up from 301 the year before and exceeded the Pentagon’s own internal projection of 325. . . . Last year’s total is the highest since the Pentagon began closely tracking suicides in 2001. It exceeds the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan last year, by the AP’s count.” (‘US Military Suicides Exceed Combat Deaths’, The Buzz)
American wars have precipitated an epidemic of suicides in the military. These costs don’t appear on the Pentagon’s balance sheet, but they’re devastating just the same. Politicians in the US always talk about US combat troops with the greatest respect, but when these same soldiers return from active duty they are treated like garbage and can’t even get the help they need for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other brain-related trauma. (Like Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI) It’s a disgrace.
Then there’s the Afghan people, whose suffering is even greater than the troops. More than 200,000 civilians have been killed in the war despite the fact that the US “doesn’t do body counts.”
Also, according to Malalai Joya, former member of the Afghan parliament and author of the book ‘A Woman Among Warlords’, the US occupation has made matters worse because there is “more bloodshed, more crimes, more human rights violations, more looting of our resources and changing of our country into Mafia state … Around two million Afghans are addicted (to opium), most of them are women and children … And according to UNIFEM, Afghanistan is the worst place in the world to be a woman.”
So all the talk about liberating women was pure gibberish, just like the nonsense about establishing a ‘western-style democracy’. US war planners wanted to establish forward-bases in Eurasia to contain Russia and China, to be a main player in oil and natural gas extraction, and to spread US hegemony to this century’s most dynamic ‘growth centre’.
To that end, the US plans to maintain a significant presence in Afghanistan, including large numbers of combat forces, lethal high-tech weaponry, intel operatives, private contractors, and at least 4 military bases presumably on oil transit lines. The US is not leaving Afghanistan. It’s merely abandoning the pretense that its motives are altruistic.
By: Mike Whitney