Sadism in Afghanistan, by Tommy Raskin

The US’s 16-year war in Afghanistan has inflicted massive pain on the host population, wrecked the country, and brought the US no closer to its stated objectives than it was in 2001. From Tommy Raskin at antiwar.com:

For the past 16 years, the American war machine has been acting like a two-tiered sadist in Afghanistan. While facilitating the Kabul government’s destruction of the communities it oversees there, our military apparatus has also harmed the U.S. itself by spilling American blood for an unnecessary and futile mission.

Granted, most Americans have not literally bled for the war in Afghanistan. Our sacrifice has been merely (merely?) financial. US taxpayers have paid – and will continue paying – for our government’s $1 trillion excursion there, an escapade already more expensive than the Marshall Plan to rebuild post-WWII Europe. Not all Americans have been as fortunate as civilian taxpayers, though. 2,400 US soldiers have died and upwards of 17,000 have suffered physical injuries in Afghanistan. Still other troops have returned home physically intact but psychologically scarred, motivating their retreat into a lonely depression.

Suicide has been a tragically fitting end to the lives of our most traumatized Afghanistan war veterans, whose premature deaths provide a chilling reminder that the US military apparatus has pursued a program of ruinous overexertion since its war against the Taliban began in 2001. Despite the popular impression that al-Qaeda and the Taliban were comrades in arms in the lead-up to 9/11, the reality is that Taliban leaders resented Osama bin Laden for issuing fatwas against the West and had even tried alerting the US of bin Laden’s diabolical plans beforehand. When the attacks happened anyway, the Taliban remained fairly pliant, offering to surrender bin Laden to the Organization of the Islamic Conference if the US could prove that bin Laden was behind the attacks. After President George W. Bush rejected that overture and bombed Afghanistan, in October 2001, the Afghan government quickly gave up its “proof of guilt” condition and sought a settlement that would involve surrendering bin Laden to a U.S.-selected third party. But in his apparently implacable desire to fight, Bush again rejected negotiations in favor of a mutually destructive war.

To continue reading: Sadism in Afghanistan

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