One thing you can count on after the US withdraws from Afghanistan—the US foreign policy establishment will have learned nothing from the two-decade fiasco. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:
Remaking the world — all of it — in the U.S. image has been a foundation stone of American foreign policy since the Wilson administration — a century ago.
Tragedy, a scholarly friend reminds me, does not mean merely a disastrous event or events — serial murders, a ravaging hurricane, losses in war, famines. Tragedy entails self-knowledge through suffering, transcendent clarity after great destruction.
In Sophocles’ celebrated tragedy, pride and hubris have blinded Oedipus to who he is and what he has done. He hunts his father’s murderer only to discover he is the patricidal killer. When he blinds himself in despair, it signifies he has seen the truth. He knows himself at last by way of another kind of sight and that is insight.
The debacle in Afghanistan is not a tragedy however many times we call it one. The 20 years of violence and destruction are a disaster, yes. Nearly 160,000 people have died, the Watson Institute’s Cost of War Project tells us, and the U.S. wasted $2.3 trillion it could have spent bettering the human condition anywhere it wanted at home or abroad. Is there clarity, self-recognition, insight? Don’t look for any now that the Afghan adventure is over.
Sarah Abdallah, a Lebanese journalist with a lively presence on Twitter, compiled a list of eight U.S. presidents who had a hand in the Afghanistan war — her chronology extending back not two decades but four.