Tag Archives: Afghanistan withdrawal disaster

The Empire Does Not Forgive, by Chris Hedges

Empires forget their failures and repeat them, but they neither forget nor forgive those who expose their failures, lies, and depredations. From Chris Hedges at consortiumnews.com:

The mandarins who oversee our collective suicide, despite repeated failure, doggedly insist the U.S. can reshape the world in its own image. 

(Original illustration by Mr. Fish)

The Carthaginian general Hannibal, who came close to defeating the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War, committed suicide in 181 BC in exile as Roman soldiers closed in on his residence in the Bithynian village of Libyssa, now modern-day Turkey.

It had been more than 30 years since he led his army across the Alps and annihilated Roman legions at the Battle of Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae, considered one of the most brilliant tactical victories in warfare which centuries later inspired the plans of the German Army Command in World War I when they invaded Belgium and France. Rome was only able to finally save itself from defeat by replicating Hannibal’s military tactics.

It did not matter in 181 BC that there had been over 20 Roman consuls (with quasi-imperial power) since Hannibal’s invasion. It did not matter that Hannibal had been hunted for decades and forced to perpetually flee, always just beyond the reach of Roman authorities. He had humiliated Rome. He had punctured its myth of omnipotence. And he would pay. With his life.

Years after Hannibal was gone, the Romans were still not satisfied. They finished their work of apocalyptic vengeance in 146 BC by razing Carthage to the ground and selling its remaining population into slavery. Cato the Censor summed up the sentiments of empire: Carthage must be destroyed. Nothing about empire, from then until now, has changed.

Imperial powers do not forgive those who expose their weaknesses or make public the sordid and immoral inner workings of empire. Empires are fragile constructions. Their power is as much one of perception as of military strength. The virtues they claim to uphold and defend, usually in the name of their superior civilization, are a mask for pillage, the exploitation of cheap labor, indiscriminate violence and state terror.

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The ‘Great Reset’ in Microcosm: ‘Data Driven Defeat’ in Afghanistan, by Alastair Crooke

What if the same people who masterminded the Afghanistan withdrawal are the same people who intend to rule the world? From Alastair Crooke by strategic-culture.org:

There is little mystery as to why the Taliban took over Kabul so quickly, Alastair Crooke writes.

Nation-building in Afghanistan arrived in 2001. Western interventions into the old Eastern bloc in the 1980s and early 1990s had been spectacularly effective in destroying the old social and institutional order; but equally spectacular in failing to replace imploded societies with fresh institutions.  The threat from ‘failed states’ became the new mantra, and Afghanistan – in the wake of the destruction wrought post-9/11 – therefore necessitated external intervention.  Weak and failed states were the spawning ground for terrorism and its threat to the ‘global order’, it was said. It was in Afghanistan that a new liberal world vision was to be stood-up.

At another level, the war in Afghanistan became another sort of crucible. In very real terms, Afghanistan turned into a testbed for every single innovation in technocratic project management – with each innovation heralded as precursor to our wider future. Funds poured in: Buildings were thrown up, and an army of globalised technocrats arrived to oversee the process.  Big data, AI and the utilization of ever expanding sets of technical and statistical metrics, were to topple old ‘stodgy’ ideas.  Military sociology in the form of Human Terrain Teams and other innovative creations, were unleashed to bring order to chaos. Here, the full force of the entire NGO world, the brightest minds of that international government-in-waiting, were given a playground with nearly infinite resources at their disposal.

This was to be a showcase for technical managerialism. It presumed that a properly technical, and scientific way of understanding war and nation-building would be able to mobilize reason and progress to accomplish what everyone else could not, and so create a post-modern society, out of a complex tribal one, with its own storied history.

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Really Bad Poetry, by Karen Kwiatkowski

You’re an enemy of the state or you’re not. Be damn careful if you’re in that former group. From Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:

ISIS-K wants the US to stay;  MICIMATT agrees, just one more day.

Who advised Afghans to mass at the airport, creating the mother of all soft targets?  Some say the Pentagon told Sleepy Joe, and, well, he forgets.

It’s a great way of life, Americans moan.  Unless you have no cash or gas, and can’t get a payday loan.

Why bother to end the Fed?  In the end, we’ll all be dead.

OK, OK, even I can’t stand it!

The chaotic situation – to use a word Joe Biden used twice in his “where’s my stretcher” address to the nation – is metastasizing.  That is, the chaos is transforming into something worse than simple chaos.

A global war is on, yet no one declared it, and no one said anything.  But it’s on, just the same.  The glimpse of an astoundingly NOT chaotic transfer of power from the US to the Taliban is already fading, despite the media’s attempt to massage and stretch it like a good mozzarella.  Afghanistan, now ruled by the majority of Afghans in the form of the hardened, wizened and administratively-improved-by-35- years-of-civil-war-Taliban is going to be a breath of fresh air in the region.  The rise and role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is just one part of several decades of actual peace coming to this part of the world.

By the way – why do I think the Afghan takeover of Kabul is not as chaotic as your typical fall of a corrupt unpopular government when the colonial masters sneak out in the dead of night?  I don’t know, pick your Burma, Congo, Liberia or Guatemala…

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Blowback: Taliban Target US Intel’s Shadow Army, by Pepe Escobar

According to official US government propaganda, there’s no such thing as blowback. The government repeatedly blunders into countries, killing millions of innocents, destroying lives, destroying families, wrecking homes and villages, etc., and nobody ever gets angry about it and nobody takes revenge. Everybody loves America! From Pepe Escobar at unz.com:

The Kabul Airport bombing shows there are shadowy forces in Afghanistan, willing to disrupt a peaceful transition after US troops leave. But what about US intel’s own ‘shadow army,’ amassed over two decades of occupation? Who are they, and what is their agenda?

So we have the CIA Director William Burns deploying in haste to Kabul to solicit an audience with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, the new potential ruler of a former satrapy. And he literally begs him to extend a deadline on the evacuation of US assets.

The answer is a resounding “no.” After all, the 31 August deadline was established by Washington itself. Extending it would only mean the extension of an already defeated occupation.

The ‘Mr. Burns goes to Kabul’ caper is by now part of cemetery of empires folklore. The CIA does not confirm or deny Burns met Mullah Baradar; a Taliban spokesman, delightfully diversionist, said he was “not aware” of such a meeting.

We’ll probably never know the exact terms discussed by the two unlikely participants – assuming the meeting ever took place and is not crass intel disinformation.

Meanwhile, Western public hysteria is, of all things, focused on the imperative necessity of extracting all ‘translators’ and other functionaries (who were de facto NATO collaborators) out of Kabul airport. Yet thundering silence envelops what is in fact the real deal: the CIA shadow army left behind.

The shadow army are Afghan militias set up back in the early 2000s to engage in ‘counter-insurgency’ – that lovely euphemism for search and destroy ops against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Along the way, these militias practiced, in droves, that proverbial semantic combo normalizing murder: ‘extrajudicial killings,’ usually a sequel to ‘enhanced interrogations.’ These ops were always secret as per the classic CIA playbook, thus ensuring there was never any accountability.

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A Heedless Aftermath, by James Howard Kunstler

The Afghanistan fiasco may be the tipping point. At least half of America is on to the Deep State and is disgusted by it. Biden has been a string of disasters and a lot of people are fed up. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

For all the seeming power of the Deep State — a.k.a. the “Intel Community” — one really has to be impressed by its stupidity and desperation. It can’t keep secrets or cover its tracks. Anyone who was paying attention to the RussiaGate operation has seen the published evidence of all the lawless behavior it spawned and knows the names of all the players. Ditto, the effort to engineer the 2020 election and install an obviously senile puppet-stooge in the White House. And ditto the effort to manufacture the Covid-19 crisis by hijacking the public health apparatus of the federal government.

Yet, this Deep State rogue menace is stumbling badly now because it didn’t figure out the basic dynamic of the long emergency: that over-investments in complexity inexorably produce disorder and collapse. This includes the complexity of the Deep State itself, a sprawling enterprise choking on the immense stream of data it feeds on and the fumbling efforts of its all-too-human agents to weaponize all that. The question now is whether the Deep State will collapse — even perhaps get forcefully defeated by Americans who oppose it — before the entire country and all its support systems collapse.

Events are on the loose well beyond the Deep State’s control now. Its front man, “Joe Biden,” sealed his fate last week with the bungled exit from Afghanistan. Thirteen dead US soldiers may only be the preview of a Grand-Guignol to come as the victorious Islamic maniacs get to stage atrocities starring the thousands of Americans and other Westerners left behind. Why wouldn’t they? For decades, they’ve promised to defeat and humiliate their “infidel” enemies. Remember the video-recorded beheadings of Nicholas Berg, Daniel Pearl and many others? The roasting of the captured Syrian pilot in a steel cage?

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Biden Drone Strikes White House After Vowing To Kill Those Reponsible For American Military Deaths In Kabul

From The Babylon Bee:

WASHINGTON, D.C—President Joe Biden has finally stepped up delivering harsh remarks regarding those responsible for the deaths of our troops in Kabul. The President has authorized deadly force to deal with all who caused this tragedy.

“We will not rest until those responsible for this senseless, avoidable crisis in Kabul have been removed from this Earth,” said a forceful Biden. “We will unleash everything within our military’s arsenal to stop those who allowed this to happen!”

Unbeknownst to Biden at that very moment, a US military drone was activated and given the White House as its target. Before Biden could finish his speech he was pulled away urgently and briefed on what he’d just done.

“Aw c’mon man! I said kill the terrorists. Not us! What’s the deal, man?” said Biden.

“I’m sorry sir, but unfortunately you said to kill those responsible, Mr. President,” said General Milley. “The drones are quite literal, sir. There’s nothing we can do.”

At publishing time, Biden had tried to give the drones new orders to kill those who wish to harm our country, but the drone’s path remained unaltered.

The Afghanistan Rout and American Glasnost’, by Dmitry Orlov

Are we reaching the point where the American establishment is running out of lies? We can only hope. From Dmitry Orlov at cluborlov.wordpress.com:

Recent events have forced me to interrupt regular programming to bring you a report on the developments in Afghanistan and what I believe they portend for both US. The US and NATO have finally left Afghanistan after a 20-year occupation. At this point, they are still retaining a toehold at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, from which they are attempting to repatriate their nationals along with those Afghanis who served the occupation. These collaborators now fear for their lives from the Taliban, who have swiftly taken over almost the entire country in what was probably the most bloodless regime change operation that part of the world has ever experienced.

The US occupation of Afghanistan was rationalized based on an entire edifice of lies. At its foundation lay the lie of Nineleven. Above it towered the lie of fighting terrorism (while training and equipping the terrorists). Somewhere along the way the lie of aiding Afghanistan’s development into a vibrant, modern democracy with gender equality and other bells and whistles was added to this already stupendous structure (while the only actual development was that of the heroin trade). And, of course, overlaying all of the above was a truly staggering amount of corruption and theft.

If you believe the official narrative, Osama bin Laden was a sort of latter-day Jesus who repeated the miracle of loaves and fishes except with skyscrapers, knocking down three of them (WTC 1, 2 and 7) using just two airplanes. Another of his miracles was to make an entire passenger jet, piloted by an amateur, pull some truly stunning aerobatics that no passenger jet has pulled before or since, then ascend unto heaven through a wall of the Pentagon, engines, seats, luggage, bodies and all, leaving behind a small charred opening plus a part of a cruise missile that apparently had been hidden on board and that was subsequently carried away wrapped in a tarp on the shoulders of some very nervous and displeased-looking gentlemen in office attire. Another plane full of passengers left a smallish charred pit in the ground and recordings of rather scripted-sounding cell phone conversations held while the supposed plane was in an area lacking cell phone coverage. Bin Laden orchestrated all this mayhem by satellite phone, or by telepathy, without ever leaving the comfort of his cave in Afghanistan. I encourage you to believe this narrative because believing the alternative may cause you to lose your mind. Many people already have.

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From the Notebook – Who Does Davos Turn To After Biden? by Tom Luongo

What does the Davos crowd if neither Biden nor Harris is an acceptable figurehead to run the US government? Janet Yellen for president, anyone? From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

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Who’s to Blame for Afghanistan? by Peter Van Buren

It’s a crime that it took official Washington twenty years to figure it out, but the US should never have been in Afghanistan in the first place. From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:

There was never a “turning point,” never a way to win.

Did anyone expect the U.S. war in Afghanistan to end cleanly? If so, you bought the lies all along and the cold water now is hitting sharp. While the actual ending is particularly harsh and clearly spliced together from old clips of Saigon 1975, those are simply details.

Who should we blame for losing Afghanistan? Why blame anyone?

Why blame Biden? He played his part as a senator and vice president keeping the war going, but his role today is just being the last guy in a long line of people to blame, a pawn in the game. That Biden is willing to be the “president who lost Afghanistan” is all the proof you need he does not intend to run again for anything. Kind of an ironic version of a young John Kerry’s take on Vietnam “how do you ask the last man to die for a mistake?” Turns out, it’s easy: call Joe.

Blame Trump for the deal? One of the saddest things about the brutal ending of the U.S.-Afghan war is we would have gotten the same deal—just leave it to the Taliban and go home—at basically any point during the last 20 years. That makes every death and every dollar a waste. Afghanistan is simply reverting, quickly, to more or less status quo ante September 11, 2001, and everything between then and now, including lost opportunities, will have been wasted.⁠

Blame the neocons? No one in Washington who supported this war was ever called out, with the possible exception of Donald Rumsfeld. Dick Cheney walks free. The generals and diplomats who ran the war have nice think tank or university jobs, if they are not still in government making equally bad decisions. No one has been legally, financially, or professionally disadvantaged by the blood on their hands. Some of the era’s senior leaders—Blinken, Rice, Power, Nuland—are now working in better jobs for Biden. I’d like to hope they have trouble sleeping at night, but I doubt it.

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The Cynical Campaign To Scapegoat Joe Biden for the Afghanistan Debacle, by Ted Galen Carpenter

Joe Biden’s been president for seven months, but critics are acting as if he’s entirely responsible for the twenty-year disaster known as the Afghanistan war. From Ted Galen Carpenter at antiwar.com:

The chaotic end to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has produced an abundance of recriminations. Some of them are warranted, even though the dominant motive in nearly all cases is little more than crude blame shifting. Joe Biden and his foreign policy team certainly can be faulted for spectacularly mismanaging the final stage of the US troop withdrawal. The president’s comments on July 8 emphatically disputing predictions that the Taliban would quickly overrun Afghanistan did not enhance his reputation for accurate insights. It is hardly a good sight to see US helicopters conducting evacuation flights of diplomats from the American embassy in Kabul – an image all-too-reminiscent of Saigon in 1975.

But the intensifying campaign to assign blame goes far beyond complaints about handling the withdrawal. GOP partisans and the ever-opportunistic neocons are attempting to make Biden responsible for the entire fiasco of the failed mission in Afghanistan. As a corollary, they push the insidious and absurd argument that if the United States had just stayed the course for a few more years (or decades), Washington’s Afghan intervention eventually would have succeeded.

In reality, the ineffectual and corrupt nation-building crusade was doomed from the start. Drawing on the Soviet Union’s bitter experience in Afghanistan during the 1970s and 1980s trying to prop-up its communist client, Mikhail Gorbachev recently emphasized that point. Yet in their arrogance, US officials failed to learn from Moscow’s bloody, frustrating sojourn in that country. The administrations of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and (especially) George W. Bush deserve far more blame than the Biden administration for the Afghanistan fiasco. Former President Bush had the temerity to denounce the idea of a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan despite the passage of nearly two decades, the expenditure of some $2 trillion, and the loss of more than 2,400 American lives.

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