The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewEric Margolis Archive
Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

“In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.”.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This week, the venerable Washington Post newspaper revealed a bombshell, 2,000 page, secret Pentagon report detailing the astounding failure of US war strategy in Afghanistan, America’s longest war.

Americans have been fed a steady stream of lies about the Afghan War, concluded the Post. So asserted this writer in ‘American Conservative’ magazine in 2003 when the US invaded Afghanistan.

`We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking,’ admitted three star General Douglas Lute who commanded US forces in Afghanistan under Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama.

Arrogance and ignorance, backed by mammoth brute force, led US policy in the remote Asian nation. Attacking Afghanistan was revenge for the 9/11 attacks against the US. As this writer saw first hand in Afghanistan, all the claims about Osama bin Laden’s ‘terrorist training camps’ in Afghanistan were lies. 9/11 was not planned in Afghanistan.

Taliban were not ‘terrorists.’ They were lightly armed tribal warriors fighting bandits and the US-backed Afghan intelligence services run by the Communist Party. Taliban’s fathers, the mujahidin, were hailed as ‘freedom fighters’ by Ronald Reagan. In 2003, the US did a total volte-face to support the Afghan Communists who promised to allow US-owned pipeline routes south from Central Asia’s oil rich Caspian Basin to Pakistan’s coast. After Taliban refused the chintzy US pipelines offer, this nationalist, anti-drug movement that battled the rape of Afghanistan was branded ‘terrorists’.

The US-installed Kabul regime was a bunch of off-the-shelf CIA assets: warlords, major drug dealers, and communists. Billions upon billions of US dollars were flown in to hire mercenaries and pay off warlords and criminals. The biggest war criminals in Afghanistan became key US allies.

When Taliban was in power, it eliminated 90% of Afghanistan’s extensive trade of high-grade morphine and heroin. Once the US seized Kabul and installed its own puppet regime, drug production surged to all-time highs. US forces and their allies became deeply involved in the drug trade that sustained the nation’s economy. Today, US-run Afghanistan is the world’s biggest drug dealer.

Those journalists like this one who insisted on telling the truth about Afghanistan were fired or ignored. I was booted off CNN for denying their false claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And that the US was ‘winning’ the Afghan War. I was banned from certain radio and public TV networks for asserting that ISIS was a western invention, backed by Turkey, the US, France, Britain and Israel. I was branded a ‘radical’ for trying to tell the truth.

I mention these examples to affirm charges, made by the Washington Post, that the entire Afghan conflict was a farrago of lies and half-truths cooked up by the US government to justify a brutal war of aggression against a weak, medieval nation that dared to block our demands for strategic pipeline routes.

ORDER IT NOW

The Washington Post played a key role in promoting the lies that opened the way to the US invasion of Iraq. Today, it is doing penance by revealing all the lies that facilitated the Afghan War – and the thousands of US soldiers killed or wounded there, the vast destruction wrought on Afghanistan by US warplanes, wide scale torture, starvation, mass killing of civilians and all the other horrors of war.

According to the Pentagon report, the US has wasted at least one trillion dollars ($1 trillion) on its Afghanistan War to no discernible effect other than great numbers of dead and wounded, destroyed villages, machine-gunned farm animals, and vast chemical pollution. If it moves, bomb it is the American credo.

That’s why we see the shameful spectacle of US B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers carpet bombing Afghan villages, and swarms of helicopter and AC-130 gunships blasting apart medieval Afghan tribesmen and wedding parties. The Soviets were just as ruthless; but we are more efficient.

America’s media, with a few small exceptions, has promoted the Pentagon’s war against the Afghan people and totally covered up its atrocities and egregious lies. This war has become a giant, money devouring killing machine that boosts politicians and military contractors. The past presidents who cheered on this disgraceful war against one of the world’s poorest, most backward nations deserve to be disgraced.

Meanwhile, we must stop and think about the Pashtun tribal fighters who held off the world’s mightiest military machine for the past 18 years with little more than old AK-47 rifles and indomitable courage. We owe them our sincerest apologies and a rebuilt country. As a former US soldier I salute them, these bravest of the brave.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
Hide 17 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Until it can be proven otherwise, always safest for us American rubes to assume our “leaders” are lying to us about everything. People who want to “serve” in government are just intelligent enough to realize they have neither the brains nor the industry sufficient to achieve wealth and power through moral means.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
  2. An outstanding article, one of your best. What I don’t understand is why the evil CIA run Washington Post did this expose. It makes no sense.

    Yet nothing will change. I assumed that when the great movie “War Machine” appeared in 2017, things might change in our Afghan policy. It only got worse. It seems we are there for four reasons.

    1. It justifies billions of dollars in easy profits each year for a very few.
    2. The Generals love playing war. Getting medals and pretending they are warriors.
    3. It provides bases for the attack on Iran.
    4. It allows for the expansion of the century old Anglo-American run worldwide opium trade.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/sigar-chief-us-war-on-drugs-afghanistan-a-total-failure-2019-12?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds

    • Agree: Jim Christian
  3. Anonymous[237] • Disclaimer says:

    Noting his limp from a wound by a jezail bullet, SHerlock Holmes first words to Dr. Watson were “You have been in Afghanistan I perceive”

  4. Alistair says:

    If you want to put a face on the American corrupt politicians; Senator Mitch McConnell is your man; Mitch McConnell is the embodiment of the Republican’s corrupt politicians – he is a living history.

    Mitch McConnell has been in the US Senate since 1984, he has been leading, justifying, plotting and enabling every US policies since 1984; during his tenure under Ronald Reagan, the US had propped up the Talibans and Al Qaeda against the Soviets in Afghanistan; the US bombing of the Libyan capital in 1986; the US invasion of Panama in 1989 — the first Iraq war under George Bush senior in 1991, and later in 2001, under George Bush junior the Afghan war, and in 2003 the Iraq war – all with the full blessing of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader of the US Senate, who today, continues to enabling president Donald Trump and his imperial ambitions for the American Republic.

    If you want to put a face on the Republican corrupt politicians, here is your man, Senator Mitch McConnell who has been in power since 1984, he is a living history of the American institutional corruption.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  5. One day, perhaps not in our lifetime, countries will invade the US and carpet bomb the cities. Maybe US politicians and soldiers will be held accountable for their war crimes.

    • Replies: @Roger
  6. Aw jeez. Follow the money. Heroin production is booming. ‘Murica has an opioid problem. No –it. As long as bidness is good we ain’t goin nowhere.

  7. A fifty fold increase in opium production since the US went into Afghanistan is a strong argument against the idea that the US is there for no reason.

  8. hoarse says:

    “Soviets were just as ruthless” ahh not quite. The big difference here is that Soviet invested incredible sums in local infrastructure, US hasn’t spent one iota in anything but warfare both here and the other wars in the region. For that Soviets are remembered as the “good occupiers”. US is just hated and loathed.

    • Agree: nokangaroos
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  9. Anonymous[373] • Disclaimer says:
    @hoarse

    Recall a local asking our squad to provide him with work. He had a family and needed funds. We told him to ask the local fixer for work, as that was our contact with the Afghans (and well paid for it). Said asshole was SUPPOSED to provide jobs to the locals on our sponsored Hearts and Minds projects. However, family man informed us that good ol’ fat Ahmed was asking for exorbitant levels of baksheesh in order to get these jobs, which he could not afford. We liked the guy, and he was honest, unlike the assholes like Ahmed that were on our payroll. He further went on to tell us that the other side would pay him to do whatever (meaning plant IEDs, spot mortars, etc), that he would prefer to work with us, but he had family to feed. OIC told him that our hands were tied; Ahmed was the official liason, etc. We could have put together some script and paid him ourselves, but that was not allowed either. So we had the opportunity to put the opposition to work for us, and would have been happy to do so. But the same can’t cunt lawyers that limited our ROE further undermined our security by making sure the locals were fucked over economically unless worked for the other side. Thanks, JAGholes. Once again, the US was in a war supporting the wrong side (remember Vietnam).

    This little incident is a shining example of the failure of the supposed economic policies over there. Now multiply and extrapolate these occurrences over the course of the conflict and we can see that those billions spent not only did not help the locals, but the large scale misuse of funds was a significant and direct contributor to the casualty level of our troops, which in turn leads to long term health and compensation costs. The Scam is Strong with this War

  10. A dumping ground of empires, not their graveyards.

    The fall of British Empire had nothing to do with Afghanistan.
    And USSR would have collapsed with glasnost and perestroika even if it hadn’t gotten involved in Afghanistan.
    And US empire will continue even after it pulls out of Afghanistan… if it ever does.

    • Replies: @Sgt York
  11. Sgt York says:
    @Priss Factor

    Graveyard of Logistics is more like it. The end of the world as far as logistics trails go, when combined with continually hostile locals that are happy to live in the tribal era makes the place non-tenable. Costs too much to operate in the AO, and the return on investment is inadequate to justify the costs of maintaining a permanent garrison. Subsistence agriculture and poppy farming are not the foundations of any kind of nation, and there has never been any kind of nation-state there. The American West had gold rushes, silver strikes and a the lure of the Pacific trade. Afghan has always been a land of limited opportunities inhabited by the inbred hillbillies of Asia. To say that Empires are lost because of a failure to hold Afghan is kind of stupid really. More like the value of holding the place has always been higher on the planning board than after a few years of supplying troops for a limited objective. This poetic bullshit about a need to hold Asia’s shitbox is the foolish musings of the armchair general

  12. @Alistair

    McConnell is only one of many, on both sides of the aisle, and I would suggest that he couldn’t hold a candle to the likes of McCain or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton.

  13. Miro23 says:

    I mention these examples to affirm charges, made by the Washington Post, that the entire Afghan conflict was a farrago of lies and half-truths cooked up by the US government…

    This is the real mystery. Why is the Washington Post (Zio-media HQ) saying this?

    Do they need a US military redeployment for their Iran war?

  14. Anochka says:

    There’s no mystery behind the publication of the Afghan Papers. Bezos lost the US Military’s cloud services contract to Microsoft. That fact also explains why there has been only an insignificant MSM response to the expose. The Papers’ publication was a power play by Bezos for the benefit of the generals and political grifters, and the policy to not expand on the coverage or commentary was just Bezos taking his foot off the gas after he’d made his point. BTW, I believe Bezos is challenging the contract award in the courts.

  15. Roger says:
    @Ostap Bender

    You might be right. Or not. Only time will tell.

  16. Franz says:

    When Taliban was in power, it eliminated 90% of Afghanistan’s extensive trade of high-grade morphine and heroin. Once the US seized Kabul and installed its own puppet regime, drug production surged to all-time highs. US forces and their allies became deeply involved in the drug trade that sustained the nation’s economy. Today, US-run Afghanistan is the world’s biggest drug dealer.

    Translation: The USA outsourced all the heavy industry and subsidiary industries that produced middle class jobs, along with a middle class tax base.

    Plainer still, like all NarcoTyrannies, the USA needs hard currency, bad. So voila, drugs. And with 50 million pain patients in the US cut off by the CDC, a never-ending customer base is ready to be taken to the cleaners.

    CIA capitalism, 21st century style. The drug lords at the Pentagon are happy about it, and what else matters?

  17. indocon says:

    The last outside military force to conquer and subdue the afghans with none other than the Sikhs, this was the general who led the campaign:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari_Singh_Nalwa#cite_note-FOOTNOTESandhu193585-63

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Eric Margolis Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Bin Laden is dead, but his strategy still bleeds the United States.
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in...
A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.