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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/18/21

U.S. Joins Past Empires in Afghan Graveyard

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Coalition helps Afghan police secure high ground [Image 8 of 23]
Coalition helps Afghan police secure high ground [Image 8 of 23]
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An Afghan taxi-driver in Vancouver told one of us a decade ago that this day would come. "We defeated the Persian Empire in the eighteenth century, the British in the nineteenth, the Soviets in the twentieth. Now, with NATO, we're fighting twenty-eight countries, but we'll defeat them, too," said the taxi-driver, surely not a member of the Taliban, but quietly proud of his country's empire-killing credentials.

Now, after nearly twenty years of a war that has been as bloody and futile as all those previous invasions and occupations, the last 3,500 U.S. troops and their NATO brothers-in-arms will be coming home from Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden tried to spin this as the United States leaving because it has achieved its objectives, bringing the terrorists responsible for 9/11 to justice and ensuring that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for a future attack on the United States. "We achieved those objectives," Biden said. "Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is degraded. It's time to end the forever war."

What Biden did not admit is that the United States and its allies, with all their money and firepower, were unable to vanquish the Taliban who currently control about half of Afghanistan and are positioned to control even more in the coming months without a ceasefire. Nor did Biden admit that, in two decades, the United States and its allies have been unable to build up a stable, democratic, popular government or a competent military in the country.

Like the U.S.S.R., the U.S. is leaving in defeat, having squandered the lives of countless Afghans, 2,488 U.S. troops and personnel, and trillions of dollars.

A U.S. withdrawal especially one not based on conditions on the ground is, nevertheless, a bold move for Biden. He is going against the advice of the U.S. intelligence community and top Pentagon officials including the head of the U.S.-Afghan Forces and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Biden is also coming under attack from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Senator Mitch McConnell artfully slammed Biden's decision, accusing him of helping U.S. enemies "ring in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by gift-wrapping the country and handing it right back to them." Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the withdrawal "undermines our commitment to the Afghan people, particularly Afghan women."

But while Biden is being pilloried by some for pulling out too soon, the truth is that he is violating a May 1 deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal that was painstakingly negotiated under the Trump Administration.

Ironically, Biden acknowledged in his speech on Wednesday that the withdrawal agreement the United States signed with the Taliban in February 2020 was a solemn commitment, but then he said U.S. forces would begin their withdrawal on May 1 and complete it by September 11, which is not what was agreed to.

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Medea Benjamin Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. 

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4 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments


Lance Ciepiela

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Surely #REMAINS 'to be seen' - "bringing the terrorists responsible for 9/11 to justice". #WHO was really responsible for causing all the explosions at the World Trade Center on 9/11, killing almost 3,000 persons, has not yet been 'determined' or 'investigated' by our duly elected or appointed federal, state, or local officials. #TorturedWasteland.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 18, 2021 at 11:46:15 AM

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Tomonthebeach

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You would think that after Korea, then Vietnam, and all the little 3rd world countries where we sent troops to restore order but who never returned home that Congress would be warry of another invasion. So why not a little sh-thole country nobody ever heard of; Afghanistan.

Congress ignored recent knowledge that the country probably triggered the collapse of the Soviet Union by over-extending its economy. Ignore that before Russia, the Brits were sent packing as well. In fact, millennia of history attest to the failure of any empire to capture and hold that worthless mountain country that produces most the world's heroin - and little else (okay, nice rugs).

Any Vietnam-era retired soldier would predict that in the end, we would just leave in a rain of humiliation like in Saigon. This time, though, to make it look like "peace with honor," Biden is leaving a large army of mercenaries to keep order, so at least our troops will not march out while being pelted with goat dung and stones. If that works, it will likely be our strategy for leaving Iraq some day as well.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 18, 2021 at 3:01:13 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Yes, the 108th congress, March 20, 2003 - '2003 invasion of Iraq began', totally 'ignoring' the Nuremberg Trials as well - 'when George W Bush attacked and invaded Iraq without securing a new war resolution as required, from the United Nations Security Council [a signed Treaty], his invasion, occupation, and everything that followed became a War of Aggression, totally illegal and immoral from the very first day. #Nuremberg.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 18, 2021 at 4:29:29 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Can't tell if you were being sarcastic, but if you weren't there was no need to denigrate Afghanistan by calling it a shithole and "worthless." It's actually an intensely beautiful country with a strong and vibrant people.

Also no, I would not "think that after Korea, then Vietnam...Congress would be wary." Congress knows where it's bread is buttered. The MIC thrives on invasion, racks up trillion dollar expenditures and gets fat as a pig. Congress is tethered to MIC and rubber stamps the budgets that support these adventures. You're making the mistake of believing that Congress cares or represents our best interests. You would think we would all at least know that much by now after how many decades of being screwed?

Russia is different. First of all it's not a military state and it has no colonial empire to fill in resource gaps, so of course it went broke. Eventually when there's no one left in the US with money to tax except the sacrosanct oligarchs, MIC will collapse, too, and the nation it runs along with it.

Submitted on Monday, Apr 19, 2021 at 10:08:53 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

John,

See my response to Tom. He appears naive.

Are you? There's room for research here. If interested, some information can be gathered from Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert and also Steven Greer's talks on Youtube.

BTW - I have a few articles up on the prison system.

Best,

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 1:25:42 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Reply to Tomonthebeach:   New Content

Tom,

You demonstrate a lack of depth understanding re- the way Afghanistan's poppy fields fueled the heroin trade, the profits if which in turn - through our security organizations - are poured into Black and Deep Black projects. And that country's role as hosting a major oil pipeline. Oil and Deep Black Projects are the underlying name of the game.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 at 1:17:01 PM

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