A U.S. Marine crosses a bridge during a security patrol in Afghanistan.
America is a declining empire trying to resurrect itself through military intervention and armed occupation.
The more than $1 trillion decade with Iraq has finally ended. But neocon dreams of democracy for Iraq did not pan out. Iraq has a corrupt, shaky and ineffective government. Thousands of people continue to die in sectarian violence as Iraq wallows in a bloody civil war.
As for Afghanistan, most of the original terrorists in al-Qaida who planned 9/11 are either dead, in prison, on the run or holed up in Pakistan. Washington tells us that Pakistan is our most trusted Muslim ally, ignoring Peter Bergen’s 2011 New York Times bestseller The Longest War: The enduring conflict between America and al-Qaeda. Bergen writes that Pakistan has consistently been found to be “one of the most anti-American countries in the world.”
It seems obvious that the continued occupation of Afghanistan — a country that has defeated the armies of the Russian tsars, the British Empire and the Soviet Union — is doomed to fail.
We Need Cronkite
What makes news today are celebrity overdoses, dirt on Presidential candidates and the best new reality series. But consider what Walter Cronkite said on Feb. 27, 1968, following the Tet Offensive: “It seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.”
Cronkite made this statement four years into that war. America is into its second decade of fighting in Afghanistan, and even a stalemate now seems impossible.
If the goals of victory were the killing of Osama bin Laden and the almost complete destruction of al-Qaida within Afghanistan, then victory has been achieved. But if the neoconservatives still believe we can institute a democratic government in Kabul, they are either naïve or initiating wars simply for the sake of war.
For decades, our government has been arrogant in imposing Western principals and ideals. Washington cannot understand that Afghanistan, a tribal and Muslim country, will not accept Western ideals any more than we would accept a prescript declared on us by a foreign power.
Imposing On Others
I am a peaceful fellow who is past middle age. I always tried to either walk or, better yet, run away from a real conflict. But if armed Chinese soldiers occupied and patrolled the streets of my city, I would clean the barrel on my hunting rifle. I am willing to bet that a great many of you would do the same to resist foreign occupation.
Yet Washington thinks American ideals should be welcomed with outstretched arms. Some of this has to do with the experience of World War II and how Europeans welcomed the United States as a liberator.
Here is the catch: The period 1925 to 1945 was an aberration — 20 years of dictators. Consider that before Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, much of Europe had thrived for decades with democracy.