The Afghanistan War: Neoliberal Interventionists are the Biggest Threat to World Peace

It seems we have learnt nothing from Afghanistan, or more accurately, learnt the exact opposite lessons to those we were supposed to learn. Some of the recent hot takes on the internet have depressed me, and the input from our politicians has horrified me. 

Britain and America have just ended a 20 year military occupation (that's 3.3 times longer than WW2!) which has achieved nothing, other than violence, destruction and death. It should be a time for our nations to show humility, to accept our attempts at "nation building" and "spreading democracy" were horribly misguided at the very least, but could better be described as dishonest and extremely sinister. 

While some gullible people supported military intervention for noble intentions, those pulling the strings certainly did not share those noble intentions. The public were played and our soldiers were used as pawns. Powerful people used the horror of 9/11 to emotionally manipulate us, to play on our fears, and to cast their critics as risks to national security so they could line their own pockets. Former US vice president and CEO of Halliburton Dick Cheney became a billionaire, for fuck's sake.

A handful of noble politicians like Jeremy Corbyn warned us about all of this, but they were dismissed by the mainstream media and our political leaders. I remember as a young man, thinking history will show us who was right and who was wrong, and will surely help the public understand who the good guys are. 

History, of course, vindicated the anti-war movement, showing them to be right every step of the way, and the Blairites and US neocons wrong every step of the way. And now, instead of eating humble pie, blue tick neoliberals on Twitter are accusing the left of "gloating" for pointing this out. 

We're not gloating, we're fucking traumatised and exhausted by your inability to listen and learn, and your constant enabling of needless war. Members of my family served in Afghanistan. One saw his friends blown to pieces in front of his own eyes at the age of 18. How can you not be angry about this? And how can you possibly want more intervention? 

You seriously want another war in Afghanistan? Another one? 

Did it escape your attention the Taliban have the state of the art weaponry the US left behind for the Afghan army? Did it occur to you the Mujahideen, who later became the Taliban, were originally armed and trained by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan? We created this monster and far from defeating it, we only made it a hell of a lot stronger. Go imperialism!

Oh, you want more war because you're concerned about women's rights now? 

Rewind to the 1970s before western "interventions" and Afghanistan's women were free. Now they're not free, thanks to our 40 years of meddling in their affairs. If you really think women's rights are justification for another war and another indefinite occupation, then please explain why you're not chomping at the bit to invade Saudi Arabia.

Not only is Saudi Arabia among the worst abusers of women's rights on Earth, it also gave us the 9/11 hijackers who were aided by the Saudi intelligence services. If we were going to invade any country in retaliation for 9/11, or to protect women's rights, then surely that should've been Saudi Arabia. Here was the state providing Al Qaueda's credit card, and we called them, and still call them, our "friend and ally". Meanwhile, literally no one in Afghanistan was interested in the west. We invaded their country for nothing.

Well, not for nothing. 

We got oil pipelines out of it, which we no longer need. Other than that, who benefited? Weapons manufacturers, security contractors and the opium trade. We started a war no one asked for, to help the worst people on Earth make money - people who profit from suffering and death. If you doubt that for one second, just ask yourself why we didn't invade any of the countries where we might have had stronger justification. 

Saudi Arabia bows to imperialism so it's allowed to treat women as terribly as it wants, and it's even allowed to murder 2,977 civilians on US soil. Just think about that. A nation can commit any atrocity it likes, as long as it surrenders to western corporations, as long as it lets rich westerners get richer. The warmongers never gave a fuck about your safety, just like they never gave a fuck about the safety of people in Afghanistan.

We killed 241,000 people to "liberate" them. That's a medium-sized British city. It's almost three Wembley stadiums. If that doesn't horrify you, seriously, what is wrong with you? Were you born with the empathy part of your brain missing?

Imagine saying: "I'm concerned about the human rights situation so I'm going to pack people - men, women and children - into three Wembley-sized stadiums and I'm going to blow them to smithereens, killing every last man, woman and child. That should keep the country safe."

Only it's worse than that because we didn't just kill people, we maimed countless civilians and traumatised the majority of the population. Experts believe 60% of the Afghanistan population are suffering from mental health trauma as a result of the war.

And for what? The moment we pulled out, the Afghan army collapsed because they were so badly outnumbered, and because most of them were probably on the side of the Taliban anyway. Either we didn't bother assessing what the consequences of troop withdrawal would be, or we didn't care about those consequences. But either way, we have yet another military intervention without a coherent exit plan. And America has lost another 20 year war it started for no reason. It's like the sequel to Vietnam.

But, of course, being a compassionate nation which cares so deeply about Afghan human rights, we are ready to welcome those refugees with open arms, right? Wrong!

Priti Patel is saying that welcoming refugees would send out the "wrong kind of message" while centrist hero Emmanuel Macron is saying we need to cut off migrant routes. The establishment is already rebranding refugees as "migrants" and incel supreme commander Nigel Farage is suggesting the refugees are actually Taliban operatives. But the most popular hot take on the internet is we should let the women and children come, but not the men.

Let's just unpack this.

We have racism and sexism here. We have the suggestion that Afghan men are sinister, inherently dangerous, not deserving of their internationally recognised right to asylum. We have a position that is not just morally bankrupt but illegal under international law. You can't just say men are not allowed to be refugees. I can't believe I have to explain this to adults.

What do you think the asylum process is for? It was literally put in place to safeguard the lives of people fleeing war and terror. 

Oh, you want the men to stay and fight? Then please explain how a bunch of unarmed men are supposed to defeat an army which has just wiped out the Afghan army in a week and are now armed to the teeth with American weapons. 

But you don't want them to stay and fight, do you? You don't give a fuck what happens to them. While you're banging on about the women's rights that you never really cared about, the number one target for the Taliban right now is fighting age men. They're being executed in the street. That's why they're fleeing in such high numbers.

And now the military industrial complex is trying to claim lack of intervention will lead to a dangerous power vacuum. Do not listen to these lunatics. I repeat, do not listen to these lunatics!

The power vaccuums created by our recent interventions gave rise to ISIS - that's another extremist group which has received western training and is armed with western weaponry. We're really good at creating the exact situations we're supposedly trying to prevent.

Perhaps the most depressing thing is how centrists and conservatives are already arguing over who is to blame, failing to consider they're two cheeks on the same imperialist arse. Both supported intervention. Both had no understanding of the situation in the region. Both never considered the consequences of their actions. Both had no exit plan. Both mocked and disregarded the left who have been proven right every step of the way

Both centrists and conservatives are to blame. And yet they still like to masquerade as the grownups in the room, and ask ridiculous questions like, what would the left's alternative have been? That we just do nothing? 

Yes, please, next time, just do nothing! We are not the world's police. It's not our place to bomb other countries whenever something bad happens. That does not make us the good guys. We do not improve situations by killing people. The only thing, I repeat, the only thing we should be doing now is welcoming as many Afghan refugees into our country as humanly possible. 

If you don't want refugees coming to your country, don't bomb their country for 20 years.

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