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2021. Another year without peace.
Our longest war ends officially if not in total reality.
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Every decade of my life the U.S. has been at war.
Some readers may be picky and point out that by 1948, the year I was born, the war against fascism was over and we didn’t get into a war with North Korea until 1950. So, the 40s shouldn’t count.
I will concede the point and say that starting with the year I turned three our country as seen very few years of peace.
If wars can be counted as good, the one against fascism was the last good one.
Most recently the United States called it quits with combat troops on the ground in what has been our longest war.
Obama correctly called the Iraq War a stupid war. And yet troops dying in Afghanistan made sense to him?
We can go back to 500 BCE and read about the attempts of foreigners to conquer Afghanistan.
Those attempts at conquest continued up to the 19th Century with the British being the first of the imperialist nations to lose.
Advance to the 70s and the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
That went badly so the United States thought they would give it a go.
The United States efforts to subdue the Afghans went no better than the Soviet effort or any of the previous tries by imperial powers.
The Afghans are bad ass fighters.
By 2009 Obama announced a new strategy for the Afghanistan war that would dispatch more military and civilian trainers to the country, in addition to the 17,000 combat troops he previously ordered.
Comparing Afghanistan to what he called the stupid war in Iraq, Obama’s smart war in Afghanistan dragged on and on through all eight years of his administration.
And unlike Vietnam, there was barely a peace movement to oppose it.
Trump promised to end it, but didn’t.
President Biden promised to end it and finally pulled combat troops out this past year.
Biden got trashed because the withdrawal of American combat troops was messy.
But I think ending stupid wars is always going to be messy.
They are messy staying in and messy getting out.
I’m old enough to remember watching the helicopters on the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.
It was messy.
However, after twenty years, the United States was forced to finally withdraw from Afghanistan as it lost the war to the Taliban.
Now the US is fighting a war against Afghanistan using different methods. It left the country in shatters.
39 million people are faced with starvation.
The United States has blocked Afghanistan from accessing its $9.5 billion in external reserves that sit in US banks, and it has prevented Afghanistan’s government from taking its place in the UN.
The UN estimates that by 2022, the country’s per capita income may decline to nearly half of 2012 levels.
It is estimated that 97% of the population of Afghanistan will fall below the poverty line, with mass starvation a real possibility this winter.
It’s not war. But it’s not peace.