The following was a “comment” in response to Heather Cox Richardson’s latest newsletter (8/18/21).
It was written by Linda Mitchell, “a Professor of medieval history, feminist, ally and supporter of causes of right, equity, and justice.”
She addresses several issues that personally, I had not considered — primarily because, as a rule, I pay minimal attention to happenings in other countries until they become, as Afghanistan has done, “newsworthy.”
In any case, from what I’ve read so far in various news and “opinion” sources, I found Linda’s outlook spot-on.
1. The US military establishment lied and lied and lied when they talked about the combat readiness of the Afghan army. They have done so for 20 years. They even admitted that they lied a number of times when pressed. Their motive in lying was to present the military trainers as competent, when they were not. If this sounds familiar to those of us who lived through the Vietnam era, well, there you go.
2. There is not a single US administration that behaved proactively in Afghanistan. There has not been a single congressional “class” that has behaved proactively in Afghanistan. Plenty of academics–from historians to economists, to anthropologists, to sociologists–have been saying over the last 40 years that the West’s way of dealing with Afghanistan was going to fail and was wrongheaded from the start. But the last 20 years has also seen the dumbing down of the federal government, the glorification of ignorance and prejudice and jingoistic idiocy. So the people who actually had a clue were ignored or vilified. QED.
3. If the people of Afghanistan had cared about the pro-Western cultural institutions that western money propped up in their country–education and rights for women, a government elected through a democratic and transparent process, an economy based on capitalism–they would have embraced this idea beyond the few elites and the dedicated female teachers of girls and women. But they did not. Because Afghanistan is not a country. It is a delegation of provinces with intimate and historical ties to traditions we dismissed and ignored. We did not make them care about women and girls. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT WOMEN AND GIRLS. The hollering going on now about “how do we save the women and girls” is laughable because the people who should have been asking those questions are the ones who embraced TFG’s jingoistic and autocratic foreign policy, who are determined to police women’s bodies and criminalize women’s bodily autonomy in the USA, who claim religious exceptionalism, who say NOTHING about the abuse of women and girls in their favorite countries, like Saudi Arabia, where al Qaeda came from. They are our Taliban: they just wear suits and talk about the “rights of the unborn,” and claim that their militant death-cult brand of Christianity is the “true” one. And they are winning here in the USA: take a look at the judicial decision to ban certain abortions in TX.
3. We had the chance to do the ONE THING that would have broken the economic back of the Taliban: stop the growing of opium poppies and the opium trade–the market for which is THE WEST–and replace it with well-constructed, carefully planned alternatives that the people in the south and west of the country (where poppies are grown) could manage THEMSELVES. We did not consult with the people whose lives were at risk if they did not grow opium. We did not ask them what THEY wanted to do, what THEY wanted to grow. We just went in and behaved like the boorish mo****f***ers we are and claimed to know better. We did not.
4. Why are all media outlets losing their s*** trying to blame SOMEONE for this horror show? Because they think it will help their ratings. Because as institutions the commercial media are all idiots and ignoramuses, led by suits who like their corporate bonuses no matter their political stripes. Because the last person in the room is the one they blame. Why don’t they instead do something useful, like re-animate the pages from the RNC website that praised TFG’s “brilliant and groundbreaking deal” with the Taliban? Which they scrubbed as soon as the debacle occurred.
I could go on but I won’t. Sorry for my rant of the day. I admit that I don’t understand why anyone is surprised by any of this.
As always, your reactions/opinions/disagreements are welcome — so long as you don’t go off-topic or become insulting of others’ viewpoints.