The Afghanistan Tragedy: Will There Be An End To Endless Wars?

“Many of these bureaucrats in Washington who are the true architects of these infamous wars have little in common with the folks who are sent to these godforsaken places to fight these unseen enemies. They are part of the elite society, mostly come with Ivy League credentials and live in their multi-million abodes in Washington suburbs.

Most of them might not have served a single day in the United States armed forces, and some of the older ones might even have gotten away with waivers during the time of the draft. At the end of the day, it is either those boys from the Midwest who believe that it is their duty to serve their country and honor its flag or the poor black and Latino kids who are hoping to build a better life after completing their service in the Military are the ones who fall prey to these odious designs of the so-called establishment.”

President Dwight Eisenhower once gave the nation a dire warning. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” He called the military-industrial complex a formidable union of vested interests and a threat to democratic government.

As the tragedy in Afghanistan unfolds before our very eyes, the question is whether this could have been avoided? There is no doubt that this shameful exit by the United States has not only tarnished the reputation of the superpower but put thousands of Afghan lives in danger. There is little doubt that the current administration has failed miserably in executing a proper exit strategy. History will harshly judge those who have authored and run such an ill-conceived plan. Who are the victims of this unfolding strategy? The United States went to Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda that has planned and staged the attacks on the World Trade Center that killed around 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001. There is no doubt that American intervention prevented more such episodes from the Afghan soil in the U.S., and the chief strategist of the 9/11 attack, Bin Laden, was pursued and eliminated.

However, the United States got bogged down in this protracted struggle with the Taliban, who found a haven in Pakistan for their hit and run attacks. Therefore, this was a fight lost by the United States that had no patience to outlast the enemy’s will. Taliban once boasted that “NATO has watches, but we have the time,” The truth is that the Taliban simply waited out the NATO forces and the American resolve to recapture Kabul in lightning speed that may have shocked the bureaucrats in Washington. The infantile justification by Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor to the President, that this chaos was inevitable is symptomatic of the mindset of the Washington establishment that is so detached from reality and back to their business as usual.

George W. Bush, who initiated the foray into Afghanistan, was never content with one war. Instead of focusing on eliminating the Taliban, which was dubbed as a terrorist organization, and securing the freedom for the people of Afghanistan from these regressive and evil elements reminiscent of medieval times, he started another war in Iraq that ended in disaster. Along with destabilizing the entire Middle East paving the way for the creation of a Caliphate by ISIS, American invincibility that was seen at the initial stages of the Afghan invasion was not only lost, but the American people simply got tired of these endless wars. Many of these bureaucrats in Washington who are the true architects of these infamous wars have little in common with the folks who are sent to these godforsaken places to fight these unseen enemies. They are part of the elite society, mostly come with Ivy League credentials and live in their multi-million abodes in Washington suburbs. Most of them might not have served a single day in the United States armed forces, and some of the older ones might even have gotten away with waivers during the time of the draft.

At the end of the day, it is either those boys from the Midwest who believe that it is their duty to serve their country and honor its flag or the poor black and Latino kids who are hoping to build a better life after completing their service in the Military are the ones who fall prey to these odious designs of the so-called establishment. Making war has become the primary business for many of these bureaucrats who are part of this military-industrial complex. People like Dick Cheney, who has never served in the Military, are prime examples who promoted wars and stood to profit. To them, these young men and women who are sent to these battlefields to die or permanently scarred for life are only of peripheral interests. Thousands of others who are caught up in the crossfire and lost their lives are simply collateral damages.

President Dwight Eisenhower once gave the nation a dire warning. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” He called the military-industrial complex a formidable union of vested interests and a threat to democratic government. Take, for example, the folly of continuing to provide billions of dollars in funding to the Pakistan government while allowing bases for Afghan insurgents and actively supporting their mission. According to various reports, the Pakistani Military was also engaged in providing training and tactical support to terrorist groups crossing the border and creating havoc in Kashmir. How could the United States justify supporting the counter-insurgency funding for Pakistan while the country remained a factory for brainwashing young minds with fundamentalist ideology and turn them loose to commit horrendous crimes across the globe?

Taxpayers of the United States indeed have lost Trillions of dollars fighting these regime-changing wars. Still, all is not lost for these conniving bureaucrats who represent potent lobbies and special interests in the Capitol. Washington suburbs have become the most expensive real estate on American soil today as these folks continue to rake in riches while the rest of the country is undergoing economic hardships and facing an uncertain future. ‘Powell doctrine,’ named after the four-star general Colin Powell, said that “war should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support; we should mobilize the country’s resources to fulfill that mission and then go in to win”.

The precipitous withdrawal from Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan runs contrary to that principle, and Powel himself may have violated the spirit of his own proclamation with his WMD speech at the United Nations while promoting the invasion of Iraq. Obviously, people have lost control of their ‘greatest democracy.’ Once again, they are reeling from a shameful and disheartening scenario in Kabul as thousands who risked their lives supporting U.S. policies are stranded and fearing for their lives simply as the result of terrible decision-making in Washington. In the meantime, the powerful establishment may be plotting for yet another conflict somewhere around the world in the name of ‘promoting democracy and freedom’! (George Abraham is a former Chief Technology Officer at the United Nations)

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