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A U.S. soldier fires an anti-tank rocket during a live-fire exercise in Zabul province, Afghanistan, in July 2010.

A U.S. soldier fires an anti-tank rocket during a live-fire exercise in Zabul province, Afghanistan, in July 2010. (Photo: U.S. Army/flickr/cc)

End Bush's Stupid War Today

Since 2001, hardly a word of truth about Afghanistan has come out of Washington.

Eric Margolis

 by Eric Margolis

After 19 years of war, over $1 trillion in spending, 2,400 dead and a torrent of lies, the U.S. may now be facing an end to its longest war.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001. There were three reasons: 1. To cover up the humiliation of the tough-talking Bush administration for being caught sleeping on guard duty by the 9/11 attacks; 2. To secure oil pipeline routes through Afghanistan from Central Asia down to Pakistan's sea coast; and 3. To occupy a supposedly empty square on the Asian chessboard before China did.

Since 2001, hardly a word of truth about Afghanistan has come out of Washington. All wars are accompanied by a bodyguard of lies, as Churchill wrote, but the lies and propaganda about Afghanistan were extraordinary and shameful.

Chief among the lies: Osama bin Laden was the architect of the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 Americans and that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban movement. In fact, the plot was hatched in Germany and Spain by Saudi exiles, not Afghans, who claimed the U.S. was occupying their nation and exploiting its riches.

Faked videos were shown on U.S.TV to implicate bin Laden. He applauded the attacks after the fact, saying they were revenge for Israel's destruction in large part of Beirut in 1982.

The so-called "terrorist training camps" in Afghanistan cited as a reason for the U.S.invasion were actually camps run by Pakistan's intelligence service, an ally of the U.S., to train insurgent guerrillas for action against Indian rule in Kashmir. I know this because I toured some of the camps. General Hamid Gul, the head of ISI, Pakistan's crack intelligence service, briefed me on this operation.

Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, told me the U.S. had threatened to "bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age" if it did not allow the U.S. to wage war against Afghanistan from Pakistani territory.

Al-Qaeda's founder, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, told me"after defeating the communists in Afghanistan, we will go on to liberate Saudi Arabia from American rule." He was assassinated soon after.

To this day, what's left of al-Qaeda remains an anti-imperialist movement. In recent years, al-Qaeda and Taliban have become bitter enemies. Taliban agreed in recent talks never to shelter al-Qaeda or the more recent, Islamic State movement. It originally sheltered bin Laden only because he was a hero of the anti-communist struggle and an honored guest. Taliban offered to hand bin Laden to an impartial court. The U.S. refused and quickly invaded Afghanistan.

Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, was a serious enemy of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Yet the Bush administration lied that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11 to justify invading and grabbing its oil riches. Most Americans believed this falsehood promoted by Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney.

I was in Afghanistan and Pakistan when Taliban was formed. Far from being a "terrorist" movement, as the Americans and their Afghan communist allies claimed, Taliban was created by a village preacher, Mullah Omar, to protect caravans from bandits during the Afghan civil war of the early 1990s, and to protect women from mass rape. When Taliban took Kabul, it crushed the drug trade and restored order with an iron fist.

America's main ally in Afghanistan, the communist-dominated Tajik Northern Alliance, was put into power in Kabul and quickly restored the opium trade. Today, U.S. Afghan allies control almost all the drug trade which props up the puppet government in Kabul.

Three U.S.presidents claim they tried to end the Afghan War—but failed. Why? Intense opposition from the war party, military industrial complex, and the neocons. $1 trillion is huge business. Many war suppliers grew rich on this conflict; imperial generals got promotions and new commands. Politicians loved to orate against so-called "terrorism" and call for more war. The costs of the Afghan War were buried in the national debt, to be repaid by coming generations.

None of the presidents were able to stand up to the deep state. President Donald Trump claims he will shut down the Afghan War, which he properly termed, "stupid." But can he?

It will be so easy to sabotage the fragile cease-fire agreement just signed in Qatar. The Afghan drug lords have already started fire fights. U.S. generals and conservatives quail at the prospect of being charged with losing this war.

The best way to end a war is to end it. Declare victory, bring the troops home, cut off the dollars and ammo, and leave.


© 2021 Eric Margolis
Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis is a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East. Margolis was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is "American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World."

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