Sunday, September 9, 2018

Still dying for nothing in Afghanistan

  It wasn’t until history class in college that I heard of the Thirty Years War. My immediate reaction was: No way! It just wasn’t possible that a war could last 30 years. Nobody would be that dumb.

  But given that the U.S. war in Afghanistan has now been going on for 17 years, it’s now easier for me to understand how a war could go on for 30 years. Just think: Another 13 years, and the U.S. government can tie that record.

  Over the past weekend, another U.S. soldier was killed in Afghanistan and another was wounded in what the media calls an “insider attack.” That means that a member of the Afghan military or police was the one who killed and wounded those two soldiers. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it is rather difficult to protect against an attack from your friends.

  That was the sixth U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan this year, bringing the total death toll to 2,200.

  What did the latest soldier die for? The U.S. national-security establishment delivers the same line that it has used since the inception — that he, like all the others, died protecting his country. At the man’s funeral, there will undoubtedly be people who say that the soldier died protecting our freedom.

  Both are flat-out, unequivocal, ridiculous lies. No one in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, is threatening our country or our freedom. No matter how discomforting it might be, that soldier died for nothing, just as all the rest have. Or to be more exact, they all died for empire, which, in reality, is the same thing as dying for nothing.

  From the start of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. officials have maintained that it was necessary to wage war on the Taliban regime because it supposedly was “harboring” Osama bin Laden, who, they said, orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.

  That is a lie too. The reason that President Bush, the Pentagon, and the CIA waged war on the Taliban regime was not because it was supposedly complicit in the 9/11 attacks. The reason was because the Taliban regime refused to comply with Bush’s unconditional extradition demand for bin Laden. If the Taliban had agreed to Bush’s unconditional extradition demand, there never would have been a U.S. war on the Taliban regime.

  Sometimes U.S. officials also say that they need to prevent the Taliban from regaining power because it would offer safe harbor to terrorists. It’s amazing that there are still people who buy into this nonsense. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, people can plan terrorist attacks in some hotel room or living room anywhere in the world. They don’t need the mountains of Afghanistan to plan their attacks.

  Another thing worth remembering is that the U.S. war on Afghanistan is illegal under our form of government. That’s because the U.S. Constitution, which is the highest law of the land, prohibits the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA from waging war without first securing a declaration of war from Congress. That has never been done, which means that U.S. soldiers who have killed people in Afghanistan have done so illegally under our form of government. Don’t forget, after all, that U.S. soldiers take an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.

  Over the weekend, a new U.S. commander was appointed to oversee the 15,000 U.S. troops who are still in Afghanistan. Like the eight commanders before him, he doesn’t have a clue as to what to do to “win” the war. That’s because “winning” the war has become an impossibility.

  What is the real reason that U.S. soldiers are still being kept in Afghanistan after 17 years of deadly and destructive warfare? U.S. national-security officials know that once the last U.S. soldier is pulled out, Americans will go full-force into second-guessing mode, especially if the Taliban ends up winning Afghanistan’s civil war. By keeping a relatively small contingent of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to preserve the puppet regime that U.S. officials have installed, U.S. officials can forestall the inevitable second-guessing for a few more years.

  Recently, a young waiter at a restaurant near my home told me that he had just signed up to join the military. I said to him, “Would you mind if I give you just one piece of advice?” He said, “Not at all.” I said, “If they send you to Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and anywhere else in the world, don’t take any unnecessary risks. Your life is too valuable to lose it for nothing.”

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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