Why the U.S. failure in Afghanistan was certain
Keith Lamb
Taliban is seen inside Kandahar city, southern Afghanistan, August 13, 2021. /Xinhua

Taliban is seen inside Kandahar city, southern Afghanistan, August 13, 2021. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with an MSc degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are international relations of China and China's "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Afghanistan has been an exercise in gaslighting Western citizens from start to finish. We were told that we went there to capture Osama bin Laden and to save the poor Afghans from themselves. However, beyond the propaganda lies the reality that the Western invasion was a shameful neo-colonial venture.

Just like many colonial ventures that came before Afghanistan, while the rhetoric was lofty, the people suffered all the same and the end of colonialism proved chaotic. As such, it is no surprise that the Taliban are now in charge of Afghanistan.

The people hardly saw palpable improvements in their lives under the U.S. imposed "democracy." Consequently, it serves as another example of the failure of the West to impose their (dis)order upon civilizations with different histories.

I say a failure because Afghanistan is in ruins and the Western taxpayer, who paid for the war with the blood of their sons and taxes, is none the better. However, for the transatlantic liberal ruling elite, in the West, it has been, just like their old-colonial ventures, profitable.

Using conservative estimates, the U.S. has spent $2.261 trillion and the UK $30 billion invading Afghanistan. This has provided a windfall for the racket of war. For example, occupying Afghanistan in 2019 cost $52 billion while its entire GDP was a paltry $20.68 billion ($531 per capita), according to the International Monetary Fund.

Weapons sales and the provision of other services to the war front, which has been rapidly privatized, have led to large enterprises making an absolute killing. The likes of Halliburton, who former Vice President Dick Cheney once served as chairman, have profited hand over fist. The same goes for Blackwater which had a revolving door between the Republican Party and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Yes, there have been deaths, 241,000 to be precise. However, only 2,442 were U.S. military personnel and they were not from the draft-dodging class of Bush Junior. In return for this "collateral damage," there has been an unbroken 20 years of war profits for the liberal transatlantic elites.

Then those who control opium production, and the illicit profits that can be used to fund clandestine groups, such as terrorists, have also been winners. The Taliban had previously eradicated opium production; but under Western rule, Afghanistan turned into a narco-state with two-thirds of global opium production being cultivated within its borders. This has led to unprecedented rates of addiction amongst the suffering Afghan people.

Bizarrely, we have seen British and U.S. troops guarding the opium crop. Public Intelligence reported that in November 2009, the then Afghan Minister of Counter Narcotics General Khodaidad stated that the majority of drugs were stockpiled in two provinces controlled by NATO forces, who were earning money from drug production in Afghanistan.

Thus, those who supported, and believed, the liberal elites' lies should reflect upon the fact that all hard power, all colonial acts were always justified through soft power. The white man's civilizing burden of old colonialism has today been replaced by human rights propaganda.

Afghanistan has, in fact, been a process in gaslighting from start to finish. How could it have been anything else? Who would support 20 years of war so that a small elite could be successful in accumulating billions from the racket?

The site of an attack in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, January 15, 2019. /Xinhua

The site of an attack in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, January 15, 2019. /Xinhua

Some believe we went in to fight terrorism but the Taliban were always willing to hand over Osama bin Laden, providing evidence was given. Then, even the 9/11 event, that sparked the war, has multiple inconsistencies.

For example, there are thousands of "Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth" who claim a controlled demolition occurred on that eventful day. As such, even if there is not inside malicious intent, there has been a willful ignoring of scientific evidence. This is because the 9/11 event has been a great investment for the transatlantic liberal ruling class. It has provided a 20-year dividend for the heroin trade and for those who manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

Incredulously, the call now goes up that Afghanistan was a "mistake" made by our Western democracies. This is always the exit door for elite liberal class interests. First carry out the atrocity; second profit from it; thirdly, when all is left in ruins, propagandize it as a collective democratic mistake without any analysis of how democracy is hijacked by the few.

Tragically, this "mistake" is not one that our elites or citizens of the West have learned from. Western democracies remain in a slumber as they are drip-fed new lies that will see them supporting yet more colonial ventures.

Today, China committing "genocide" and "slavery" in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region are the new lies of our time. These lies could lead to another huge windfall for the above-mentioned class, should they get their new cold war.

We cannot afford the costs of war. We must wake up, for clearly, our elites have never had a problem sending our best to die for their colonial profits. When all is said and done, the simple facts, on the ground, are that Afghanistan, which borders Xinjiang, represents the boundary between the forces of destruction and the forces of construction. To deny otherwise requires a mountain of propaganda.

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