Blogs & Notes

Compilations & Resources

Words of Wisdom

  • Revolution is necessary not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.
  • – Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels

Radical Road – Photo by Ulli Diemer

Afghanistan and the “experts”

By Ulli Diemer

August 19, 2021

I’m on holiday. I’m not even supposed to be looking at the news, let alone commenting on it.

But, here in North Sydney, waiting for the ferry to Newfoundland, with not much to do except wait, I succumb to temptation, connect to the wifi, and have a quick peek at the CBC website.

The top story proclaims that “Experts say the US withdrawal from Afghanistan didn’t have to lead to chaos.” One of the “experts” quoted, “a senior fellow with the Brookings Institute who specializes in U.S. defence strategy and the use of military force” says that “events in Afghanistan could have played out very differently” had the pullout been effected “on a more gradual and protracted basis.” Another “expert,” a retired major-general, agrees with him.

Yes, “more gradual and protracted.” You read that correctly. Twenty years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, twenty years of bloodshed, twenty years of bombing civilians, twenty years of installing and propping up a series of corrupt governments, twenty years of trying to create an Afghan army capable of standing up to the Taliban, and the problem, according to the “experts” promoted by the CBC, is that the U.S. didn’t stay long enough. If only the U.S. had stayed another year or two, or another five or six years, or maybe another ten or twenty years, all would have worked out so much better.

A pity the CBC never manages to find different experts to interview, like the people in the anti-war movement who opposed this war when it started twenty years ago. (Full disclosure, as journalists like to say: I was one of them.) What the anti-war movement pointed out in 2001 was that invading Afghanistan was a bad idea that was likely to end badly. It also happens to be illegal under international law – though no ‘expert’ quoted by the mainstream media ever mentions this – to invade another country. It is in fact a war crime, and the leaders of the U.S. and its client states who ordered the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan are in fact war criminals.

The “experts” promoted by the mainstream corporate and state-owned media, like the CBC, know nothing of this. Their advice, whatever the place, whatever the pretext, is always the same: invade, occupy, and install a corrupt puppet government. It has worked so well in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, in Afghanistan: why wouldn’t you keep doing it over and over again?

And the “experts” are never wrong. When each intervention turns into yet another predictable disaster – predicted by others, of course, not by the “experts” – the “experts” never acknowledge their mistakes, and the media never holds them to account. They continue to get fawning coverage to explain, once again, that it was not the invasion and occupation that was the mistake, but ending the occupation too soon.