Sounds of a Dying Empire

With all the noise that's going on in the media: Trump is a crook (of course he is); Biden and his son are corrupt (of course they are); Trump should be impeached (of course he should); and all the garbage flowing out of FOX News-like a gash in the side of a sewage tank; and all the noise emanating out of MSNBC-like a baby whose pacifier has fallen out of its mouth, I wonder, is now a good time to remind everyone that the war in Afghanistan is nineteen years old?


Operation Enduring Freedom festivities kicked off in early October 2001. I was still in college and HBO's monumental mini-series "Band of Brothers" was airing new episodes every Sunday night. I remember seeing footage on cable news showing modern troops being airlifted into Afghanistan to fight the good fight and thinking, "Man, it's good to know that the spirit of Easy Company lives on." It had been less than a month since the 9/11 attack. I lived in the suburbs just outside of New York City, so I'd see fighter jets flying overhead from time-to-time as a result, "guarding" the New York skies. That wasn't something I was used to. During the Fall of 2001 I was scared. Who knew where, when, or what would happen next? If going in to get the guys who did 9/11 was going to end the madness that was the New York Tri-State Area that autumn, then good. And god bless the brave men and women who'd participate.

That was a generation ago now. To say that time has not been kind to US initiatives in Afghanistan would be an understatement.

There's something everyone should know. For a long time, Afghanistan has been known as the "graveyard of empires." And for good reason. Nothing has occurred in the twenty-first century that would diminish that interesting appellation belonging to the nation-state of Afghanistan.

And of course, as we'd all soon later find out, the Taliban weren't really responsible for 9/11 any more than Saddam Hussein had been. And, sure, there were bad people being harbored in Afghanistan by the Taliban, who themselves are bad people, but there are lots of bad actors in the world-yet for some reason Afghanistan was the country subjected to an invasion and nineteen year occupation that's doing nobody any good outside of those who are holding stock in pharmaceutical companies and weapons manufacturers. That alone kinda,' sorta,' maybe explains the invasion angle. Operation Enduring Freedom has reached a point now where mercenaries are coming in, looking at the disaster, and lobbying to privatize the lost cause for a profit on their end. That's all there is to be gained for anyone now that the colossal defeat of the US establishment.

The war in Afghanistan was lost a long time ago. Don't get me wrong. We killed a lot of people and the opium from the poppy fields are under control. We have a nice opioid crisis in the States to prove that. So if killing brown people, or Muslims, or brown Muslims, is your thing, you can beat off to that. Meanwhile, the UN reports the US military is responsible for more civilian deaths in Afghanistan than the horrific repressive Taliban; you know, those terrible people we had to go fight and kill. As for the Taliban, other than the poppy fields or any other area that private global interests may deem significant, they're pretty much in control of Afghanistan again. On May 1, 2019, "The New York Times" published an article stating the US military has simply given up tracking how much territory the Taliban has retaken, which is quite telling.

Meanwhile, according to that same piece in "The Times," the U.S. has spent $780 billion in Afghanistan since 2001; $780 billion… for what? What has been accomplished? There's really only one answer if there is any answer at all. It's been $780 billion for private interests to control resources. So the American military bloodies its hands over a losing cause while the American taxpayers foot the bill. Wall Street wins again. And it's still happening. It hasn't ended. Those resources still need to be protected after all. There are American soldiers in Afghanistan now who weren't even alive when 9/11 happened. And they're there all for a lost-and-never-really-meant-to-win-anyway kind of cause.

So while we continue to slaughter Afghani wedding parties and pine nut farmers with airstrikes, creating more people who'll want to hate the American people and the United States as a political entity; some of whom will most assuredly seek to join up with groups intent on doing physical harm to Americans, let's go back to that noise that's in the media I mentioned at the top and recall the $780 billion (the lowest estimate I've seen) lost to the war. That noise we all hear, it is the sound of another empire slowly dying.