- Jul 15, 2009
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- Texas Republic
Afghanistan, Who to Blame?
It is important to remember that Afghanistan is only slightly larger than Texas in square mileage. The country has never been a nation so much as a place filled with diverse tribal groups that are often hostile to the next group on the other side of the mountain and have no concept of who or what the national government is. It is nearly impossible for westerners to grasp just how much this is the case.
In modern times Afghanistan was simply a largely desert, mountainous place way the hell and gone on the other side of the world that only geography nerds could find on a map. Its largest cities weren’t metropolitan, but were only roughly twenty to thirty years behind the times. Way out in the sticks, the mountain valleys, and wasteland areas people lived isolated lives much as they had for a thousand years. If you have ever seen “The Man Who Would Be King” with Sean Connery and Michael Caine, based on the Rudyard Kipling book by the same name, you get a peek at Northwest Afghanistan in the 1890’s.
So, to see how we got to the events of the last few days you have to go back to the days of Nixon and Watergate. Not that the burglary or the Nixon administration have anything to do with this narrative, but they give you a time frame with which to work. In 1973 there was a king in Kabul and he was the nominal ruler of the country. Nominally, in that he governed Kabul and most of the other cities, towns, and populated districts. The king was overthrown by his cousin, who was also his brother in law, and a General of the Army. The General announced an end of the monarchy and established a republic in Afghanistan that lasted for a grand total of five years. The government was in the process of crackdown on the communist movements that had formed in the University in Kabul during the 1940’s when in 1979 the leftists and communists led a coup d etat and overthrew the republic and installed their own government. Within a year one communist leader was overthrown by another.
In the meantime, some rambunctious youngsters in neighboring Iran had seized the US embassy in Tehran and taken hostages making President Jimmy Carter look as weak as a young lass tied the railroad tracks by the bad guy in an old silent movie. This made the Russians a tad nervous because a weak, unsettled Afghanistan would make a great staging area for US military assaults on Iran. It was cold war thinking where nobody was willing to give up an inch of territory to the other country in the great ideological struggle. The Russians invaded the country and engineered their own replacement of the new Afghani leader with a more malleable puppet. This puppet then requested Russian military help in solidifying control of the country and keeping the Americans out.
Here is where we get to the part where Afghanistan becomes an American problem.
Jimmy Carter needs to show some backbone after his perceived failures in the international arena. He orders a boycott of the 1980 Olympics. In the background, one fella in his administration has a hell of an idea and he sells the President on it. This genius is the National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. This guy, behind the scenes, helped engineer the overthrow of the Shaw of Iran and start of the Iranian revolution, installing a guy the CIA had worked with in the 1950’s – Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, yep the Ayatollah himself.
The idea that he sold to Carter is to give the Russians their own Vietnam experience by arming the most radical, religiously extreme segments of Islam and give them an enemy to fight against, thus was born the Mujahedeen and the Taliban. The Mujahedeen was made up largely of non-Afghans who came to fight the Russians in a holy war. If a few of them wandered off to be a problem elsewhere, it was worth it to hand the Russians a big black eye. Shortly after came the formation of the Taliban. The Taliban was made up of Afghans, who went to Pakistan for their training, and then returned to take up the fight. Under the Reagan administration these groups were touted as the equivalent of the American founding fathers and had large sums of money and materiel thrown at them. This effort was successful and the Russians left in 1989 and the government they supported fell in 1991.
The Taliban were native Afghans and shortly took control of most of the country and formed a government. They had come to resent the presence of the largely Saudi Mujahedeen, but were not strong enough to oust them. The Mujahedeen had morphed into Al Qaeda under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden. Under the Taliban Afghanistan retreated socially to the pre Middle Ages and closed itself off to the world. Al Qaeda was autonomous and used the country as an operating base.
Meanwhile, the US was making war on Iraq and using the Arabian Peninsula as a base of operations for its war against Arab Iraq. This presence offended Bin Laden and his followers because Saudi Arabia is the Islamic holy land and allowing these infidels to be there was an infamy. In response to this came the 9/11 attack on New York and Washington D.C. This attack was carried out by eleven Saudi Arabians, two from the United Arab Emirates, one Lebanese, one Egyptian and not one Iraqi or Afghani.
One of the irritants to the Taliban was the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghan soil that was later shown to be where the 9/11 hijackers were trained.
In October of 2001 the Taliban offered up Bin Laden three times to the Bush Administration and their offers were refused. The first offers were with the caveat that he be sent to a neutral country pending proof that he was involved. Finally they offered him without any conditions. Bush turned this offer down as well and the bombing began followed up by invasion and occupation.
We know most of the rest, some of which is being conveniently forgotten. The near endless line of lying generals who promised that with a few more troops this thing could be turned around, the congressional war mongers in the pockets of defense contractors pushing for more spending, the naive politicians that think the whole world wants to be just like us if we just bomb a few more resistors to the idea, the TV talking heads whose programs are paid for by the defense industries and finally most of the American people who blindly believed all of the above and willingly handed over their children to be sacrificed on the altar of jingoism and avarice
There is one last thing to mention. Way back in the 80’s that money that flooded into Afghanistan to fund the jihad was largely do the efforts of an otherwise ineffectual Congressman from the second district of East Texas - Charlie Wilson.