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Abandoning Afghanistan: Why should an Indian trust a word that liberals say about human rights concerns?

Trump was straight with everyone else. He said ‘America first.’ It was literally in his campaign slogan. He saw the Afghan war was not in America’s interest and so he decided to end it. But what do I make of liberal elites, who pretend to be running some international humanitarian regime?

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has begun his innings as President of the United States with possibly the worst, most humiliating military defeat for America in history. But you would not know it if you looked at CNN.

Most transformative president since Roosevelt? Yes, as America begs with Taliban to spare its Embassy in Kabul, what better than to compare Biden to the president who defeated the Nazis and liberated the whole of Europe? What should we call America’s retreat from Afghanistan? A Normandy landing in reverse?

Because of their geographical situation, Americans are not used to attacks on their own soil by foreign enemies, at least not since the 20th century. They have Canada to the north and Mexico to the south, both friendly and subservient nations. In the mid-1800s, the US realized that keeping European colonial powers out of the Americas was in their best interest. This resulted in the ‘Monroe doctrine,’ which states any outside intervention on the American continent (whether North America or South America) is essentially an attack on the United States itself. America worked out all its territorial disputes early and always in its favor, such as during the 1846 US-Mexico war, when the short-lived Republic of Texas, along with most of modern day California and New Mexico were absorbed into the union.

From the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, America came to believe that they owned all the land in between. In this stretch, wherever they encountered Native American nations, they destroyed them all. This cultural belief came to be known as ‘manifest destiny.’

So when 9/11 happened, Americans had no frame of reference to describe it. Except for comparisons to Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, the US sent its troops to every continent. They knocked out the Japanese in Indochina, the Nazis all across North Africa and Western Europe. They ended the Nazi regime, put its leaders on trial for war crimes and had them hanged. Then, they organized a massive reconstruction program (Marshall plan). They reconstituted western Europe with stable democracies throughout.

We are just a few weeks short of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Where does America find itself? Begging with the Taliban. Most transformative president since Roosevelt, you see…

Of course, the author of that article on CNN is one Jeffrey Sachs, who as you can see, is some academic leech at Columbia who knows which side his bread is buttered. His bootlicking is pathetic, but hardly uncharacteristic for CNN, the New York Times, NBC, CBS or the Washington Post. In fact, in America’s privileged liberal circles, bootlicking Biden is now a highly competitive sport. If anything, “Professor” Jeffrey Sachs will have to do a lot better to polish his resume. How about comparing Biden to generals Eisenhower or Patton?

One can compare this to Vietnam, but the Afghanistan defeat is even worse than that. In Vietnam, America managed to achieve a decent interval of about two years between troop withdrawal and the fall of the South Vietnamese regime in Saigon. At least, there was a ceasefire at the moment when US troops were leaving Vietnam. Here, the enemy isn’t even waiting for the Americans to withdraw before rampaging across the country. In Vietnam, Kissinger worried over the shame of losing to what he considered a “third class peasant state.” Here, America has lost to something much worse.

Why did this happen? Failure of strategy? That whole thing about Afghanistan being the ‘graveyard of empires’?

Don’t let the elites at CNN or Columbia fool you with such myths. America failed in Afghanistan because it was a hopelessly corrupt superpower getting eaten up on the inside by its own elites. The official cost of the Afghanistan war is $900 billion over at the Department of Defense. Where did this money go? How come the Afghan military, supposedly trained and supplied by America, is folding before Taliban without even a fight?

I will tell you where the money went. It went into the pockets of defense contractors, who have more lobbyists deployed in Washington than military personnel that the US ever deployed in Afghanistan. In fact, the US military is not even what you might think it is. The official death toll in Afghanistan is 2,442 personnel. But that does not include some 4000 Americans who were fighting for “private security contractors” employed by the US government. Yes, they look like soldiers, they use tanks and everything, but they are not government soldiers. Yes, they in America outsourced the war itself. And, by the way, the Pentagon does not track the deaths of these “private security personnel.”

If you are picturing only the big defense contractors and weapons manufacturers in your head, you are wrong. Even a small supplier who hands out pens, notebooks and literature for mediapersons at Pentagon press conferences hopelessly inflates the cost. The American taxpayer pays up. The gravy train stops at every station, where the driver and the guard open the locks for the chest to be raided.

Who says America lost in Afghanistan? The elites made a killing.

At the peak of World War 2, the US was producing more than one complete ship a day. Seriously, look it up. They called them “Liberty ships.” Try doing that today.

In diplomacy, the most difficult balancing trick is to frame your foreign policy in moral terms. Everyone nation negotiates in their own self interest. That may sound clever, but it is really a trade off. One reason the US has so many allies around the world, while China does not, is that the US has been successful in framing its policy in terms of moral principles. As America leaves Afghanistan in the lurch, what does it do to their credibility? Why should anyone ever trust the US again?

Especially, all the Indian liberals, who shake their fist at Modi government, are you watching? Are you watching as the liberal American government abandons the people of Afghanistan? Where is your Kamala Harris, or even better, the great humanitarian Meena Harris? Remember how Meena couldn’t sleep because police used water cannons in Delhi? What does Meena Harris have to say on Afghanistan now? Perhaps I need to buy a shirt or key chain or some such merchandise from Meena’s online store before she’ll say…

Tell me why, as an Indian, I should trust a single word in the New York Times or Washington Post. Why should I believe your Freedom House and its so called democracy and press freedom index? How do I know you liberal elites feel for me? You are letting the barbaric Taliban carry out mass executions of your allies in Afghanistan.

So when I see India criticized on the front page of the New York Times, I can only wonder about your interest in my country. What do you have in mind for India? Regime change?

Trump was straight with everyone else. He said ‘America first.’ It was literally in his campaign slogan. He saw the Afghan war was not in America’s interest and so he decided to end it. But what do I make of liberal elites, who pretend to be running some international humanitarian regime?

You elites have plundered the ordinary American taxpayer. And you took the sons and daughters of the poorest Americans and sent them to fight halfway around the world, in Afghanistan, in Iraq and everywhere else. You sold contracts for the war and didn’t even keep track of how many of your own died there. Now, when you are through, you leave the Afghan people to the barbaric Taliban and run away. You don’t care about ordinary Americans, nor about Afghan civilians, nor about the prestige of your country. Instead you rub your noses in front of Biden and flatter him with comparisons to Roosevelt. And I am supposed to believe that this corrupt bunch cares for the welfare of my country?

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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