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No Disney ending in Afghanistan

By Staff | Jul 8, 2021

To the editor:

Afghanistan’s failed government; more interested in divvying up the crumbs of U.S. taxpayers’ graft than the tedium of governance, will crumble upon the departure of U.S.-led troops. Having squandered over 7,000 American lives, close to 200,000 Afghanis, adding $2 trillion in nation debt in the struggle to remove the Taliban, we are where we started. Former President Bush’s bequest has been a relationship with no reliable partner on the other end. Even if there was anyone left who believes we can prove American democracy works by killing everyone who disagrees and occupying their nation for decades; it is time to accept that our best military thinking in Afghanistan has been disastrous.

That thousands of loyal American soldiers were killed, maimed or traumatized in their noble effort to execute George Bush’s war stains our national honor, and changes the facts on the ground not a jot. We are an unwelcome guest, and our puppet government has no real support beyond the heroin trading war lords. As the rest of the Afghani army disbands in desertion and disarray before the Taliban we will be asked to accommodate all those who “worked for a U.S. contractor” with emergency visas.

Wishing it were otherwise, the ploy of the Nixon administration in Vietnam, has proven insufficient. Both Trump and Obama ran on the platform that they would end the war, and failed. We remain an uninvited and unwelcome guest in Afghanistan. Our longest foreign occupation, is now coming to an end.

Bush gave Putin the pipeline across the corner of the Afghanistan, using U.S. troops for the protection of Russian oil. The Taliban, whose religious ardor forbids drug use, and the display of the female ankle in public, took power in the late 1990s. The supply of heroin into our country dropped precipitously under the Taliban; U.S. heroin overdose deaths plummeted. Deaths by overdose in the U.S. dropped to 3,000 per year under the Taliban. Upon the U.S. troops entering Afghanistan that number increased tenfold in the first year of the occupation, and now stands at a jaw dropping 70,000 per year. Our administration of Afghanistan has been at a terrible public heath cost in the U.S. Perhaps no one of the “contractor” or political elite is profiteering in the heroin business, but clearly the trade resumed absent the strident and brutal Taliban. The Russian czar Ivan said, “If my men knew what they were really fighting for the barracks would be empty by daylight.” Let us please not pretend that our national interest is served continuing the militarization of Afghanistan.

Joe Biden lost a son who served in uniform. More than most, he has the right to demand the nation love our children more than we hate… well, the public pretext for our invasion was Osama bin Ladin, right? He’s long dead now, right? Few remember that the Taliban agreed to deliver bin Ladin to the embassy if given three days more, and Bush refused. That’s how the bombing started. That’s what happened. It brings me no joy to lay bare the real politic of war before you. There is no Disney ending here. If there anyone left out there that thinks occupying other nations produces positive democratic outcomes? Please, fact check me.

Democracy is an experiment in governance best demonstrated by example. If you want to have feminism in Afghanistan, stop voting for U.S. legislators who carry laws oppressing women. If you want to show democracy works, impeach legislators who attempt to curtail voting among minorities. I’m sorry to be so blunt with you. But I have more sorrow for the needless blood spilt. I must speak out and ask that your support it no more. This is the land of the brave. That’s you. We must accept as an honor the obligation to defend decency in governance with truth.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral