“War does not determine who is right, only who is left”- Bertrand Russell
The wars waged in the 21st century have not just had military significance, it’s not just been about money, it’s been unapologetically political. America has been the main perpetrator since granting itself the self-aggrandized title of “World Police”, but Britain has remained it’s subservient lapdog for better or worse, in a genocidal game of Simon says, Uncle Sam says, if you will. America is not imperialist, it’s not in favour of establishing hegemony through a well-executed Blitzkrieg and controlling land, they never want to win wars, just maintain them for as long as possible and allow arms dealers to drain every penny from both sides of the war. People often sweep Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria under the same rug of inept foreign policy but there are some important differences that need to be addressed. It’s important to demarcate what can be attributed to malicious machinations of insane Bilderbergers, from ill-conceived invasions that were genuinely inspired by the prospect of helping disrupted societies.
This was the first of the trifecta of foreign policy blunders and perhaps the closest thing to a success story up to this point. Obviously, this war did not go to plan, it raged on for 13 years, but there seems to have been some legitimate reasons to go on the offensive here as well as the patently erroneous justifications. The expressly beneficial consequences of this conflict can mostly be found in Western assault on the way of life under the Taliban. There is a select group of “liberals” who campaign day and night to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community from subconscious bias, who are quite willing to ignore the flagrant human rights abuses of the Taliban as a mere ethically benign divergence, this hypocrisy needs to be suspended for the duration of this conversation. If anything can be called immoral it is the Taliban’s advocation of throwing homosexuals from rooftops and their unrivalled ability to decrease the average age of female mortality to 43 years old. There is no discussion to be had in which British foreign policy will come out as morally inferior to Taliban domestic policy. This is not a defence of our foreign policy, there are countless examples of disgraceful failures on our part but to claim our actions or motives are comparable to that of the Taliban is to simply not understand their true intentions.
People often argue that our decision to enter Afghanistan was unjustified because the Taliban were our secondary enemy, behind Al Qaeda, and thus our focus was misplaced. This criticism just doesn’t make any sense, surely even if they were our secondary threat it would make sense to respond to their wrongdoings with military force. It could certainly be argued that this invasion was economically and politically misguided but it seems like a waste of time to repudiate this decision morally. This country was being run by Jihadis, purveyors of every intricate detail of blood-drenched scripture, a proud theocracy. This government was a stark opposition, not just to western values, but to human values. Their system wasn’t a different branch of morality, it was as blatantly immoral as any universal moral code. When the American’s showed up in 2001, the average age of female mortality was almost half that of America. I feel really comfortable saying this was not a maximisation of human experience. Something had to be done about this rapturous, government-sponsored oppression. You won’t find me making any positive claims regarding the prosecution of this war, but what cannot be denied is that the victims of Taliban oppression were in dire need of foreign intervention, when 99% of the population are proponents of Sharia law, it’s hard to see the 1% unlocking the door to self-actualisation from the inside. The only real pause for thought about the war with the Taliban is that it wasn’t prosecuted thoroughly enough. We didn’t eradicate that system of Governance, that even today they are trying to win back control of the Government, that we didn’t manage to condemn the ideology of politicised islamism to history and that, even still, people live and die by these beliefs.
One of the key criticisms of this war was the heroin-based conspiracy surrounding the American occupation, and the facts are more than little bit suspect. It’s true that under Taliban rule Afghanistan had reduced its opium production by 99%, after Mullah Mohammed Omar declared it un-Islamic, in what is likely the most successful anti-drug campaign of all time. By the time of the American invasion it was producing just 4% of the world’s heroin, afterwards, that number jumped to 90%. This is an obvious problem, and I’m not going to lodge a defense. It seems really obvious, looking at these facts alone, that having overstayed our welcome by a number of years, the motive may just have been understood within the context of heroin-production. It seems to me that the basis for our continued presence was not simply to kill brown people but was to plunder the land of any oil and opium, while maintaining the monetary triangulation from citizens to government to military, but sadly, that’s where the cash flow comes to a dead end. This warranted, yet disastrous, invasion is not an example of imperialism or neo-colonialism, it’s as clear an example of Governments using their own citizens as cannon fodder for the financial benefits of the of their buddies in the military industry. War is merely a tool to further dilate the margin between the rich and poor. For those in charge, it’s merely a happy coincidence that the environment lended itself to drug production, adding it to the list of ways in which to monetise the occupation. However, when the result of our continued presence is tantamount to genocide we must ask the question: are we truly on the right side of this conflict? It’s easy to see why this question is as divisive as any, but I find it impossible to define this conflict in absolute terms. The initial motive was a genuinely promising one to my eye, a legitimate attempt to emancipate the victims of religious subjugation and persecution, but it must be recognised that the outcome and death toll were orders of magnitude from the best case scenario. However well intentioned soldiers were upon their deployment to Kabul, it’s impossible to escape the harsh reality that our government did not do the best by the people of Afghanistan. Where bloodlust doesn’t explain the thousands of civilians fatally caught in collateral crossfire, you can be sure that plutocratic greed does.