For well over a century, America has always remained the most powerful nation on the planet. In that context, it is a good thing; no other nation would lay a hand on us unless it wanted to be annihilated. However, this power also has a dark side—opportunities for warmongers and profiteers to generate huge fortunes from unspeakable destruction around the world and the mass murders of millions.
From the 20th century onward, we have been at almost continuous war. World War I was claimed to be “The War to End All Wars.” But then, two decades later, when its horrors were still fresh in American minds, FDR pulled off his scheme (See my Dec. 2018 article for details) to goad Japan into bombing Pearl Harbor in a “sneak attack.” That, of course, drew us into World War II.
Since then, with the exception of a decade of peace under Eisenhower in the 1950’s, we have been at almost constant war—not defending our country—but meddling into the affairs of other nations where we had no legitimate business—Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Kuwait, Serbia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Niger and other places. Whether it’s fighting, rendering aid, or whatever, the results have always been the same—more mass murders and more destruction, and the needless deaths of thousands of Americans and thousands more horribly wounded and incapacitated.
On January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address to the nation. His biggest concern was the runaway growth and massive profiteering of engaging in warfare. A portion reads:
“We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts, America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
“Throughout America’s adventure in free government, such basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among peoples and among nations.
“To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
This past April 14, while addressing our nation, President Joe Biden announced that he had inherited Donald Trump’s peace agreement with the Taliban and his promised drawdown deadline of our military personnel from Afghanistan, beginning May 1. Biden vowed to finish removing them all by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers, promising to never pass America’s longest war onto another president.
Biden frankly admitted that the Afghan war was never meant to be multi-generational, and that only Afghan citizens have the right and responsibility to lead their country. “After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the vice president, as well as with [Afghan President Ashraf Ghani] and many others around the world, I concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home.”
Soon afterwards, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels said the alliance had agreed to pull out its 7,000 troops to match Biden’s decision.
Officially, we now have about 2500 American troops in Afghanistan, but because of fluctuations, we actually have about 3500, in addition to the 7000 foreign and NATO personnel.
So far, this war in Afghanistan alone has cost trillions of our dollars along with thousands of American lives and at least 100,000 Afghans killed and injured.
Retired General Colin Powell said the exit was long overdue: “I’d say we’ve done all we can do…. What are those troops being told they’re there for? It’s time to bring it to an end.” He said that the Soviet Union, which had occupied Afghanistan for ten years, “did it the same way. They got tired, and they marched out and back home.”
Former Congressman Ron Paul said that winning a war like this was never an objective: “Even if ‘won,’ endless wars like our 20 year assault on Afghanistan, [it] would not benefit our actual national interest in the slightest. So why do these wars continue endlessly? Because they are so profitable to powerful and well-connected special interests. In fact, the worst news possible for the Beltway military contractor / think tank complex would be that the United States actually won a war. That would signal the end of the welfare-for-the-rich gravy train…. [It] would result in wailing and gnashing of teeth among the military-industrial complex, which gets rich from other people’s misery and sacrifice.
“How many Americans, if asked, could answer the question, ‘Why have we been bombing Afghanistan for an entire generation?’ The Taliban never attacked the United States, and Osama bin Laden, who temporarily called Afghanistan his home, is long dead and gone. The longest war in US history has dragged on because… it has just dragged on…. the US has wasted $2.26 trillion dollars on a generation of war on Afghanistan.
“President Biden has announced that the US military would be out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. But as always, the devil is in the details. It appears that US special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and the private contractors who have taken an increasing role in fighting Washington’s wars, will remain in-country—bombing Afghans so that Max Boot and his neocons can pat themselves on the back.
“But the fact is this: Afghanistan was a disaster for the United States. Only the corrupt benefitted from this 20-year highway robbery. Will we learn a lesson from wasting trillions and killing hundreds of thousands? It is not likely. But there will be an accounting. The piper will be paid. Printing mountains of money to pay the corrupt war profiteers will soon leave the working and middle classes in dire straits. It is up to non-interventionists like us to explain to them exactly who has robbed them of their future.”
Now what about our other entanglements in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, parts of Africa, and various other locations where we should never be? Is Biden going to get us out of those armpits also? He hasn’t said a word about that. Already I hear rumors that he is preparing to lock horns with China and Russia because he is getting worried that they are “threats.” Is he just throwing us a small bone of peace to keep us contented, only to be escalating conflicts elsewhere? And is he allowing the mighty military-industrial complex to twist his arm to engage in continued cruelty, mass murder, carnage, destruction, and the wastage of many more trillions of American dollars? When will it really ever end?
1. Cronk, Terri Moon, Biden Announces Full U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, April 14, 2021. https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2573268/biden-announces-full-us-troop-withdrawal-from-afghanistan-by-sept-11/
2. Ryan, Missy, and DeYoung, Karen, Biden will withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, April 13, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/biden-us-troop-withdrawal-afghanistan/2021/04/13/918c3cae-9beb-11eb-8a83-3bc1fa69c2e8_story.html
3. Paul, Ron, Will Special Interests Allow America’s ‘Longest War’ to Finally End?, May 4, 2021. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/05/ron-paul/will-special-interests-allow-americas-longest-war-to-finally-end/
4. Engelhardt, Tom, American-Style War ‘til the End of Time?, May 1, 2021. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/05/no_author/american-style-war-til-the-end-of-time/
5. Sputnik News, Republicans vs Democrats in Launching Wars: We Have the Numbers, March 30, 2018. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/03/no_author/chief-warmongers-in-chief/
6. Eisenhower, Dwight David, Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961. http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm