This shit sucks.
The only way that Afghanistan was ever going to turn out okay is if we spent Marshal Plan kind of money on the country to establish a thriving middle class. We were never going to do that. We should never have been there in the first place.
The situation in Afghanistan never seems to run out of new ways to be thoroughly depressing.
We spent over 1 trillion dollars waging war on Afghanistan. In 2020 dollars, the Marshall Plan would have cost ~150 billion. As ever, It’s difficult to do nation building on a foundation of corpses.
Knowing that there was a tragic ending coming doesn’t make witnessing it any less wrenching.
Right. We are perfectly happy to spend any amount of money killing people. It’s helping them that we are unwilling to do.
According to the CFR, ~200 billion of that 1 trillion went to reconstruction (somewhat less, since their estimate covers both Afghanistan and Iraq). But yeah, the priorities are profoundly messed up.
One of the reasons the Marshall Plan was so much more successful is that the allies were essentially helping rebuild societies that had already adopted modern forms of government and infrastructure rather than trying to create those things from scratch.
Yup, that’s the point made in the CFR article. The US spent more in Afghanistan, but considering what was there to work with, we were still under-resourced by an order of magnitude. ANd that’s leaving aside the question of whether a Western style democracy was ever a realistic goal in the first place.
The US was there for 20 years and it fell this quickly, so obviously that 20 years was not doing anything meaningful.
It’s wrong that we should pull out so quickly if it means anyone seen as a collaborator is punished by the Taliban. A friend I lost touch with after COVID hit was an Afghan refugee who was an interpreter, he had been trying to get his wife out of the country, I hope he was successful.
and the results:
The caterwauling from the Reich Wingers is reaching it desired fevered pitch, expect Tucker to cry tonight of Faux News.
it was all fun and games 20 years ago:
I was aware of the Taliban pre-9/11. They were doing huge public beheadings in the football stadium, and dynamiting ancient Buddhist statues.
Before the Soviets invaded it had a stable government and economy, modern roads and schools, very little extremism. The US fostered the extremism by supporting the mujahideen in a proxy war against the Soviets, and it came back on us.
I also remember the weird daze that enveloped the US immediately after 9/11, so I had a hesitant, guarded approval of the invasion. I guess I thought maybe the US could fix a mess we had a hand in creating.
This is the entirety of US foreign policy since WW2. That same pattern happened all over SE Asia, the Middle East, South America and Central America. The US has done this exact thing dozens (hundreds?) of times and it always goes bad the same way. I don’t understand why they keep doing it.
All I can guess is that there’s a culture of “we control the world” in the various US intelligence agencies that just can’t be solved by pointing out their continual errors.
How much of that figure was just paying off families of people accidentally killed by drone strikes?
Also, when you have a society that was already long accustomed to things like clean running water and electricity and reliable roads and being able to walk down the street in relative safety then most people will accept almost anything that promises to get those things back. At the end of the day most people just want shit to be normal.
In Afghanistan those kinds of luxuries were never more than abstract concepts for most citizens, and the foreign nationals occupying their country never made all that much headway on delivering them in any case.
Yup, and the same thing happened in Iran, though indirectly via Shah.