After a war lasting two decades, thousands of American military personnel dead, trillions spent, and a doomed nation building effort, this is the fruition of our mission in Afghanistan.
“Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists,” Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada of Afghanistan said Monday. “Those files in which all the sharia [Islamic law] conditions of hudud and qisas have been fulfilled, you are obliged to implement. This is the ruling of sharia, and my command, which is obligatory.”
Translation? Islamic sharia law will be fully enforced in the country, which includes stonings, flogging, and public executions, according to a statement from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. Women’s rights are a thing of the past. It’s burqa time baby, the returning hour of the hijab.
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Now, you might say, who cares? After all, we haven’t suffered any more attacks out of Afghanistan and that was the primary mission, to deter attacks. Thus, we won that war.
Wellll, if that were the case, then we would have only, as I have suggested we should have done, gone in right after 9-11, leveled the place, shot anything with a beard, and left. Kind of a nice Rome and Carthage deal. That would have been sufficient to deter attacks. But we didn’t do that.
With typical American gullible optimism, we tried to make Afghanistan over in our own image. We built schools and hospitals, we dug irrigation, we set up a friendly government, we did all the things we could to make the nation into sort of a South Asian strip mall of democracy.
All for naught. Why? Because we’re very bad nation builders. The times we’ve done it successfully, Japan and Germany after WWII, we were dealing with nations we’d utterly defeated in war and who were, regarding Germany, a Western country gone awry, and in the Japanese example, an Asian country that had previously shown an enthusiastic propensity to adopt Western ways.
But Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and other recipients of our cultural largess were never going to go American in the first place. In Afghanistan, the good but naive Bush the Younger thought that every heart all over the world, including those in Kabul, yearned for the benefits of Western political freedom. Ah yes, 12th century theocracies were supposedly hot to trot for free speech, individual rights, and a free press. Uh huh, sure.
When they rejected all that for their own particular types of Third World merdeholes we got all huffy and indignant about it. Which is strange if we had bothered to read the history of the places. They, like most other places, don’t want freedom. They want benevolent masters. In soil such as that our version of democracy, or likely any other version, rarely grows. It doesn’t take a Hans Morgenthau to figure that out that we should act primarily in the national interest, not chasing some goody two shoes mirage of geopolitical altruism.
Perhaps in the future, after learning the lessons of Afghanistan, we’ll confine our military efforts to blowing up stuff, hampering enemy military operations, and killing foreigners. We’ve been quite effective when we’ve limited our war aims to that. Maybe we’ll stop trying to act as the well meaning, yet essentially goofy, Welcome Wagon for the American way of life. But, I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it.