Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair –aka ‘The Blair Creature’– is not a happy bunny this Sunday, folks. He has said that the decision to withdraw western forces from Afghanistan was made “in obedience to an imbecilic slogan about ending the ‘forever wars’.”
What he calls the US’ ‘abandonment’ of Afghanistan was “tragic, dangerous and unnecessary.”
In fact we could say the same about Tony Blair himself – and certainly the wars of choice he promoted.
Imbecilic? That’s the perfect word to describe what happened in October 2001 when Afghanistan was invaded in response, we were told, to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, even though none of the terrorists were Afghan nationals.
Had Blair read just a little bit of history, he would have pursued an exclusively diplomatic path to try and get Osama Bin Laden handed over and not have been so keen to send in the troops.
As I wrote in the Daily Express in 2009 in an article entitled ’Afghanistan: History repeats itself,’ “‘That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history,’ said Aldous Huxley. Nowhere is this more applicable than in the case of the many unsuccessful attempts by foreign powers to conquer Afghanistan.”
I went on: “The mighty forces of the British Empire failed three times between 1839 and 1919. The Soviet Union, which at the time had the largest army in the world, tried in 1979: they too were defeated.”
But in 2001, Blair and the then American President George W. Bush thought they would buck the trend. They could topple the Taliban (which they did) and remake Afghanistan – a deeply conservative and very religious country – in the western secular image. Afghanistan would be transformed from a ‘failed terror state’ into a ‘functioning democracy.’ What folly. What imperial arrogance.
Today, Blair is busily trying to spin the invasion of 2001 as a ‘success.’ But, while some things did improve, ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ certainly didn’t bring peace to Afghanistan.
According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 579 civilians were killed in aerial operations between January and September 2019. That’s more than double the amount ten years earlier. Nearly 111,000 civilians have been killed or injured in the country since 2009.
Far from bringing stability, the 2001 western military invasion, just like the 2003 invasion of Iraq, was a major cause of instability.
I recall chatting to a friendly Afghan taxi driver a couple of years ago and saying to him how I’d love to visit the country to see its great natural beauty. “Don’t go,” he said. “It‘s far too dangerous. You would be targeted.”
So much for Afghanistan being ‘safe’ post-invasion.
Whenever the US withdrew, we would have had scenes of chaos. But the Americans had to pull-out at some point otherwise its forces would have been in Afghanistan forever. That doesn’t seem to concern ‘The Blair Creature’ too much. ‘Forever wars’ aren’t a great problem to him or indeed the ‘Inside the Tent‘ political and media figures who promote them. They are, though, for the soldiers who die in them, and for their grieving families.
‘But the US and British forces could have stayed in a support role,’ we’re hearing. But, as was pointed out last week, there is a word for countries whose governments only endure because of foreign military support. The word is “colony.”
Blair and his supporters are tacitly admitting that Afghanistan, billed as a ‘sovereign democratic country’, was actually a colony. I thought ‘imperialism’ was supposed to be a bad thing that we’re all supposed to be ashamed of. So why is it ok when it comes to Afghanistan?
Afghanistan is virtually impossible for foreign powers to subjugate. There’s its hostile terrain, its harsh weather, its fiercely independent people who are very brave, very tough and are highly skilled in mountain warfare. But anyone who’d read the history books would have known all this and not intervened in the first place.
Tony Blair, with his Messiah complex, thought he’d be different. He could succeed in Afghanistan where other, lesser mortals had failed. But the ‘new’ neocon empire met with exactly the same result as the old empire did. Wasn’t it ‘imbecilic’ to think it would be any different?
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