I wanted to write a bit about Afghanistan. I wanted to talk about the disgusting betrayal of the Afghan people by our Western governments, the US and UK chief among them. About Macron and Patel, whose prime concern is not to help people so desperate that they cling to the wheels of cargo planes bound for 40,000 feet above the earth, but to ensure that refugees from the crisis don’t make their way to European and British shores.
I wanted to talk about Joe goddamn Biden, who took a break from sniffing the hair of unsuspecting women long enough to read one of the vilest speeches I’ve ever heard from a US President (and I include Trump in that, the prime architect of this catastrophe). Biden’s speech was nothing short of victim-blaming. He could have saved us all a lot of time by getting up and saying “Fuck the Afghans. Fuck em. Stoopid motherfuckers deserve it.”
I wanted to talk about Blair and Bush and Cheney and Halliburton and Blackwater and the military industrial complex and the press cheerleaders and the “Support our troops” dickheads who charged us into Afghanistan in the first place.
But why bother? We all know they’re responsible. We all know this is the biggest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, the Suez and Algeria. We know that nobody involved will ever face a single consequence for the actions that brought Afghanistan to this.
I want to talk about the betrayed. Our troops for starters. 454 British soldiers died in Afghanistan, the majority of them working class lads from estates and towns and villages up and down the country. Countless more lost limbs, were disfigured and suffered life-changing injuries, and for what? For democracy? For the Afghan people? To protect the UK against terrorism? That’s what they were told, and it was a fucking lie. If the West gave a single shit about any of those things, they wouldn’t have stood back and watched the Taliban dismantle the fragile nation they spent twenty years and 2 trillion dollars building. No, those lads were shot and bombed and burned for profit, same as every other casualty in every other war launched by the West since WW2. They were fed into a military-industrial meat grinder and came out as increased BAE sales, record profits for Lockheed and soaring stock for private military contractors.
The biggest victims of all though, are undoubtedly the people of Afghanistan. From the Soviet occupation, through the Taliban tyranny, through twenty years of Western aggression and now finally this: the return of a hard-line, fundamentalist and theocratic regime that believes in stoning suspected adulterers, that denies girls an education, that bans music for fucks sake. The Taliban are straight out of the darkest days of the Dark Ages, and whilst the Western occupation could never have lasted forever, for it to end in the way it has, betraying everything it ever claimed to have been fighting for…
It makes me ashamed to be a Westerner. I am ashamed of my government and my country today, because we all failed to hold them to account, to say no to this war. The West’s hands are drenched in Afghan blood, never more so than this day.