Discover more from The Real Story
Back At It After a Too-Brief Hiatus
Believe what you want about Afghanistan, but the chances are good that what you believe is based entirely on buncombe. That's not your fault. But spare me the lies.
It was quite lovely, my brief break from the journalism racket, and I’ve only filed five newsletters in the past month. Only one in August, which was a re-upping and so it didn’t really count.
Not enough time riding motorcycles with the lads. Not much in the way of trout fishing, but this isn’t the time of year for it anyway. Time away from work to catch up on some work is not the smartest way to spend bits of one’s holiday, but it was relieved by a camping trip with my perfect and magnificent daughter Zoe and her fella Peyman. Who I quite like, and he didn’t mind it when I teased him about being called the Persian Bob Dylan.
So, all good, but still, I’ve resigned myself to the idea that every year around this time I’m going to be in a bit of a mood. It’s because of the anniversary.
On August 6, 2021, the city of Zaranj in the southern deserts of Nimroz became the first of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals to fall to the Taliban. On August 15, the Taliban stormed the capital, Kabul.
For several years I’d been determined that Absurdistan should not occupy the place in the cartography of the Euro-American imagination where the real-world country of Afghanistan should be. I spent a good bit of time in Afghanistan “outside the wire,” covered the “conflict” from Kandahar in the south to Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, and even wrote a book about it, Come from the Shadows: The Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan.
But after the American-engineered betrayal of the real-world people of Afghanistan two years ago, perhaps it’s too much to expect that Absurdistan would be expunged from the map. Maybe the weight of such a guilty collective conscience would be too much to bear. Maybe it’s because the Republicans and Democrats are equally complicit in the disgrace of August, 2021, so there’s no percentage in either American faction being honest about the deliberate and unnecessary surrender of 42 million people to the tender theocratic-fascist mercies of Hibatullah Akhundzada’s Islamic Emirate.
More than 90 percent of the Afghan population is going hungry now. The women are slaves. The Taliban are making bonfires of musical instruments.
There’s an internal logic to the American rationale. It derives from a bipartisan motive to lie, to continue populating the imaginary human terrain of Absurdistan and delineating its fictional borders in order to erase Afghanistan altogether.
That motivation, with all its highbrow pretexts and lowbrow alibis, spreads outward from Washington to Toronto and London and Paris. And we can all go along, pretending that whatever arguments we might have about “the mission,” it’s about the past.
The problem is that it isn’t about the past. It’s about right now.
Afghanistan already just as much a terrorist haven as it was before 9-11, and of course the Biden adminstration lies about even that. “This assessment is not only laughable, it also contradicts all the available evidence.”
It’s about the cause of democracy throughout Central Asia and beyond in 2023, the 17th year of democracy’s retreat around the world. What happened in August 2021 was a major event in the forced march of four-fifths of humanity further into the darkness of dungeon states and strongman regimes.
It was and is about the ascendancy of Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and a dozens of the tyrant bloc’s satrapies and client states, from Damascus to Minsk, and from Pyongyang to Managua.
If the civilized world could not sustain a 43-nation coalition supported by NATO and the United Nations to rebuild a country among an almost overwhelmingly welcoming people in an embryonic democracy - pulling the plug just as a new generation was finally emerging after a 20-year investment in universities and health care and the rule of law - do you really think we’re going to come up with some master plan to deal with climate change?
Or just think about Canada’s “domestic” concerns that are now at crisis levels: an entire working-class generation pushed to the precipice of destitution and homelessness by “post-national” policies that rely on the ever-greater fluidity of international capital, mass immigration and an official, state-manipulated contempt of Canada’s democratic heritage.
Do you really think the forces reshaping the global order have nothing to do with these things? Do you really think that we’re capable of confronting those forces when our government is wilfully obstructing every attempt to shine some light on Beijing’s interventions on its behalf in federal elections, and is otherwise busy with faddish “gender-affirming” medical interventions and “medically-assisted dying” and carbon-tax uselessness and safe-injection sites, all overseen by a Team Barbie Instagram influencer instead of a prime minister?
See? I’m in a bit of a mood, and it’s the reason why this newsletter’s resumption is about a week overdue.
Sorry. I’m not usually this bleak.
I was back at the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen last week with this: The Taliban didn't win. The civilized world surrendered. Do please read it.
Twenty years of sacrifice, squandered, and guilty American consciences are assuaged by the Biden administration lie that the country’s collapse occurred because Afghans were insufficiently interested in defending the democratic sovereignty of their own embryonic republic.
This requires a blotting-out of the memory of 66,000 members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who gave their lives to defend their country against the Taliban.
The lie is also an affront to the memory of about 3,500 soldiers from more than 40 NATO and allied countries who gave their lives in the struggle, among whom were 2,298 American soldiers and 158 Canadians. But it’s amazing what you can do when you rationalize in terms that politicians and diplomats find useful. As far back as December 2011, Biden was content to explain: “Look, the Taliban, per se, is not our enemy. That’s critical.”
I expect I’ll be back at the same subject this week, one way or another. I do promise to try to make some use of myself instead of just bring dreary. Nobody likes a miseryguts, least of all me, and I should be back to my usual optimistic self any day now.