|Volume 51 Number 14, April 24, 2021||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Lindsey German, Stop the War
The announcement by Joe Biden that he is to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the anniversary of 9/11 this September has ruffled the feathers of the British military - and apparently of some of his own advisers. Their discomfort is because his announcement is an admission of defeat for US imperialism and for the whole War on Terror, begun 20 years ago. This was a war of revenge launched by George Bush, aided and abetted by his ally Tony Blair. Those of us who opposed the war argued at the time that it would solve nothing, would not end terrorism or bring peace to the country - already embroiled in a civil war - but would have catastrophic consequences for the people there.
Now we have come full circle. The war and occupation rapidly overthrew the Taliban government but resistance to the western powers and the government it supported continued. The Taliban now controls large parts of the country again, and groups like Isis have grown. Meanwhile the Afghans have suffered at least 100,000 dead, mass displacement and are citizens of one of the poorest countries in the world. They have suffered aerial bombardment and continuing conflict.
There was no point to this war, which also cost the lives of thousands of US, UK and other NATO soldiers. Yet instead of any honest accounting by the governments who endorsed it, they have learnt none of the lessons of their failed wars here and in Iraq, Libya and Syria. As Tariq Ali said at the Stop the War conference which took place at the weekend , we are seeing side by side the failure of their existing wars and the determination to engage new military conflicts.
Hence the sanctions and belligerent rhetoric against Russia and China, the bolstering of NATO in Eastern Europe in particular, military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, the sending of Britain's new aircraft carrier to the South China Sea. The latest flashpoint is over Ukraine, where there is talk of conflict over the Donbass.
The declining power of US imperialism, along with its very junior partner here in Britain, is leading to increased militarism and conflict. And those who brought us this endless war in Afghanistan have neither the intention nor the ability to learn the lessons from it.
1. Final session from Threats of War: Britain's New Global Role - Conference, Saturday April 17 2021