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San Francisco's Afghan Community Protests Their Country's Trauma
Afghan flags fill Market Street as thousands rally and march to Union Square
Photos: Leon Kunstenaar / Pro Bono PhotoAs the US quits 20 years of warfare to prop up its installed government of gangsters and clowns, it abandons tens of thousands of Afghans to what they expect will be a brutal Taliban regime.
San Francisco's Afghan community, along with Afghans in cities throughout the US, protested the manner of the U.S.'s unplanned, precipitous evacuation. Along with many Afghan flags, demonstrators held signs repudiating the Taliban and above all, asked the world to understand and assist them in their time of grief.
The rally, held at United Nations Plaza near City Hall, was followed by an unannounced march on Market Street. They then proceeded to Union Square where another rally was held.
For the U.S., the twenty year, $2.3 trillion war is just another chapter in its ongoing foreign policy.
As Noam Chomsky explained years ago, from the perspective of the economic elites who determine the US national interest, the many wars since WWII have been largely successful.
Accordingly, U.S. foreign policy seeks to promote client states whose economies mesh with the needs of corporate America. These states, if they know what's good for them, will act either as sources of raw materials, markets for American products, or hosts for military bases. Countries that see their people's interest otherwise pay a heavy price. Discounting the endless US interventions in South America and the Middle East, the "big" wars of Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are illuminating.
The US killed four million in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. The chemical warfare resulted in what the UN referred to as the world's first instance of "ecocide". It took decades for Viet Nam to recover. While the Vietnamese are now in control of their country, the demise of Communism as a competitor to the US renders the issue moot. While the US has "moved on", the Vietnamese might take longer to forget.
The attack on Iraq was justified by the known lie of weapons of mass destruction. The popular narrative spins the war as a "disaster" for the US. Not so.
Because Sadam Hussein had chosen to take his country along a path inconsistent with US economic interests, the US destroyed the country, reduced major cities to ruble, and imposed a corrupt and incapable government. Iraqis once had a decent standard of living. No longer.
That the horrors inflicted on the Iraquis are irrelevant was illustrated by the US Scretary of State Madeline Allbright's famous comment that the death of ten thousand Iraqi children was "worth it." US needs have been met, Iraq is no longer a problem.
The man responsible for 9/11, committed by Arabs, was living in Afghanistan with the presumed compliance of the then Afghan government, the Taliban. So, after destroying Iraq, the US, having attacked Afghanistan, proceeded to attempt to transform Afghanistan into a viable client state. This policy transformation somehow "happened", the policy "morphed" as one NY times columnist intoned. Presidents, with the exception of Trump, framed this a as attempt to create a democracy. Trump, with his simplistic mind, not understanding the real geopolitical motives, simply saw it as a waste of money.
The punditry is in full crisis mode demonising the Taliban whose terrible treatment of women was not a issue when we were arming them to fight the Russians and is never mentioned regarding tyrannies like Saudi Arabia, our second best weapons customer.
Never mentioned is that Afghanistan, the "gateway to Asia" from Europe, borders on Russia and China, has great mineral wealth and is in just the right place for US bases aimed at those economic competitors.
Driving our former allies, the Taliban, out of power and installing a government of gangsters and clowns, the resulting twenty years of war was a $2.3 trillion gravy train for the US "defense" industry. The two largest US weapons manufacturers are Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Before 9/11 in 2001 Boeing's stock price was around 35 dollars a share. At the end of 2019 (before the Max 8 scandal), it was at 326. At the beginning of 2001 Lockheed Martin stock was around 20 dollars. By the end of 2020 it was 350 dollars.
The mainstream press frames US actions as perhaps naive and overly arrogant but surely the result of good intentions. In fact, the military defeat is secondary. For the US economy and those who matter, the slaughter is of little consequence.
The Afghan adventure is now ending with a defeat at the hands of people who would not be subjugated. No biggie. The money has been made, it had a good run.
After the current "messiness" is over, its on to the menace of China. Boeing and Lockheed Martin stockholders need not worry.
See all high resolution photos here.