It is becoming increasingly clear that the strategy of interventionist dead-enders is to blame President Biden for losing Afghanistan to the Taliban. If only he had kept U.S. troops there a bit longer or even indefinitely, their argument goes, the crooked and corrupt U.S.-installed Afghan puppet regime could have won the war and finally brought “enduring freedom” to Afghanistan.

Never mind that the U.S. national-security establishment had twenty long years to achieve its goal of bringing a model society to Afghanistan. 

Never mind that U.S. officials sacrificed the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Afghans in their quest to bring “democracy” and “enduring freedom” to Afghanistan.

Never mind that U.S. officials spent around a trillion dollars in U.S. taxpayer money on their intervention, much of it ending up in the personal pockets of their crooked and corrupt Afghan puppets. 

Never mind that the Trump administration entered into an agreement with the Taliban to exit the country last May. Given that Biden unilaterally broke the agreement by extending the U.S. exit to September, the dead-enders argue, he should have just broken it even more by extending the exit date another several months or perhaps even indefinitely into the future.

The defeat of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, after 20 long years of massive death and destruction, provides the American people with an opportunity to engage in some serious soul-searching as to where we are as a nation and we should go from here.

On the one hand, things can proceed in a business-as-usual fashion, with no fundamental changes, simply saying that the Afghanistan intervention was a “mistake” that we need to put behind us and move on.

Or we can move in a fundamentally different direction in the following ways:

1. End all foreign interventionism, including invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, kidnappings, torture, assassinations, foreign aid, foreign alliances, and foreign military bases.

2. Dismantle the national-security state governmental apparatus that was grafted onto our federal governmental system after World War II and restore our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic.

In making this determination, we should keep in mind some important facts about Afghanistan and the U.S. national-security state. 

After the Soviet Union suddenly and unexpectedly dismantled itself and declared an end to the Cold War, the U.S. national-security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — needed a new official enemy to justify its existence. That’s when they went into the Middle East, targeting their old friend, partner, and ally Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. 

Once the Gulf War ended, the Pentagon and the CIA remained in the Middle East killing many more people, especially with their deadly sanctions that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

People warned that the U.S. national-security state’s interventionism was producing deep anger and even rage among people in the Middle East, which was leading to terrorist retaliation. The Pentagon and the CIA expressed indifference to those warnings. 

Then came the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, the attack on the USS Cole, and the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, all in retaliation for the U.S. interventionism. 

Nonetheless, those attacks did not dissuade the Pentagon and the CIA from continuing their interventionism. 

Then came the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, once again in retaliation for the U.S. interventionism that had been taking place since the Gulf War in 1991. 

With straight faces, U.S. officials steadfastly maintained that those attacks had nothing to do with their 10 years of deadly and destructive interventionism. They said that the attacks were because terrorists hated us for our “freedom and values.”

They then declared a “war on terrorism” that has proven to be as beneficial to the U.S. national-security establishment and its army of “defense” contractors as the Cold War’s “war on communism” was, if not more so.

They then used the 9/11 attacks to justify more deadly and destructive interventionism in Afghanistan and Iraq, which then produced the threat of even more retaliatory terrorism, making their “war on terrorism” a seemingly perpetual one.

One of the favorite arguments of the dead-enders is that it was necessary to invade Afghanistan to prevent it from serving as a terrorist haven. But the dead-enders forget an important fact: That’s not why President George W. Bush and the Pentagon invaded Afghanistan in the first place. They invaded because the Taliban refused to extradite Osama bin Laden to the Pentagon and the CIA, notwithstanding the lack of an extradition treaty between the two nations. If the Taliban had extradited bin Laden, there never would have been a U.S. invasion and occupation of the country.

Meanwhile, as we have now learned, the Pentagon and the CIA were knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately lying to the American people for 20 years about their Afghanistan intervention, even as American servicemen were killing and dying for nothing. 

And now that the Afghanistan intervention, along with the Iraq intervention, are winding down, the Pentagon and the CIA are moving their “war on terrorism” to the U.S. homeland, even while targeting their old Cold War enemies — Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba. They obviously need new official enemies — bad, in order to keep the military-industrial complex in high cotton.

Yes, one option is to just put the Afghanistan defeat and debacle behind us and continue on as a national-security state with more foreign interventionism. 

A better option would be to move America in a completely different direction by ending all foreign interventionism and restoring a limited-government republic to our land.

This article was originally published at the Future of Freedom Foundation and is republished here with permission.

Jacob Hornberger
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