I thought I would post this interesting discussion of recent events in Afghanistan published on the American politics’ podcast, The Realignment. Hosted by centre-right journalists Marshall Kosloff and Saagar Enjeti, this episode features a long interview with retired US Army officer Daniel P. Bolger, author of the book Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, a highly critical study of parts of the so-called War on Terror. I say “parts” because some of the writing tends to sanitize or downplay the worse aspects of the US-led campaigns in the Middle East and Asia, while putting an optimistic spin on what might have been achieved if Washington had followed a different path. A path that was, in my opinion, still quite dubious: militarily, politically and – frankly – morally.
Not unsurprisingly, then, I have disagreements with some of the interpretations offered in the debate, notably the focus on local corruption in Kabul while ignoring not too dissimilar levels of malfeasance within the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and among pliable Western officials and corporate carpetbaggers. However, overall, the discussion is relatively fair to the Afghan peoples and their unwilling role in the American global psychodrama that followed the shock and horror of 9/11.
At the very least, Bolger provides a welcome antidote to the new axis of left-wing and right-wing armchair generals in the United States and the United Kingdom, in particular, who are demanding another twenty years of shouldering the White Man’s Burden in Afghanistan. Highlighting yet again that neoliberalism and neoconservativism are little more than different sides of the same ideological coin.