Finally, the United States is out of Afghanistan after 20 years of a failed invasion that left about 2,000 American soldiers dead and countless injured. Billions spent—and lots of locals were dead and injured. For what?
The money spent could be well used in our country for schools, to provide health coverage for all residents, not to mention to improve our old infrastructure.
Of the approximately $145 billion the U.S. government spent trying to rebuild Afghanistan, about $83 billion went to developing and sustaining its army and police forces, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a Congressionally created watchdog that has tracked the war since 2008. The $145 billion is in addition to $837 billion the United States spent fighting the war, which began with an invasion in October 2001.
The $83 billion invested in Afghan forces over 20 years is nearly double last year’s budget for the entire U.S. Marine Corps and is slightly more than what Washington budgeted last year for food stamp assistance for about 40 million Americans.
We also “donated” a huge stock of weapons to the Taliban.
But the main question now: Did we learn anything from this experience? Is the United States going to continue the failed policy of invading countries with governments Washington doesn’t like? Besides the deaths and expenses, destroying other countries and cultures isn’t a civilized way of thinking (and acting).
The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as the invasion of Vietnam and many other invasions) were illegal. Now another country is in disarray.
And how about the pollution a war produces? All the trash left behind?
Wars can continue killing even after they end. Mines—American mines—for instance, still kill civilians in Cambodia.
We have to change our way of governing. We need to stop this insanity of invading, bombing other societies, killing foreign leaders and subverting governments (Cuba is a good and old example). There is no legal ground for these activities. There is no moral ground either.
A Republican president started the invasion of Afghanistan. A Democrat president continued it. A bipartisan wrong path.
And the political circus continues in Washington, with Republicans criticizing President Biden for the abrupt exit from Afghanistan. And they pretend to be concerned about the well-being of Afghan women under the Taliban rule while they constantly attack women’s rights at home—as well as attacking civil rights at home.
We deserve better. Better leaders, better policies. Somewhere we need to start.
And talking about leaders. The recall vote will take place Sept. 14 in California. This is a Republican campaign trying to retake the state. This election is beyond Newsom.
If the recall wins, we’ll go back to the old politics of conservative Republicans governing to deepen social inequality on behalf of an elite, dividing our society—remember Pete Wilson and his Prop 187—and eliminating health access to thousands of Californians. Health for All wasn’t supported by conservatives, and let’s keep in mind that Ronald Reagan wiped out mental health programs.
The fact that the frontrunner to replace Newsom (if the recall passes) is a lunatic former “radio personality” who wants to eliminate the minimum wage, revoke the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and eliminate the mask mandate protecting our public health is scary. Let’s not allow this to happen.
Vote! And vote “No” on the recall! Ask your neighbors, friends, colleagues and family members to do so. It’s for us, for California.
Finally, we hope to see you at our 25th anniversary celebration. Please, vaccinated people only, and we will be keeping safety protocols. Check our in-house ad on page 2.
Until next month.