Guest Post: C.L. – Afghanistan: Perversity, Culpability and Just Deserts

AS nobody ever said, “when we win the war in Afghanistan…” Think about it. At no time in the last 20 years did any ‘leader’ of the defunct Coalition of the Willing – political, military or otherwise – ever speak of victory. Nor did they encourage their publics to believe victory was even desirable. It didn’t matter how many warriors were killed in action. Bushes, Blairs, Howards and Obamas didn’t envisage a grand march for the winners; they didn’t want one. When President Trump organised a long overdue Washington parade in 2019 to salute America’s long-battling heroes, DC politicians (all Democrats) were concerned the city’s asphalt would be traumatised. There is nothing shocking about the Afghanistan debacle but, rather, something tragically familiar. War without end serving crisis-addicted pretenders in government, media and corporations. The goal was never enlightened democracy – any more than the end game of the ‘pandemic’ is ‘freedom.’

For the post-Soviet superpowers (paying attention), impossibility in Afghanistan was already axiomatic in 2001. Rushing in anyway was ominous enough. But having done so, to then look upon triumph as undesirable, as something vulgar to be shunned? That was depraved. Depraved lassitude, in fact, is the leitmotif in harmonica of our time. It amplifies nihilism like Henry Fonda’s dying breaths in Once Upon a Time in the West.

In Australia, defeat might seem like the unfair result of unyielding loyalty to the United States and therefore be no great – or, at least, no particularised – disgrace. This seems to be the op-edocracy’s reading of the ‘withdrawal’ from Afghanistan – albeit that absurd versions of old doctrinal schools are now brawling for scraps about how an army should surrender and skedaddle in an elegant way. “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad,” announced moustachioed Teddy Roosevelt impersonator John Bolton in the priapic lead-up to the Iraq War, “but real men go to Iran.” It can only be a matter of time before the inverted hawks of the upside-down 20s insist that everyone abandoned Kabul but real men abandon Taipei… or Canberra. 

No, Australia isn’t a hapless victim of its own dependable nature. The world isn’t a Paul Hogan skit and we’re not Strop. The Howard government committed soldiers to Afghanistan for a good cause but its successor governments kept them there for an age as a cut-price deposit for US backing in some future travail of our own. For that alone, as it happens, 43 of our finest young men died. The thinking behind the realpolitic was defensible but Australia’s unwillingness to mobilise for combat none but a small, constantly re-inserted vanguard of commandos was usurious. As for the down payment on alliance, how sure can we be that it will be honoured by a woke Pentagon in the service of a Pelosified Washington establishment?

There’s a good reason why Joe Biden hasn’t been mentioned till now: the Acting President is not to blame for the Afghanistan mess. He is responsible for the worst withdrawal and evacuation in US history. As an Endless War G.I. Joe, two-term Vice-President during the conflict and lifelong geo-strategic imbecile, Biden is by no means blameless. Those of us who remember the early years of the War on Terror also know that Afghanistan was very much the left’s Good War. The Democrats wanted George W. Bush to lose the Bad War – in Iraq – so they could regain the White House in a Nixonian fog of scandal and military humiliation. To Bush’s credit, he refused to go quietly. Note that a President in his 50s has a lot more vim for defiance than a 79 year-old whose idea of a surge is an extra scoop of choka choka chip.

Not only is there a lot of ruin in a civilisation but a lot of blame – and gradations of blame – for the ruin. When Australia formally called it a day in Afghanistan, commentators predictably opined on “our longest war.” Except it wasn’t ours – few citizens were called upon to assist in any sacrificial way – and therefore it wasn’t really a war at all. There were no petrol coupons or scrap metal drives in the suburbs. The notion that the West could fight a true war abroad while insulating for political reasons the vast majority of jaded voters was the foundational perversity of the enterprise. We lost in Afghanistan for three reasons: we didn’t want to win, we weren’t involved and – saddest of all – we’re not as morally superior to the Taliban as we used to be.

Finally, look not to Biden and the Democrats but to Scott Morrison and the Liberals for what may be the most shameful evidence of this same misanthropic pomposity: having rotated a small band of specialists into Afghanistan over and over – and over – again to kill the enemy, Liberals then facilitated an attempt to jail them for murder. The sainted Johns – Howard and Anderson – did the rotating but neither spoke up for their bloodied champions.

The SAS men will sue. But not for peace. 

30 thoughts on “Guest Post: C.L. – Afghanistan: Perversity, Culpability and Just Deserts”

  1. Excellent. Keep it going.

    I’d add one thing though. The Afghani abortion isn’t the fault of the United States per se. It’s the fault of the political party pretending to run the country after having cheated its way to election victory. The Demonrats own this abortion from head to toe.


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  2. “We lost in Afghanistan for three reasons: we didn’t want to win, we weren’t involved and – saddest of all – we’re not as morally superior to the Taliban as we used to be.”

    Yep.


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  3. Article in the Age a few days ago, worrying that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan threatens to – wait for it – hinder the ‘investigation’ of war crimes ‘committed’ by Australian forces (my quotes). However hard one tries to parody the Age, they always outdo you. Still, even in the confusion I’m sure they can find some random raghead willing to swear on a stack of Korans that the ‘tall Australian’ bodily hurled his uncle 40 feet into the air over a cliff, then dropped an anvil on him.


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  4. Rushing in anyway was ominous enough. But having done so, to then look upon triumph as undesirable, as something vulgar to be shunned? That was depraved.

    Exactly. And where else can you read such simple moral clarity?

    The Howard government committed soldiers to Afghanistan for a good cause but its successor governments kept them there for an age as a cut-price deposit for US backing in some future travail of our own.

    How quickly the world has changed for Australia: The Anzus treaty no longer protects Australia from the China menace because the illegitimate squatter in the White House took more than a billion US dollars in bribes to represent the Chinese Communist Party’s interests in Washington.

    Reprehensible doesn’t begin to describe the political depravity of Joe Biden, his family and the Democratic Party. And Australia’s clueless LNP government is still clinging to Biden’s coattails, ever after the Afghanistan disaster of the past week.


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  5. we’re not as morally superior to the Taliban as we used to be.

    No. All traces of it fled the US last year. The US now has no moral authority to tell any country how to run its affairs.

    As for us, we were just a small cog in the “coalition of the willing”, as usual. If you’re going to go to war, you go to win. Anything else is nonsense – you’re basically murdering your own countrymen for nothing. And for persecuting them for doing their duty should they return whole…that’s just depraved.


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  6. Great post CL. Keep them coming.

    It’s quite shameful, what our Govt has become. I can only imagine the shit our SAS troopers and their families must be going through. But also the high regard many of us hold for them and their magnificent service.


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  7. Thanks C.L.
    Made me think of a line from a lockdown movie yesterday.
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
    Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh) to Ryan (Chris Pine)
    [speaking of Afghanistan] “Different time, different empire, same graveyard.”


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  8. – saddest of all – we’re not as morally superior to the Taliban as we used to be.

    said my gran, “the road to hell is paved with good intention”


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  9. You’ve got me. Signed up, just to applaud this post.

    Great stuff CL.
    moderated

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  10. A little off topic, but a good doco on the insanity of Afghanistan is “Restrepo”.
    After watching that, tell me what dickhead, part time MBA in the DoD thought up that strategy.


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  11. Hmm. Not for the first time, I find there is now a deliberate, excessively flowery opaqueness and a consequent and (almost certainly) convenient slipperiness to the meaning arising from the writing style of many Currency Lad posts. There are quite a few points of apparent contradiction and uncertainty of meaning here – I still don’t know for sure whether he thinks it good or bad for Australia to have gone in at all, or whether it was OK to go in for a short time (in which case, how many years, and in what numbers?), and most importantly, how exactly he thinks it is even feasible or desirable to “win” permanently in a country so wracked by tribalism and fundamentalist religion. Does he think you kill half of the civilian the population that might be supporting their local Taliban leader over the corrupt but Western friendly government?

    This is, of course, all forgiven by his local fan club as long as he hits certain marks on the stage: Biden to be condemned; Bolton too because he didn’t support Trump; Australian soldiers never do anything wrong, etc.

    As it happens, I spent an idle half hour today looking at his earlier writing style at his old blog (via the Wayback machine.) My view of the stylistic change is well supported. (Used to be a much more mellow authorial character presented through the writing too. The culture wars – and basically losing them – has had an embittering effect.)


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  12. Steve from Brisbanesays:
    August 25, 2021 at 8:03 pm
    Hmm. Not for the first time, I find there is now a deliberate, excessively flowery opaqueness and a consequent and (almost certainly) convenient slipperiness to the meaning arising from the writing style of many Currency Lad posts.

    Meeeooow!


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  13. Australian soldiers never do anything wrong, etc.

    Still waiting on you leftwits to make a charge actually stick, Stevie Baby.

    Director of Military Prosecutions Brig. Lyn McDade and her legal bugmen brigade publicly failed to stick manslaughter and criminal negligence charges on members of 1 Commando Regiment in 2010, for having the temerity to follow their SOPs (and tactical common sense) by throwing a grenade into a room to kill a machine-gunner spraying out of it, killing a human shield child that nobody knew was there in the process. And that was a concrete, investigated incident Stevie Baby.

    The now no-longer credible and quietly dumped ‘credible evidence’ underpinning Brereton et al in 2020, was an exercise in airing recycled decade-old innuendos swirling over a war-weary and exhausted SASR. All based on a Sammie Crompvoets ‘report’ on SOCOMD’s ‘culture’ in 2015.

    Said ‘report’ grew out of a craven excuse from NSWPOL not calling in 2 Commado’s TAG East to resolve the Man Haron Monis debacle in 2011. Allegedly SOCOMD were a pack of murderous cowboys, so TAG-E were kept out of things. And people died as a result.

    Incompetent Departmental dissemblers covering their incompetence by dissembling. And messing up otherwise honorable coppers and soldiers alike in the process.

    Bugmen gonna bug, Stevie Baby…


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  14. I find there is now a deliberate, excessively flowery opaqueness and a consequent and (almost certainly) convenient slipperiness to the meaning arising from the writing style of

    omg … the ironing


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  15. I went to Afghanistan three times doing engineering and technical reviews for a company doing logistics support. I got to travel around much of the country. Kandahar, Bastion, Herat, Bahgram, Kabul, Mas El Sharif.

    From the moment I set foot there I got the distinct impression that no politician had a bloody clue what we were doing there, let alone any idea how we would win.

    Australian taxpayers paid for large amounts of “Islamic sensitive housing”, that really says it all, pandering to people who were living in carpet lined holes in the ground.


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  16. Both John Howard and John Anderson are gutless turds. If they had any sense of shame they’d STFU and stay out of any public life.

    I remember Bolt on his blog posting in early 2000’s that Afghanistan was not like Vietnam. I posted that it certainly was including lack of support by the population who were not willing to fight, sanctuary for the Taliban (Pakistan and covert support from same) etc etc. Seems I was right only this “war” ran twice as long.


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  17. MatrixTransformsays:
    August 25, 2021 at 9:43 pm
    I find there is now a deliberate, excessively flowery opaqueness and a consequent and (almost certainly) convenient slipperiness to the meaning arising from the writing style of

    omg … the ironing

    The irony is truly that such criticism comes from Stevie Boy, the master of prolix pomposity.


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