The New York Times Wants Out of Afghanistan

With a dramatic picture of a soldier grasping a rifle in the mud the
New York Times editorssay, “End the War in Afghanistan” by which they mean bring U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan.  Their language is striking.  They support Trump-Taliban talks which they starkly describe as “negotiated capitulation by the international forces.”

It’s not just Afghanistan it’s the war on terror that the NYT reviews and finds a failure.

It adds up the costs to the U.S.   Over $5.9 trillion (not including interest) spent, 15,000 soldiers and “contractors” killed, over one million veterans who had served in Afghanistan or Iraq receiving some kind of disability money.  It bewails not only Trump, but Obama for listening to the generals’ siren song that with a just a few thousand more men and a “surge” or whatnot victory will be ours.  The result according to U.S. experts after 17 years of war is merely a “stalemate”.  A
New York Times article of a few days ago said that the U.S. recognized Afghan government now controls only 63% of its population.  Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed.  Poppy growing used for drugs had doubled and doubled again.

The NYT wants out.

It expresses hopes that the extremist women-despising Taliban has learned its lesson and won’t give sanctuary to forces like Bin Laden again with his designs on the West.  It worries that prospects for women will be “bleaker” if the Taliban takes over the cities. 

It admits that the NYT editors and publisher were “supportive” of the Afghan war at times criticizing European countries for not sending enough troops.  Yet now it says, “It is time to face the cruel truth that at best, the war is deadlocked, and at worst, it is hopeless.”

While it’s good that the NYT admits the U.S.-ordered world warfare has been a failure left unsaid is an important truth.  The peace movement had it right.  It was correct in 2001 when it opposed a GWOT the “Global War on Terror” as the answer for Bin Laden’s massacre. 

Certainly, the troops should be brought home though a Taliban run country would indeed be grim.  It would be essential to hear what women, both U.S. and Afghan have to say about the situation in Afghanistan.  In the past Afghan feminists in
RAWA said that the Afghan government is doing little or nothing to protect women now and that foreign troops in Afghanistan only make things worse.  One thing is for sure.  It’s better to listen to Afghan women than U.S. generals.

Peace Action, Minneapolis 2016

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