Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh, what a funny war! (part two)

Chalmers Johnson isn't very amused by funny wars either.

The historian who brought us Blowback, Nemesis, and other tales of American imperialism, Johnson gives us the history behind the war in Afghanistan, the "freedom fighters" armed and trained by the U.S. to fight the Soviet Union, then dumped when no longer useful, who turn on the U.S. and anybody daft enough to side with them.

See the funny side of it yet? Neither do I, and neither did he.

This line will stay with me for a long, long time.
"What to make of the film (which I found rather boring and old-fashioned)? It makes the U.S. government look like it is populated by a bunch of whoring, drunken sleazebags, so in that sense it's accurate enough."
Our mission in Afghanistan?

"...One of the severe side effects of imperialism in its advanced stages seems to be that it rots the brains of the imperialists. They start believing that they are the bearers of civilization, the bringers of light to "primitives" and "savages" (largely so identified because of their resistance to being "liberated" by us), the carriers of science and modernity to backward peoples, beacons and guides for citizens of the "underdeveloped world."

And what is going to be the outcome? Maybe the original story can tell us.

"...we are told by another insider reviewer, James Rocchi, that the scenario, as originally written by Aaron Sorkin of "West Wing" fame, included the following line for Avrakotos: "Remember I said this: There's going to be a day when we're gonna look back and say 'I'd give anything if [Afghanistan] were overrun with Godless communists'." This line is nowhere to be found in the final film."
So where has all this fighting, dying, and endless military expenditure gotten us?

"...Today there is ample evidence that, when it comes to the freedom of women, education levels, governmental services, relations among different ethnic groups, and quality of life -- all were infinitely better under the Afghan communists than under the Taliban or the present government of President Hamid Karzai, which evidently controls little beyond the country's capital, Kabul."
But don't take my word for it. You can either listen to the historian or you can listen to Tom Hanks.

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