Sir Gene Speaks

0056 Sir Gene Speaks - Afghanistan

August 17, 2021 Gene Naftulyev Season 1 Episode 56
Sir Gene Speaks
0056 Sir Gene Speaks - Afghanistan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

I recommend listening at 1.25X

New York Times on Teliban and Al Qaeda
$1 trillion (not including black budgets) spent on Afghan War
2448 Americans Killed
20,722 Americans Wounded
100,000+ Civilians Killed

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Let's talk a little bit about Afghanistan. Obviously it's in the news. There is a lot of finger pointing going on. Mr. Blame, Obama, is it, going all the way back to Bush? is it Trump? Is it Biden? There are, I think enough things that were done poorly. There's enough blame to go around. That I think everybody can take a piece of that blame, but ultimately I think people need to understand that Afghanistan Stan could have never turned out any differently. And why do I say that? Well, Afghanistan has a fairly long history of being invaded. And temporarily conquered by other countries starting with about 300 BCE. When Alexander, the great came through what is now Afghanistan and United, a lot of tribes conquered them under the same banner. And that territory has been conquered and reconquered and gone back and forth for literally several thousand years. And during that time, including when the British had quote unquote conquered Afghanistan and even during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, which was from I think, 1979 and ended in 1990, right around there, maybe a little bit earlier during all these points in time, the Afghan people. Clearly did not want foreigners to be guaranteeing them. Afghanistan is even to this day, very much a tribal society tribes as a measure of both a family unit and of a geographic unit. It would be if in the United States, All the small towns have people with the same last name. And I know we can make jokes about people in Kentucky or Tennessee the hillbillies acting that way. But those jokes aside, the idea of a society that is very much still based around tribalism has. And the absence of this concept of a country. Yeah. Obviously there's a word for it. And people understand what you mean when you say country, but they don't recognize it as a natural state of governance. And I think that has greatly contributed to the failure of most Western nations or even the Eastern, if you want to include the Soviet union in their ability to hold down to Afghanistan. In Afghanistan during the early 1980s, when the, so it was in there, the Mujahideen who were essentially fighting a jihad against the invading Soviet army were losing, they were losing the battle or holding onto their own country. They were being conquered by an invading force. There was not a whole lot of possibilities of them winning. In fact, because technologically, they were extremely backwards. They were shooting guns that were manufactured for, or even before world war II. They had minimal cars and relied on animals like donkeys. They had very little in the way of production facilities. And it really wasn't until the United States and specifically through the CIA realize that they can hurt the Soviet union by propping up the Afghan Mujahideen with monitoring and technology. Now, of course, the United States couldn't be seen as doing this because that may play into increasing risk of nuclear war, which everybody wanted to avoid. But. The secondary goal. The secondary desire was very much in, in poking at the Soviet union through other actors as much as possible to keep the Soviet union off balance and involved in a lot of other conflicts so that they could not focus on the United States. And so through budgets that were pushed through by Charlie Wilson, who was. Congressman from Texas who really supported this idea of these Afghan soldiers fighting for their country or freedom against the tyrannical communists. But Charlie Wilson made sure that there were enough budgets appropriated to the CIA and primarily black buds. That would allow them to support the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet invasion, by providing them with more modern weapons, with food and with other supplies. But of course, doing it undercover doing it through other actors like Egypt and in fact, Israel. Who I believe Israel was used to acquire the Ehrlichman guns that were then passed on to the Mujahideen, which were capable of bringing down Soviet helicopters. The Soviets had helicopters, the hind, which was armored. And so traditional small arms fire, like you would have from an AK 47 or like a And they are 15, they would simply bounce off the bottom of the helicopter causing no damage. And so there was a need for a specialized anti helicopter, again, to be able to prevent the Soviets from flying overhead. And incidentally, not just flying, but, shooting rockets and shooting guns at locations where they suspected there were dens of the Mujahideen. The Soviet invasion obviously is a bad thing. I don't think that we can say that the U S was on the wrong side there, the U S in this case, even though doing it under the cover of black budgets and CIA corporate actions was essentially helping a nation of people to secure freedom from an invading army. So these are certainly all good things. The problem is that the people that they were helping these Mujahideen they had very strong religious and traditional ties to the way that they were culturally w well to their culture, which had not changed substantially in many years. For example, When the Mujahideen drove the Soviets out of Kabul, you would think that if you are fighting for your country and you've just driven the invading force out, that you would be celebrating and trying to re rekindle the spirit of the, what was left of the old Capitol, essentially getting rid of. Any of your enemies flags and and political symbols, and then raising your own where instead the Mujahideen essentially pillaged the city raped the residents. And in general acted as though they had just conquered a new territory. And that was absolutely in maintaining their historic. Attitudes. Remember Afghanistan, as I mentioned as a tribal country and when tribes fought, it was very much traditional for the winning team tribe to sack pillage and rape the holdings, the cities of whatever tribe they were fighting now to the Western mind. This might seem extremely Barb. Women are not property. So, rape is considered one of the most heinous crimes in the Western world sacking and just essentially theft of all of the possessions of the locals of the losing city also seems extremely wrong to the Western eye, but that was very much in the tradition that existed in Afghanistan. For millennia and that had not changed simply because the U S was providing weapons. So looking from that historical perspective the United States simply enabled them to use more modern tools. And in fact, when the United States saw the withdrawal of Russia well really Soviet union, I should say from Afghanistan. They stopped the funding for providing support for the Mujahideen because there was no longer a need. The goal of that was not in creating a better Afghanistan. The goal was in getting rid of the Soviet union and causing as much damage and the harm to the Soviet union in the process. When the money and the goods stopped flowing from the United States, this greatly confused and upset the locals they Afghans, including certainly the Mujahideen. And as part of that response to being upset, there was a rise to an anti-American sentiment, effectively, the Afghanistan people, the not just the armies. The citizens themselves recognize that they were being used by the United States as a lever or a tool against the Soviet union and nothing more. There was no great friendship between the two countries because the aid had stopped and aide was a, exactly the type of friendship that the Afghans were looking for. Right. About the same time. As the end of the Russian invasion was the creation of Al Qaeda. Okay. You though was essentially a a group that was well, bin Laden is credited as being the founder of it. I think that's somewhat debatable now in retrospect, but nonetheless. There was a group that was created based upon very fundamentalist ideas of Islam and created as a a place to shape and hone and train men for serving God and for the proper way of life. So Al-Qaeda was a it was something. More akin to a religious school or maybe a religious university would be a good way of putting it. At least that's the best description I can come up with because it really wasn't a company and it wasn't a independent political movement. It was really a place to organize, train, educate, and Provide a place for recruits to be converted into full on properly thinking, conservative Muslims and the goal. And this, I do think bin Laden was very influential and the goal was very much in refocusing. The hatred that was starting to develop, or at least the dislike was developing for America. Afghanistan in converting that to a full blown hatred, which could result in in some type of a anti-American action. And there, there were numerous threats of everything from airplane Downings to to train derailments, to ship. Takeover attempts on commercial ships and certainly even the idea of bringing down buildings on American soil by 2001, the idea that there was a plot to blow up a building in New York city had been around for almost a decade and had been tried once before. And failed through a bombing through the subway system. And so it was really assumed that they would not try something like this again which I think was one of the failures of communication that happened in 2001. But getting back to Afghanistan, Afghan people were being told that they have been betrayed by America. And then they were also then told that there's this other group with money supplied by Saudi Arabia via bin Laden that is teaching the men of the country of how to be good Muslims and how to be good Afghan citizens and not just the Afghans, but welcoming other Muslims from other nations to also come in and train. In their style of Islam and right about the time that Al Qaeda which I think started in the maybe 91, 92, if I remember correctly, but right about 1996 was when the Taliban was being formed and. The Taliban was a political movement with strong conservative Islamic ties as well. But it really didn't come out of the the Mujahideen factions, which by that point had been mostly integrated either back in. Normal Afghan society or had perhaps decided to become active parts of Al Qaeda. Taliban was really more of a movement to create a, a sense of a unified country. Governed by Islamic tenants to really have an Islamic caliphate, if you will. That encompassed all of Afghanistan Al Qaeda did not have those desires. And certainly the Mujahideen were essentially fighting in a jihad against the Soviet union. Not trying to create a more unified Islam base. Afghanistan. So by the time that the Taliban came in and as a distinction, incidentally, when the Taliban forces came to Kabul and captured the city much as the Mujahideen had done. A decade earlier or not quite a decade earlier, but some years earlier much as that was the case, the Taliban did not loot pillage and burn buildings. They were more interested in conquests than they were in punishing the previous government or the people that live there. And so there was a very different style. Of conquest that happened. now, I'm not going to argue that the Taliban methods and customs and practices are all happy and unicorns and rainbows being a conservative Islamic government, they very much had instituted Shiria as the law and had made changes in the legal. Requirements for dress and for work and for other things. For example, as we've all seen on television and images during the 96, 2001 control of Afghanistan by Taliban, women were treated more like they hadn't been historically, they were required to cover their bodies and faces the education of women. In the traditional Western sense stopped at the time that they hit puberty, at which point they were no longer being educated in in schools, they were just trained how to be good wives and houses. The idea that marriages quite often were pre-assigned or were arranged was also a normal part of the. The legal and religious structure there effectively, the Taliban had imposed religious laws of Islam as the political laws of the country of Afghanistan. And they did this with a fairly small amount of resistance against it. And that's a key point because when the U S. Into Afghanistan and 2001. And we're looking for Al Qaeda strongholds and by extension taking out the existing Taliban government that was providing a comfort and protection to the Al Qaeda training camps and organizational Strongsville. It wasn't that the us came to the aid of a country going through a civil war or a revolution. And the U S just picked a side to be on to help them. This is in contrast with what happened, of course, in Europe, during the while Europe and the middle east, frankly, during the rainbow revolutions where the U S definitely came. And pick the side that they wanted to help win in the course of a genuine revolution or a collapse of, and rebuilding of our government in one of these countries, even in Ukraine, when that was happening, the us was very much soaking the fire and feeding more propaganda to encourage Ukrainians. See Russia as somehow controlling their country and how with us help, they can become more independent. But nonetheless, the Ukrainian people genuinely did want to get rid of their government, or at least the large portion of them did. In the case of Afghanistan, there was no revolution that was happening. The Taliban was the legitimate government. Of Afghanistan and simply not liking the way a government operates is not enough to ignore the fact that they are the legitimate government of the country. There've been plenty of governments in history who the U S didn't like China, communist China is a great example, but nonetheless, communist China is recognized as the legitimate government of the place that used to be the I honestly, I can't remember what the previous name of China was before the CCP came in and took over. But essentially that was a revolution that switched the government in the country. And after a few years most other nations recognize them as the new legitimate government with Taiwan, obviously claiming to still be the government, the next island. But for pretty much the rest of the world the recognized government of China has been the CCP for many years. And the same thing with the Taliban were the legitimate government of Afghanistan. So what happens, you have to look at it, not from the U S perspective, but from a third-party perspective or even the Afghan perspective is you may have a government you're not super happy with it. Maybe you're not as religious as the law requires you to. And you don't maybe even like some of the requirements, but what you have is an invasion by the largest army of the country, with the largest army in the world that is coming to your country, getting rid of your government and then occupying your country. And the reason for that is because they're looking for a and bin Laden. So this invading army literally wipes out your legitimate governor. Even if you didn't like your own government, you might have some strong objections to a foreign power coming in and taking over the place and then installing a government that they're comfortable and happy with a government that supports their traditions, not Islamic traditions, a government, which is essentially doing whatever America wants. As long as America pays the bill, the cost of. Invasion of Afghanistan is just under a trillion dollars. I think that's the published cost, which means that if you include black budgets and include the shipments of money that was used to pay off various Afghan organizations and government leaders, which we certainly have documentaries that focus on that. If you include all of that, it's probably closer to a billion and a half. So we can even around the downs and just call it a billion. If the cost was a billion, there were two and a half thousand American lives lost tens of thousands of Americans injured. God knows how many lives lost on the Afghan side and an increase by over 40% in the production of opium derivatives. That's what's happened in the last 20 years. Why are people surprised that Taliban, which was the last government that was in power in the country, would be able to go back and take over and come to power, literally within the matter of a week, less than a week after the U S withdraws its troops and its support for the puppet government that. I don't know why people are surprised. Again, looking at it from their point of view, or even look from an outside point of view of a third party country. I don't know, China or somebody. It, this is a day where the original, legitimate government that was in power from 1996 until 2001 minute was deposed by the United States. That's been still considered the legitimate. In hiding for the last 20 years by a lot of people in Afghanistan, not the collaborators with the U S of course. There were plenty of people that made their living by being translators, by providing services, by doing trade with the United States. All the poppy farmers certainly have something to worry about because one of the things that Taliban did was they strongly. Reduce the poppy trade. They burned a lot of poppy fields down because making money off narcotics was not something that was promoted as part of the strong, conservative Islam ethic that the government had. So you have this government that's been in hiding, but never went away there. It was never destroyed. Taliban had been in existence. The entirety of that. And with very strong, popular support inside the country, of course, they're able to regain and retake all the places and all the positions that they held prior to the U S invasion. So I really don't think it's a surprise. I think it was completely expected. Anybody worth their salt in the state department. That would have been providing scenarios of what could happen should have said this as the top scenario. As soon as we withdraw Taliban comes back into power because our goal coming in was never to help. The local population changed their form of government. Our goal was to find a salmon bin Laden to get rid of Al Qaeda and to in the process, put in our own government to make things easier while we are there for the long haul, as an invading army, we needed to have the infrastructure in the country. So we needed the country to operate in a matter that would be beneficial to our troops. Now, everything I've said should not imply what the us was doing was somehow evil or bad or the wrong thing to do. I think if the goal of chasing down bin Laden was. It's probably a legitimate thing to invade another country to find that person. Unfortunately, most of the reasons, most of the rationale in both Iraq and in Afghanistan were based on fabrications in lies. They were based on non real Intel. They were based on essentially. Desires that some people had from Rumsfeld on down to rearrange the middle Eastern states in a way that was more beneficial to the U S and this was the perfect excuse to do it. We weren't going to wait for an Afghan revolution to help one side when that revolution and topple their own government. No, instead we were going to use the excuse of lack, where just chasing down bin Laden. Yeah. Okay. The bases in Afghanistan we're just going into Iraq because they have weapons of mass destruction. And so based on these lies, we came in and when you come in under fake pretext is like that the end result unfortunately is problematic because there is no wind conditions. If there actually were weapons of mass destruction, the wind condition would be finding all the weapons of mass destruction, eliminating the weapons of mass destruction, and then capturing people that had produced the weapons of mass destruction. And then leaving same thing with Afghanistan. You go there, you find the Al Qaeda training centers. You investigate all those areas. You in prison, whoever needs to be in prison. You kill, whoever needs to be killed and you track down some have been Latin, but didn't Latin. Wasn't there for the entirety of the us operations bin Laden had plenty of people that really liked what he was saying and provided assistance to him that allow him to be steps and steps away from where the us thought he was. To the point where if we actually caught him, let's pretend we did. Let's say that there isn't any doubt as to who was killed and then immediately throw it into a bag and put into a body of water with no possibility of identification. But let's say that actually was bin Laden. Remember how he was caught. He was caught living in a small house with a couple of wives watching American tale. The guy had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine on a regular basis. And it took the U S what, 15 years to track him down. So it is very difficult to envision why the U S stayed in Afghanistan for 20 years. And the proof, I think that the Afghan people had always been in supportive. Is just how quickly to tell bond came back into power. They didn't do this because they had overwhelming strength of weapons and technology. They didn't have either one of those things. They didn't have brand new Toyota zone. So for anybody noticing, anytime you have images of American flags being burned in Africa and the middle east and the far right. There's always a Toyota parked somewhere, not too far away, and that can be seen in the image. So if you look at the images of the Taliban coming back into power with their own flags waving, they are absolutely driving Toyota's and these are clearly brand new fleet vehicle Toyotas. So whether they put the order in assuming this date was going to happen soon, or whether somebody else put an order in on their behalf, These are clearly brand new vehicles that were shipped over from Japan for the purpose of being the vehicle of choice for anti-American sentiment they could have no better vehicle to drive in on than a Toyota truck. I'll tell you the highlights. I think they are when they're reclaiming their territory from the invading us four. They could not have accomplished this so quickly and efficiently had the local population not been in supportive Taliban coming back in and the invading Americans leaving. So for all the good that we think we accomplished in Afghanistan, the reality is they never wanted us there. Or at least the majority of the population. I'm sure some people want us there. And some people were much better off after the American invasion, but for the average. Afghan, the people that still live there, the people that hadn't moved to the United States, the people that are not packed in those AC one 30 planes for these people, the people that are actually living in Afghanistan, the Taliban is preferred to a foreign invading force, controlling their government. So with that, Without, like I said saying the U S are the bad guys here. Cause I don't think we are the bad guys, but we absolutely should have expected the results. And anybody who thinks that the average Afghanistani would have preferred being governed by a foreign power. Like the United States who is not a Muslim, a country that is not a Muslim country over being governed by locals who are Muslim. I think that they're just crazy like this is obviously what was going to happen because this is where the people want. And as I have said for many years, and I think Adam, as well as adopted this saying is that every country gets the government that it deserves, which is to say when the people aren't upset enough with the government to overthrow it, they are in effect condoning that. And that is a case in the United States. The United States has right now exactly the government that it deserves because it's willing to condone the government that it has. And the same thing in Afghanistan, they have the government that they will condone rather than actually fight them. In 20 years, an underground Taliban government has been able to survive. And to be able to jump back in with as much efficiency as they have because the local population supported them. And that's something that I think most Americans just have a hard time believing, but that is reality. And we now have that proof. So with that, I'm going to sign off and hope you enjoyed the last episode that I did with Darren O'Neill being the guest host. I think he did a great job and it was kind of fun to be on the receiving end of questions. I think we're going to try and make this a regular thing. We'll see if we can collaborate a little more and have a little more of this type of guest hosting stuff going on. Hope you enjoy, and I will leave you with that.