Letter: U.S. can only blame self – or its leaders


The U.S. government estimates that the 9/11 attacks, which originated in Afghanistan, cost Osama bin Laden $500,000.

We, on the other had blew $6.4 trillion (figure includes 40-year obligation to veterans’ medical/disability). That’s from Brown University’s “Costs of War” project. And that figure doesn’t include the foolish Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for the wealthy top 1%, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimated would add $5.6 trillion to deficits from 2001 to 2018.

And let’s not forget the human and financial cost of these wars on our allies, to whom Afghanistan and Iraq posed no direct threat.

I think GWB/Cheney, the neocons and Obama, should pay that bill. That’s 40 countries. That’s over $101 billion and 1,039 killed for just the top five countries.

And I think it’s worth noting that the biggest poll of world opinion on how the U.S. should respond to 9/11, carried out by Gallup Internatinal in 37 countries, found that a majority of people in every country surveyed – except the USA, Israel and India – preferred extradition and trial of suspects and not military action.

So no one was really with us.

I was all for getting OBL et al. for as long as it took (that’s what our special forces, CIA are there for); but no war because I always figured that it was OBL’s grand plan to bleed America dry, just like they (and we) did to the Soviets in the 1979 to ’89 Soviet–Afghan War.

Plus as Trump and many historians and military have rightly pointed out, “we have not been innocent in the Middle East. We have not been innocent in the entire history of our republic since 1776. We have enjoyed enormous success in accumulating wealth and power. But the process of accumulation has been one that involved doing evil things,” as Ret. Col. Andrew J. Bacevich Jr. put it.

So in my mind we should of just taken our lumps and concentrated on obliterating OBL/al-Qaeda and whoever enabled them.

In 2008 Congress created The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Well, they found lots of that going on.

It was just one big ripoff by hundreds of thousands of contractors.

They estimate that 40% of U.S. aid to Afghanistan since 2001 ended up in the pockets of corrupt private contractors, NGOs, privatized military companies (Blackwater), Afghan officials, warlords, criminals, insurgents, and even U.S. soldiers (160 convictions).

Example: a $25-million headquarters that no one needed and was never used, $43 million for an unnecessary gas station that should have only cost $300,000 to begin with… and the list goes on and on and on.

It’s a shameful disgrace in war: profiteering, disaster capitalism ever.

We also caused the founding of ISIS in iraq and a global jihadist network putting everyone at risk now probably forever. The U.S. post-9/11 wars also displaced at least 38 million people.

And then is the 20 years of lies we were told and have been exposed to the light of day by Craig Whitlock and the Washington Post.

They caught wind that SIGAR had also conducted 760 interviews with current and former policymakers, ambassadors, generals, military officers, development experts, and other professionals involved in the wars.

So CW and the WaPo went after them. Three years and two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits later they finally got a hold of them and they were shocking, to say the least. The interviews reveled that from Day One, no one knew what the heck they were doing, there was no coherent strategy, we didn’t know the local geography, religions, traditions, ethnic politics, or languages (a HUGE disadvantage) nor had we learned anything from our past military failures – of which there are many since World War II.

Why, despite having the biggest, most technologically advanced, and better-funded military than any one on the planet, we haven’t won but one ‘war’/dust up since WWII?

Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the White House czar for Afghanistan during the GWB and Obama administrations, admitted: “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

Enemies were misidentified and innocent people killed so frequently that one officer reported that some units were “paying Afghans for damages and condolence payments.”

The Bush, Obama and Trump administrations and Congress all knew there was no realistic prospect for victory all these years, but lied to us that they were making progress.

Afghanistan and Iraq, just like Vietnam, were impossible missions from the get-go,but we doltishly kept pouring our young men and tax dollars into the inferno.

Even Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined.”

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agrees with that statement 100%. In the 1960s then-British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan described the golden rule of politics: “Never invade Afghanistan.”

Robert Crews, a historian at Stanford University specializing in Afghanistan and central Asia, said he believes the Trump administration’s Feb. 29, 2020 deal with the Taliban (in which the Afghanistan government was not included, btw) “legitimized the Taliban,” de-legitimized the Afghan Government and gave the Taliban a “road map” to conduct their offensive and oust the democratically elected government.

The deal also included the release of 5,000 Taliban fighters who have been held prisoners by the Afghanistan government.

Two weeks after signing the deal, under pressure from the Trump Administration., Afghan President Ashraf Ghani released 1,500 Taliban prisoners. By Septeptember, all 5,000 have been released. So Trump gave away the store. So much for the art of the deal.

And I don’t want to hear any of this “America, Love it or Leave it” crap. I thank my lucky stars, first that I was born white, second that I was born in America (though there are some other nice countries out there too), that I’m finally living rural… and a few others.

It’s that ALIOLI attitude, though, that has oppressed America in many ways since the ’60s. Some try to see the whole picture, to take in the past, to ask questions, to acknowledge the unpleasant facts.

It’s the learning process. And yes, it can be very painful.

But you know, Theodore Roosevelt backs me up. TR said it is unpatriotic, servile and morally treasonable not to hold the government/president accountable for its actions.

Diane Daiute

Sweet Home