Summers: Why we were always in Afghanistan
There seems to be a lot of confusion to why we were ever in Afghanistan. The narrative that everybody went along with was vengeance for 9/11, national security objectives and to liberate Afghan women. Those talking points were always acceptable, since the actual agenda was never questioned by the citizenry of this country.
Operation Enduring Freedom was never about freedom, national security, or humanitarian intervention. An American tragedy was hijacked to justify the 21st century imperial aims to the benefit of special interests. The neocons’ neo-colonial ambitions were upheld by an American public that didn’t engage in critical thinking in fear of being labeled anti-American or a terrorist sympathizer.
The American Empire goes on the offensive based on three reasons: Extraction and exploitation of a host country’s resources, control of trade routes and to build military installations to maintain geopolitical dominance.
Afghanistan coincidentally has the largest lithium reserves in the world (the energy source for our smart devices), provides the real estate to pipe out the Caspian Sea Basin’s natural gas reserves, and serves as a geostrategic hub to threaten Iran and Pakistan with military action.
Not only was Afghanistan this country’s longest war, it is also the first war in American history to be forgotten about, while it was going on. Americans busied themselves with reality television consumption and social media posts while the neglect of a foreign military expedition was allowed to flourish. Next to nobody has any sort of personal connection to that conflict, and since that was the case, the status quo was never challenged. As long as other people’s children did the fighting and dying, it was justifiable to have a long-term presence there.
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Most damning of all, the war was protracted and prolonged so that war industry corporations could keep making their despicable dividends. It just so happens that defense contracting is one of Colorado’s largest sources of GDP.
The Front Range economy has made hundreds of billions of dollars in profit off the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but nobody seems to recognize this inconvenient truth. There’s a famous tunnel an hour east of us, named after the man who prophesized that, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
Failed policies are always allowed to continue due to a willfully ignorant public who refuse to ask questions and hold their leadership accountable. Who here in Eagle County will question the rationale for the next foreign war?
Brian Summers is a concerned citizen who has resided in Eagle County for 15 years. He served with the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.