Anyone who believes that the United States will learn something from the debacle that is unfolding in Afghanistan needs to open their eyes to reality.
Let’s be generous and say that the crisis in Afghanistan is the result of bad intelligence. Perhaps not enough people imagined that the political and military collapse in the country would happen as quickly as it did and would cause the Taliban to roll into Kabul as quickly and as easily as it did.
If that were the case, then, presto, improving intelligence gathering capabilities will guarantee the U.S. won’t look as impotent in the future as it does now. The images of American diplomatic personnel scampering out of Afghanistan reminded too many people of the disastrous way America’s disastrous war in Vietnam ended.
The heartbreaking images of Afghan citizens literally clinging to or chasing U.S. planes as they roared down runways ought to be seared into the conscience of each American citizen. The tragedy of “the best country in the world” not being able to successfully coordinate what was basically a humanitarian mission ought not be quickly forgotten.
There’s a bigger problem, however.
Learning from all of this requires a premise that is not present: The U.S. wants to stop engaging in unnecessary international ventures that end with too many lives lost and too many billions of dollars spent on a military mistake.
Let’s be blunt: The U.S. doesn’t want to be better because it feasts off the money generated from building planes and bombs, and using that hardware in multiple places all over the world. America needs war; it’s no different from the addict who needs his or her drug.
Remember, four different presidents — each with a radically different version of America’s place in the world — coalesced around the idea of bombing Afghanistan. Even though Donald Trump said enough was enough with the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he, too, couldn’t resist temptation and needed to bomb the country.
The next time someone tells you that America must learn from what has happened in Afghanistan, remind them that until and unless the entire commitment to creating a war mentality changes, nothing will change.
Lust for money. Lust for oil. Lust for hegemony. Lust is a vile sin.