December 14, 2019

“In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.”.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This week, the venerable Washington Post newspaper revealed a bombshell, 2,000 page, secret Pentagon report detailing the astounding failure of US war strategy in Afghanistan, America’s longest war.

Americans have been fed a steady stream of lies about the Afghan War, concluded the Post. So asserted this writer in ‘American Conservative’ magazine in 2003 when the US invaded Afghanistan.

`We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking,’ admitted three star General Douglas Lute who commanded US forces in Afghanistan under Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama.

Arrogance and ignorance, backed by mammoth brute force, led US policy in the remote Asian nation. Attacking Afghanistan was revenge for the 9/11 attacks against the US. As this writer saw first hand in Afghanistan, all the claims about Osama bin Laden’s ‘terrorist training camps’ in Afghanistan were lies. 9/11 was not planned in Afghanistan.

Taliban were not ‘terrorists.’ They were lightly armed tribal warriors fighting bandits and the US-backed Afghan intelligence services run by the Communist Party. Taliban’s fathers, the mujahidin, were hailed as ‘freedom fighters’ by Ronald Reagan. In 2003, the US did a total volte-face to support the Afghan Communists who promised to allow US-owned pipeline routes south from Central Asia’s oil rich Caspian Basin to Pakistan’s coast. After Taliban refused the chintzy US pipelines offer, this nationalist, anti-drug movement that battled the rape of Afghanistan was branded ‘terrorists’.

The US-installed Kabul regime was a bunch of off-the-shelf CIA assets: warlords, major drug dealers, and communists. Billions upon billions of US dollars were flown in to hire mercenaries and pay off warlords and criminals. The biggest war criminals in Afghanistan became key US allies.

When Taliban was in power, it eliminated 90% of Afghanistan’s extensive trade of high-grade morphine and heroin. Once the US seized Kabul and installed its own puppet regime, drug production surged to all-time highs. US forces and their allies became deeply involved in the drug trade that sustained the nation’s economy. Today, US-run Afghanistan is the world’s biggest drug dealer.

Those journalists like this one who insisted on telling the truth about Afghanistan were fired or ignored. I was booted off CNN for denying their false claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And that the US was ‘winning’ the Afghan War. I was banned from certain radio and public TV networks for asserting that ISIS was a western invention, backed by Turkey, the US, France, Britain and Israel. I was branded a ‘radical’ for trying to tell the truth.

I mention these examples to affirm charges, made by the Washington Post, that the entire Afghan conflict was a farrago of lies and half-truths cooked up by the US government to justify a brutal war of aggression against a weak, medieval nation that dared to block our demands for strategic pipeline routes.

The Washington Post played a key role in promoting the lies that opened the way to the US invasion of Iraq. Today, it is doing penance by revealing all the lies that facilitated the Afghan War – and the thousands of US soldiers killed or wounded there, the vast destruction wrought on Afghanistan by US warplanes, wide scale torture, starvation, mass killing of civilians and all the other horrors of war.

According to the Pentagon report, the US has wasted at least one trillion dollars ($1 trillion) on its Afghanistan War to no discernible effect other than great numbers of dead and wounded, destroyed villages, machine-gunned farm animals, and vast chemical pollution. If it moves, bomb it is the American credo.

That’s why we see the shameful spectacle of US B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers carpet bombing Afghan villages, and swarms of helicopter and AC-130 gunships blasting apart medieval Afghan tribesmen and wedding parties. The Soviets were just as ruthless; but we are more efficient.

America’s media, with a few small exceptions, has promoted the Pentagon’s war against the Afghan people and totally covered up its atrocities and egregious lies. This war has become a giant, money devouring killing machine that boosts politicians and military contractors. The past presidents who cheered on this disgraceful war against one of the world’s poorest, most backward nations deserve to be disgraced.

Meanwhile, we must stop and think about the Pashtun tribal fighters who held off the world’s mightiest military machine for the past 18 years with little more than old AK-47 rifles and indomitable courage. We owe them our sincerest apologies and a rebuilt country. As a former US soldier I salute them, these bravest of the brave.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

This post is in: Afghanistan


  1. Excellent commentary! When the US armed the mujahidin ti fight the Soviet forces in Afghanistan and its puppet government in Kabul, it was unwittingly arming both the future al-Qaeda and the Taliban. As Eric notes, the war in Afghanistan has boosted the politicians who have advocated this war and the military contractors who have profited mightily off of the US tax dollars that have been spent on this hopeless conflict. The same military contractors also pounded the table to push for the Iraq War in the first place and are big contributors to the Republican Party. Much of the US military-industrial complex is comprised of the military contractors / mercenaries, who are always looking for ways to justify their existence and the money spent on them. Still, President Trump knows that this war in Afghanistan is a hopeless cause and has directed the negotiations with the Taliban in an effort to find a face-saving way to get most US troops out of that country. This follows the path set by Richard Nixon, who finally agreed to the deal with the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong that allowed the US to pull out its last combat troops from South Vietnam, back in 1973.
    The US has shown time and again that it is incapable of successfully fighting against a guerilla war, whether staged by the Viet Cong many years ago or more recently the Taliban of Afghanistan. And the US’s allies in Europe and everywhere else should be wary of their dependence on the US to protect them from any enemy, whether internal or external.

  2. I salute Eric Margolis for giving us the truth. Frankly never believed all the BS that came over the years. Wrote letters to our government complaining about Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan. Usually received back stock responses. Received death stares from people or got called a conspiracy theorist when I questioned the reasons for 9/11. I fully empathize with Eric as my questioning didn’t cost me a career. For that I’ll always be an admirer of Eric for sticking his neck out.

  3. From NBC News:
    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration intends to announce the drawdown of more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as early next week, according to three current and former U.S. officials. The withdrawal will leave between 8,000 and 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the officials said.
    It appears that the Americans do not have a clue about what they are are doing over there. They do not seem to know what they are doing. The original ‘pipeline’ reason for invading seems to have gone away. Severely damaging the country and people, the Americans can just walk away and let the Afghans fix their country and let it fall back to the squalid obscurity it formerly had.
    I’m not sure what the reason for leaving the remaining soldiers is. The reduced numbers will be less able to maintain the existing rule, and the ‘people’ will regain their country. At least under the Russian rule, women had gained a prominence never before seen.
    American ‘friends’ suffer again.

  4. Never forget one thing 96% of all the north American corporate media is owned by 6 corporations most with direct connections to the war industry. One day when we can speak the truth Afghanistan will be referred to as the second Opium War. One opium grower from India told me that the American timed the invasion so the country would be in Their hands in time for planting the new opium crop. Funny how since the Taliban destroyed the opium trade there were still so much seed available. i wonder who supplied them. I think the American opioid crisis pretty much answers that question.

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