I’ve waited a very long time to post this article or one like it — almost all of my Planet Waves tenure, in fact. It isn’t a very long read, considering the gravity of its content, but then … what more is there to say? We’re finally out of Afghanistan.
Yes, there are still American boots on the ground in hundreds of places across the world where they don’t belong — we are still hubristic enough to think our interests more important than anyone else’s; opportunistic enough to intrude wherever we think we might gain resource and influence; arrogant enough to assume American ‘exceptionalism’ is built on military might and capitalism rather than devotion to democratic values. But at least we can finally say — as the Russians did, with considerable relief — that Afghanistan’s future is not our business, that what happens next in that country is up to its citizens.
And yes — they’ve got to “want it more than we do.” We spent ourselves attempting to establish a functional central government in this no-mans-land, let alone one with democratic underpinnings. That’s always been a fools errand and history repeats when we don’t remember.
Let’s remember next time.
U.S. Marines End Afghan Operations, Prepare Withdrawal
Kay Johnson, Reuters via Huffy
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The last U.S. Marines unit and final British combat troops in Afghanistan officially ended their operations on Sunday as they packed up to leave the country and transferred a massive military base to the Afghan military.
The American and British flags were lowered and folded up for the final time at the regional headquarters of the international military, 13 years after the toppling of the Taliban’s radical Islamist regime launched America’s longest war.
The timing of the troops’ withdrawal from the base in the strategic province of Helmand was not released for security reasons.
Camp Leatherneck is the largest U.S. base to be handed over to Afghan control as the coalition ends its combat mission at the end of the year, leaving most of the fight against a resilient Taliban insurgency to Afghan army and police.
British forces transferred the adjacent Camp Bastion at the same time.