On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the debacle in Afghanistan with Danny Sjursen, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, former US Army Major and author. He is a combat veteran who served in Iraq and later as an Army Captain in Afghanistan I command of B Troop in Kandahar Province from February 2011 to January 2012.
The debacle in Afghanistan is one more signpost of the end of the American empire. The two decades of combat, the one trillion dollars we wasted, the 100,000 troops deployed to subdue Afghanistan, the high-tech gadgets, artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare, Reaper drones armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs and the Global Hawk drones with high-resolution cameras. Then there is the Special Operations Command composed of elite rangers, SEALs and air commandos, black sites, torture, electronic surveillance, satellites, attack aircraft, mercenary armies, infusions of millions of dollars to buy off and bribe the local elites and train an Afghan army of 350,000 that has never exhibited the will to fight, failed to defeat a guerrilla army of 75,000 that funded itself through opium production and extortion in one of the poorest countries on earth.
Like any empire in terminal decay, no one will be held accountable for the debacle or for the other debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen or anywhere else. Not the generals. Not the politicians. Not the CIA and intelligence agencies. Not the diplomats. Not the obsequious courtiers in the press who serve as cheerleaders for war. Not the compliant academics and area specialists. Not the defense industry. Empires at the end are collective suicide machines. The military becomes in late empire unmanageable, unaccountable, and endlessly self-perpetuating, no matter how many fiascos, blunders and defeats it visits upon the carcass of the nation, or how much money it plunders, impoverishing the citizenry and leaving governing institutions and the physical infrastructure decayed.
Danny Sjursen is the co-host of the podcast Fortress on a Hill, director of the Eisenhower Media Network and a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. He is also the author of the new book A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism.