“We will hunt them down, we will smoke them out”

President Bush’s War on Terror ends in Disaster for the entire West

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

For twenty years, international troops under U.S. leadership were in Afghanistan with the goal of providing peace and security, including their very own ideas of democracy. Now, the Taliban are closing in on Kabul. They ride in captured American pick-up trucks; a fighting force seemingly from the middle Ages. American interference once again turns out to be a failure all along the line: wherever they show up with their military, only disaster comes out. These days, the allies are rushing to fly out their embassy staff before they too fall into enemy hands. Meanwhile, a human tragedy is emerging for Afghans who thought they could trust the West.

History is often easy to internalize. To do this, you sometimes just need to remember quotes from the past and compare them with the present. Thereby, it would be helpful especially for Americans and their country to learn from history. The only problem is: People who fell for the phrases at that time, fall for all possible charlatanry also today and do not want or cannot remember their own words from yesterday. From which follows: Those are incapable of learning to whom it does not even occur to draw conclusions from the past.

The allegations that circulated and were deliberately spread among the American public even before President Bush’s war on terror began less than twenty years ago were nothing more than the result of obtuse propaganda hammered into Americans almost continuously via the media. It was a typical example of how, even in a democratic country, people’s patriotism was exploited by the cheapest methods.

The following should give pause for thought:

“I’d rather the war be there [in Iraq, Afghanistan] than in our own country.”
I heard this sentence over and over again back then from the mouths of regulars, most of them staunch Republicans. Nobody should want a war anywhere, because it can always strike back and hit you. People don’t believe it until it happens.

“He [Saddam Hussein] is just like another Hitler. We need to take him out of there.”
This was a similar saying from that time, hardly to be surpassed in ignorance to the facts. For comparing a big shot like Hussein with Adolf Hitler is one of the most surprising sentences, while incoherent assessments I have ever heard. Hitler controlled, for a short time, almost all of Europe and kept the whole world in suspense. The German Wehrmacht was the strongest military force of its time, and it took the rest of the world nearly six years in a combined effort to defeat it. Hussein, on his part, had nothing of that sort to display. He never possessed the weapons of mass destruction that were attributed to him, serving as the main reason for a mindless military invasion. If he had possessed them, the USA and its allies would hardly have attacked him – for he would have used them instantly. That simple fact would not go into the heads of most Americans at the time.

No matter how many I talked to back then – the result was almost always the same. The majority of Americans were unstoppable in their euphoria and belief that whatever their government was doing was right. Certainly, a legitimate rage about unprecedented terrorist attacks on their country played a significant role to fume their judgement.

“We will hunt them down, we will smoke them out.”
Remarks by President George W. Bush on September 17, 2001, to employees at the Pentagon. He repeated this phrase as if in a Wild West movie at several other occasions.

In truth, the military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq made little sense, if only because the terrorist attackers of September 11 essentially not only came from Saudi Arabia, but were also financed from there. Saudi Arabia, however, is the closest U.S. ally in the region, albeit not for reasons of sympathy but of profit from the oil business. The price for this American hypocrisy could be costly: For the disastrous and maybe intended miscalculation of the Bush administration – politically, historically, and geostrategically – could now, after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, carry toxic smoke back to the US. The Taliban, once equipped and trained by the Americans, will in all likelihood find with their present advance sufficient basis and encouragement to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its allies anew and around the world.

Thus, nothing remains of the goals that President Bush announced less than twenty years ago. To hunt down the real culprits of 9/11, there was no need for wars started by the USA, as the elimination of Osama bin Laden has shown. It is very likely that governments with which the U.S. is friendly are also behind dubious plots against the Americans, just as the Americans once created the Taliban to pit them against the Soviets. It is inconceivable.

The ones who suffer are always the innocent. Large parts of the Afghan people have believed the grandiose announcements of democracy and prosperity and are now suffering the revenge of the Taliban, while the West abandons its promises and cowardly runs away.

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