Operation Enduring Freedom

As Rumi said, if you want to know how the world works, observe the Chinese. Moreover, China’s impressive economic and social development over the course of a little more than four decades could not have worked had the Chinese been held captive by the culture of corruption and warmongering that Washington exported to places like Afghanistan and Iraq over the course of the last two decades.

The posterchild of the “Democracy and Human Rights” that Washington supposedly exported to Afghanistan over the course of the last two decades is Hamid Karzai. When I was a student, I was invited by the Afghan Embassy in Washington to attend a speech that Karzai gave at Georgetown University in 2013. After his speech, Karzai opened up to a Q&A session for the audience. One of the those in the audience who asked Karzai a question was an American soldier who was once deployed to Afghanistan. The American soldier was furious at Karzai, and he accused Karzai of perpetuating the corruption that was fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan. Karzai responded to the American soldier furiously, first by saying that no one invited America to Afghanistan, and that America forced itself into Afghanistan. Second, Karzai said that corruption in Afghanistan is a culture that was brought into Afghanistan by America. Corruption and warmongering in Afghanistan did not appear out of the blue. Rather, the culture of “contracting” and thus corruption and warmongering was a culture that Washington exported to Afghanistan.

But in all fairness, the American soldier was justified in his fury towards Karzai. Of all the Afghans in the world who could have replaced the Taliban in 2001, the United States chose Karzai. During a guest lecture in a course I took on Afghanistan while I was in grad school, an American think tanker who often travelled to Kabul and met with Taliban commanders told us that he interviewed a number of Taliban commanders and asked them what fueled their drive to fight the Afghan government and foreign soldiers. Their answer was that the Taliban were willing to make peace and work with anyone but Karzai. But out of sheer impudence and insolence, Washington replaced Karzai with Ashraf Ghani, who took Karzai’s corruption towards another level and rhythm.

Before 2001, Karzai was a secretary for one of the seven or eight Afghan groups based in Peshawar, Pakistan who resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Karzai was handpicked to replace the Taliban by America’s ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlin. The Karzai clan is known to be one of the most corrupt and slimy clans and families in Afghanistan. As a student, when I encountered Michael O’Hanlon – a former CIA agent who specialized in Afghanistan – I asked him why America chose Karzai out of the 35 or 40 million Afghans who exist on Planet Earth. His response was: “Was there anyone else?” That response and question signifies more than anything the denial of reality, irrationality, and senselessness that prevailed in Washington over the course of the last two decades, and has undoubtedly persisted to this very present moment.

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