Why we should pull out of Afghanistan now

There can be no stronger argument for our withdrawal from combat (along with Netherlands and Canada) than this arrogant martial nonsense from Malcolm Turnbull on the ABC “Q&A” program on 21 June

“We are in a war, a global war against terror, and the battle in Afghanistan is the front line, so we have a vital interest in winning that battle, and the mission that Australia has and our allies have there, is to create the space that will enable the Afghan nation to put in place its own security forces and take over the job of managing the security and peace for that country, so that’s the exit strategy, Graham. The exit strategy is to ensure that the Afghan state is strong enough and secure enough to take over the job. That being done, then the foreign forces can leave.”

The echoes here of the horrifying, pointless American/Australian war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s are too loud and too precise to ignore.

Then we were fighting the chimeric threat of monolithic ‘world communism’; now, the non-existent threat of global islamic terrorism. (How does Turnbull account for the funding of the Taliban’s war? Does he see what we have created by meddling for four or five decades in Afghanistan and Pakistan only to turn against former allies-of-convenience in a form of anti-nationalist crusade? Inevitably an affront to muslims everywhere; by no means in Afghanistan alone).

Then, in the 1960s, we were told to fear that the ‘dominoes’ of South East Asia would collapse to crush our fragile Western outpost; now it’s Pakistan, (for goodness sake) that we fear will be ‘lost’. As if that mulit-ethnic crazy-quilt of energy, aspiration and incompetent government were some jewel of the Western crown (when, in reality, it is a paste-work long-ago shattered by US interference).

Then, through more than a decade we enthusiastically slaughtered Vietnamese of all ages and genders to create a space for “democracy”; now we’re remotely rocketing villages, ploughing the desert with bombs and machine-gunning marriage processions to prop up an erratic, ineffective and thoroughly corrupted Karzai administration (read that NY Times portrait and try pretend that you want Australian kids to be smashed up and to die securing that man’s power).

Today, we sit in front of our LED TVs’, thirty years after our battle against the unstoppable forces of Vietnamese nationalism—maddened, ideological, vicious nationalism; call it any names you like— brought bitter and useless loss to that country and to ourselves, only to hear the identical blithering, come-what-may, pseudo-strategic idiocy from another generation of political patricians.

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