American Psychosis

Pray never to be ‘liberated’ by the United States of America. Politicians there have quite a different image of ‘freedom’ than yours. Like the nasty philosophy of Ayn Rand, the Russian-born novelist who gave so many Stateside politicians a fig leaf for being egotistical, selfish, and greedy, American ‘liberation’ is half-baked, morally repugnant, and cynically self-serving. It is the ‘freedom’ to be exploited.

In Afghanistan, after two decades of corruption and chaos, drone attacks and door-kicking and cold-blooded executions, the Taliban gliding back into power. For the entirety of their occupation, Washington turned a blind eye to gross abuses of power and position by the government they installed. Just as in Viet Nam, they’re running away and leaving an unholy mess, with more than three million internally displace people. They still can’t win a war, and Afghan irregulars have once again defeated a superpower (two down, none to go). Do locals feel grateful that The President chose their distant country as a locus for weapons system testing? Seemingly not.

The Afghan government is so criminally inept that its expensively equipped regular soldiers are as redundant as Joe Biden’s dog walker. Trained at vast expense by American and British officers who won hearts and minds with seminars on topics such as personal hygiene, Afghan soldiers are as sick as everyone else of the destruction. Rather than fight the Taliban, they run away as fast as their legs can carry them. It seems that all those infantry training manuals expensively translated into Pashtun and Dari and Tajik omitted the importance of ‘having something to fight for’.

Establishing a government with a monopoly of violence was the one key aim of the occupation, so the latest wheeze of rearming the warlords must be counted a retrograde step. These are the same tribal militias expensively bribed with Yankee dollars to disband not so many months ago. Now they are being ‘re-bribed’, as it were, to fend off the Taliban. Where are the ANA’s 200,000 men, funded to the tune of $4bn a year from the imperial treasury? ‘Overstretched’, we’re told, despite repeated assurances from as early as ten years ago that the ANA is ‘finally a fighting force’ which can handle these bearded amateurs on their own.

The United States is not a force for good, or anything like it. It is not a benign actor on the world stage. It is a huge baby with a hammer looking for things to smash. And like a baby, it will show you the broken pieces from its latest fit of violence and tell you how much of an improvement it is on what went before. This seemingly endless capacity for self-delusion, an essential part of America’s mythology, means that while much of the rest of the world sees the United States for what it is, a deranged imperialist baby with a hammer wandering loose in the world, at home criticism of the military is completely taboo, despite the U.S.’s multiple war crimes over the years.

John Clamp writes for Maqshosh.