I want to share the perspectives on Afghanistan by two Blue America-endorsed candidates-- one for Senate and one for House-- who have had some experience outside of the U.S. Missouri progressive Lucas Kunce is a former frontline U.S. Marine running for the open Senate seat in his state.
This morning, he told his followers that "Some politicians are telling us now isn't the time to speak frankly about Afghanistan. I'm not surprised. For decades, elites told the American people we were winning this war. Later, they told us while Iraq was wrong, Afghanistan was the war worth fighting. They told us it was worth the lives, worth the money, worth the time. It was all lies.
Serving there-- and what I saw when I came home-- factored heavily in my decision to run for U.S. Senate here in Missouri.
I’ve always said one of the hardest parts of my deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan was coming home to my old neighborhood in Cole County, Missouri. Empty lots, abandoned buildings, a gutted Midwest. Our own communities look like battlefields after decades of economic warfare waged by corrupt politicians and massive corporations.
They spent $6.4 trillion in taxpayer dollars sending soldiers like me out to fight on a doomed mission to build up someone else's country-- because they thought it made them look strong. Then they turned around and told us we can’t "afford" nation-building right here at home.
It’s time for this broken status quo to come to an end. We can’t let the same crooks and liars who got us into these pointless wars continue calling the shots in Congress. That’s why I’m running for U.S. Senate in Missouri. It’s time for a people-powered movement to fight back.
Together, we’re going to end these pointless wars and invest in our own communities.
Shervin Aazami was born in Italy, the son of Iranian asylum seekers who fled religious persecution and found refuge in America when Shervin was 4. He's running for a San Fernando Valley House seat occupied by a do-nothing status quo Democrat, Brad Sherman. Shervin says it's been "very painful watching the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Something like 400,000 Afghans have been displaced this year, as the futility of 20 years of U.S. imperialism & military occupation are laid bare."
He has reminded his supporters that the 2001 AUMF against Afghanistan was enacted in the wake of 9/11 and he asks "trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of Afghan civilian deaths, and around 2,500 American military deaths later, what have we gained? The answer is more destabilization, less peace, & greater terror... 20 years of 'nation-building' have been an abject failure in reducing the presence, power, or potential of the Taliban."
He continued that "Tactical errors and diplomatic breakdowns, combined with continued obfuscation of the inconvenient truth on the ground in Afghanistan undergird why the U.S. was caught by 'surprise' with how quickly the Taliban mobilized to overpower Afghan forces. Our war on drugs in Afghanistan has also been a colossal failure. Despite over $8 billion bombing Afghan opium fields, the Taliban's cultivation efforts have only risen since 2001, from 74,000 hectares to 328,000 in 2017. 90% of the world's heroin is still produced in Afghanistan.
"Our protracted wars in the Middle East," he wrote "were pursued under the guise of protecting human rights and U.S. national security. The bitter reality is that these endless wars have only been in service to our avaricious military-industrial complex and the goals of petro-imperialism. We are leaving Afghans in a state of demoralization, abject poverty and extreme violence. As the Taliban brutalize women and children with utter impunity, it would be the height of immorality for the U.S. to not offer full asylum for the Afghan people. Biden must work with Congress to ensure our asylum systems are fully funded and staffed. While Canada has pledged taking at least 20,000 Afghan refugees, the U.S. has committed to only several thousand and is trying to muscle allies to take more refugees."
"My one hope," he concluded, "is that this devastating crisis will trigger a massive domestic anti-war effort and lasting movement towards dismantling America's sordid legacy of pro-capitalist imperialism. Bombing a country into democracy is a sick lie. There's never justification for it. We need a new foreign policy grounded in real diplomacy, fostering of human rights, mutual respect, and protection of public health. That can only be achieved by divesting from the U.S. war machine. This must be our moment for structural change."