The drone strike in Kabul, killing 10 civilians, including 7 children, was a “mistake,” the so-called global superpower has timidly admitted. âThe targeted vehicle was probably not a threat associated with ISIS-Kâ¦ it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apologies,â Frank McKenzie, the chief general of US Central Command, told the Pentagon.
This may be an acceptable explanation for those “liberal” people who ideologically oppose the Islamists and theoretically support the modernization thesis and revere America as the beacon and guardian of liberal international order.
For the media and columnists, this may be a new opportunity – a blessing in disguise – to have something fresh and solid to slam the expansionist empire of our time. But for those who are skeptical of the current world order and popular rhetoric, now is the time to expose the masked and intelligent enemy.
In this essay, I attempt to present a case against the common enemy Americans, Pakistanis and Afghans. In the first part, I talk about identifying “the enemy”. My contention is that without knowing our common enemy, all criticism will remain misdirected. Part Two highlights America’s sins in Afghanistan.
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What was the human cost of America’s longest war? In the last part, I discuss the role of “America” ââwithin America. Why has the country failed to create sustainable socio-economic institutions? Finally, I maintain that those who failed the Afghans unfortunately failed the Americans. Therefore, the struggle of all men and women in the United States and other parts of the world should be against the common enemy.
Meet the enemy
My professor of international relations, Dr. Latha Varadarajan, better known as Professor V, at San Diego State University, recently advised me to define my terms and be specific when I say “l ‘America bombed the Muslims’.
“What do you mean America? âshe asked smiling.
This may seem like an academic question to some political commentators, but after deliberation it becomes one of the most important points to get our attention before any discussion of imperialist and expansionist US foreign policy. Unless we define our “enemy”, we will simply beat the bush disguised as serious and critical analysis.
Natsu Taylor Saito, professor of law at Georgia State University’s College of Law in Atlanta, has written an insightful book titled Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law in 2010. Saito argues that American hegemony is due to the fact that it controls “an extremely disproportionate share of the world’s wealth and resources.” She then explains who is the beneficiary of this enormous disproportion of wealth. There are 500 billionaires around the world who own more wealth and resources than the rest of the population, and, unsurprisingly, half of them are Americans.
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Interestingly, the presence of billionaires has not produced lasting social, political, or economic institutions for the well-being of the public. Notably, the richest 1% of the population âcontrol between 33% and 40% of the country’s wealth and receive more after-tax income than the poorest 40% of the population combinedâ. According to a report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “30 million people in the United States go hungry, including 12 million children, and an estimated 750,000 Americans are homeless every night.”
Afghanistan War: Whose War Anyway?
At the end of the longest war of the American ruling elite, it is essential to take a look at the human cost of this imperialist militarism and this relentless desire to occupy foreign territory. Data collected by Linda Bilmes of the Kennedy School at Harvard University and the Brown University Costs of War Project reveals that 2,448 US servicemen, 3,846 US contractors, 66,000 Afghan servicemen and police, 1,144 other Allied servicemen, and NATO members, 47, 245 Afghan civilians, 51, 191 Taliban fighters, 444 aid workers and 72 journalists were killed in this war.
After destroying a country’s social, political and economic institutions, US President Joe Biden on July 21, 2021: âWe did not go to Afghanistan to build a nation. And it is the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country. This assured pride should be embarrassing to every person in America’s ruling elite, their civil society, think tanks, and academics.
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It must be said without a doubt that the American ruling elite and hawkish corporations are the direct beneficiaries of American interventionist policies. The war serves the interests of the American ruling elite, not the American working class. The state of the American working class is not much different from that of members of the same class in any other capitalist country.
Beyond the law people
The murder of 7 children in Afghanistan should lead us to the foundations of this debate. Why is America using drone technology? US officers and pro-establishment academics have always maintained that technology is still useful in dealing with the element and that “few civilians have been killed” as a result of drone strikes. The debate therefore remained on the dead: militants or civilians. There has been a deliberate reluctance to question the moral and legal basis for drone strikes.
According to the New America Foundation report, the United States launched a total of 409 of which 3,096 people were killed. 2,533 activists, 288 civilians and 275 were unknown among the dead. These strikes seriously violated basic human rights, Pakistan’s sovereignty and basic legal standards. It is not yet clear what America has gained from these attacks, but what it has lost because of this selfishness and arrogance is irreversible. On top of that, Professor Saito notes, it is America’s inability to participate effectively in the international system for its proper functioning.
Guantanamo: an ugly face of American exceptionalism
Nazi Germany established over 44,000 concentration camps between 1933 and 1945 with the idea of ââusing them for forced labor and mass murder. These torture cells are remembered as the greatest crimes against humanity. The conscience of those who have participated in any way in this human tragedy will never find peace. My worst fear, however, is that the tragedy created by Nazi Germany will also be, at least in substance, if not in scope, repeated by capitalist America.
Almost 20 years ago, the United States established a torture cell, the American concentration camp, at Guantanamo. A place where no moral or legal standard exists. A place where civilization dies. A place beyond the imagination of any normal human being. A place beyond the reach of the most powerful court in the world, the Supreme Court of the United States. A place that preserves America’s ugly face.
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According to Al Jazeera’s latest report, at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, “US constitutional due process protections do not apply, which allows the government to keep secret evidence derived from torture and to detain inmates indefinitely â. It should deeply shake us to read that “lawyers representing detainees are required to enter into non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from publicly describing the torture suffered by their clients.”
Will Durant, an American historian and scholar, pleaded for India to expose the atrocities of the British committed against the Indians. Durant called this “scene of atrocities, rapacity and looting” as “the greatest crime in history.” If he had been alive, what would have been said of “America” ââfor its crimes in Afghanistan and America?
Fight the common enemy
If an Afghan or Pakistani thinks American students, doctors, engineers and social workers are responsible for the instability in their country, they are wrong. Those who looted and exploited the Afghans also controlled and exploited the Americans. For the exploiters, communities or their identities are insignificant, only the maximization of wealth matters. The exploiters – the American ruling elite following an expansionist and imperialist agenda – are responsible for all the tragedies in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They are the authors of a human tragedy that is unfolding in Guantanamo Bay.
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Karl Marx noted long ago that it is the proletariat that can revolt against the bourgeoisie, but the only challenge is that “they lack conscience”. How long will this lack of awareness persist? There is no exact answer to this complex question, but the process has already started. The process should be dynamic and stimulating, as Professor V notes that “knowledge is uncomfortable, only ignorance is comfortable”. The process of self-discovery and revolt against the common enemy will not be easy.
Farah Adeed studies political science at San Diego State University, California, United States. He previously worked as an associate editor at GVS. He can be followed @farah_adeed on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.