Now Is the Time to Be Angry, Remembering Forgotten Afghanistan | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Now Is the Time to Be Angry, Remembering Forgotten Afghanistan

Ann Jones began her remarkable book Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan this way: "I went to Afghanistan after the bombing stopped. Somehow, I felt obliged to help pick up the pieces. I was a New Yorker who had always lived downtown, and for a long time after the towers fell I experienced moments when I couldn’t get my bearings… Four thousand collateral civilian deaths in Kabul brought no consolation for the death of thousands from around the world in the fallen towers of the city that had so long been my home. I thought America had lost its bearing, too. So I left."

Fortunately, in all these years since, Jones, a TomDispatch regular who grimly tracked the American casualties of that war home from the battlefield in her now-classic book They Were Soldiers, has never lost her bearings. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to know, in fact, that she began her very first piece for this site back in 2006 this way: "Remember when peaceful, democratic, reconstructed Afghanistan was advertised as the exemplar for the extreme makeover of Iraq? In August 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was already proclaiming the new Afghanistan ‘a breathtaking accomplishment’ and ‘a successful model of what could happen to Iraq.’ As everybody now knows, the model isn’t working in Iraq. So, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s not working in Afghanistan either. The story of success in Afghanistan was always more fairy tale than fact – one scam used to sell another."

And sadly enough, that scam Jones saw so clearly then was still a scam in August 2021 when the U.S. chaotically withdrew from Kabul, leaving the Taliban (only faintly) in control of the city and the rest of the country. Back in 2006, she had, ominously enough, titled the last section of that first TomDispatch piece of hers, "The Road to Taliban Land" and while she was indeed talking about a literal road, she also saw, even then, just where this country’s disastrous first war of the twenty-first century was leading. And lead it did. Today, she returns to Afghanistan in her own fashion to think over just what really happened there. Brace yourself. Tom