by Jon Lee Anderson published in The New Yorker
Read original on The New Yorker's website
As the United States removes all troops from Afgha...Show description
Posted 592 days ago
The Taliban have rendered Afghanistan unworkable as a country; unworkable, that is, without them. And the truth is that they were never really beaten. They merely did what guerrillas do in order to survive: they melted away in the face of overwhelming force, regrouped and restored themselves to fighting strength, and returned to battle. Here they are.
I'm not sure how to approach Anderson's conclusion. On one hand, there is a part of us that laments the turn away from democracy and certain rights associated with Western countries. On the other, it's clear that the US must stop interfering no matter what. We have stepped and blundered and blundered and destroyed lives and families in Afghanistan (and a number of these sorts of wars), and to Anderson's point, we barely remember anything about it.
In war, as in life, perhaps, people and places can become briefly and often intensely familiar, only to be discarded from memory when their apparent relevance has ceased.
The world, and the US more pointedly, must now be a spectator. We may not agree with whatever becomes of the government or the people, but that is not up to us to judge. We have made our irreversible mistakes and now watch in silence.
Anderson says this will define Biden's presidency. That may or may not be the case, I'm not entirely sure. It'll surely be a talking point for awhile, but I think the American retreat, militarily, from the international community will continue, as the population wants no more of this.