Synopsis of Afghan War and Consequences

The Big Picture

Jimmy Carter the good Christian in 1979 started a policy in Afghanistan that birthed Islamic Extremism and worldwide destabilization that still continues to this day.  Jimmy Carter and his National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski funded (over a USD billion) and armed mujaheddin (jihadists) who would later become the Taliban. (Operation Cyclone)

Fast forward to 2001, Carter’s chickens hatched into the attacks on the U.S on September 11, 2001.  Not much different from the Indian Indira Gandhi trained and funded LTTE attacking the Indian Army and assassinating her son Rajiv Gandhi, the PM of India.

Then the next round started with George Bush bombing Afghanistan, while 9 of the 9/11 suicide terrorist were from Saudi Arabia. That was the war on Terror and axis of Evil, and much like the war on Drugs just keeps giving and giving (more on that later)

Carter’s Afghan war lead to the destruction of that developing nation.  Afghan women were launched back into the future of the 13th century, and the war killed over a million Afghan men, women and children. For over forty years Afghanistan has been a humanitarian disaster. Between 562,000 and 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees.

If one reads most Western Media, Head Chopper Taliban and other Islamic groups are considered barbaric. Really, so bombs dropped on Wedding groups, women and children and similar is not barbaric. The lucky ones die instantly, some other have hours or days of trauma with half their body parts whereever. The really unlucky ones manage to survive, with mind and body barely functional.  US war veterans are begging on the streets are spat on and referred to by “armchair warriors” as “fxxxing losers”. (30,177 U.S. veterans post-9/11 wars have died by suicide).

All these US wars were sold to the US public as the need to promote Democracy, Human Rights, Womens Rights (and in Carters time Capitalism).  It was basically a “Look There” to the US public while the MIC (Military Industry Complex a term coined by President Eisenhower) stole trillions. Wall Street made out like bandits too with Obomba and Trump bail outs. The smoke and mirror propaganda is falling apart, in the US and all over the world, courtesy the  Covid Pandemic and US defeat by a rag tag, flip flop wearing group.

The Numbers for Afghan War and Comparison with Vietnam

The take home points of comparison of Afghan War with Vietnam
a)  Afghan war cost was double that of Vietnam War (in todays dollars).
b) Vietnam war had 20 times US service death, i.e. boots on the ground, indicative of a determination to win.
c) Much less civilian deaths in Afghan War (approx 50 times less).  Dropping bombs for sake of expending ammunition.?

Economic Bottom Line: US has 23 Trillion in Debt,   thats a 107% Debt/GDP.


The whole reason for US being in Afghanistan was to siphon off US tax payer money.  A huge portion of the 2.2 Trillion spent.
Sold to US taxpayer as Nation Building, Womens Rights the works.
Just some 2500+ US combat deaths much much less than in Vietnam (58,000+). Too many deaths and the US public would be against the war.

Like Christianity and Civilize the Savages,  Democracy, Human Rights are just smoke and mirrors to loot from the invaded country.   However, to loot natural resources takes time and investment, and no guarantees of very profitable returns (exception Libya; instant return, the 140 tonnes of Gold was whisked away).

For the kleptocrat mentality (MIC and Wall Street) the looting of natural resources is too long a time frame. So someone figured out, much easier to steal from US public.

a) Start a war,
b) Fund with debt
c) Skim huge percentage on weapons, development programs.
d) Drop plenty of bombs to justify purchase of more.
d) Make sure casualties are low so public wont be against war.

The Brits were much better at “resource extraction” with their colonialism.   Created a brown nose class to keep the natives in check.  Built infrastructure, eg railways and “exported” natural resources back to Britain.  However, that took a good hundred years.

Wrapping it up

Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. (Orwell 1984)

This has been the biggest wealth transfer from the middle class and blue collar to the 1% and the 10%. What will happen when the tide recedes and those earning less than 60K/year find out they have been lied to, specially the MAGA crowd.

So whats next

a) The prediction of the graveyard of Empires ?
b) What form will it take, eg end of Capitalism.
c) US image as a moral leader and indispensable nation
d) US image as the foremost military power

For those who want to delve into the esoteric, this is movement of Pluto into Capricorn, that last happened around 1776. (eg Turning Point: The United States’ Pluto Return interesting history too, eg repatriation of 400K Mexican Americans around 1933).

Finally: These are not my brilliant insights. Much like Newton said, stand on shoulders of Giants. Just been reading since about 2005, Matt Tabbibi, Matt Stoller. Specially Satyajit Das and Raguram Ranjan who gave me insight into Derivatives.

Costs of the Afghanistan war, in lives and dollars

Note: Over 30,177 U.S. service members and veterans of the post-9/11 wars have died by suicide.

From the War Nerd
The wonderful thing about this kind of spending, in the deeply corrupt lobbyist world of DC, is that it shunts tax dollars directly to the stockholders, connected military firms like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, et al., legislators, military brass milking the DoD/corporate link, and even lowly CIA contractors like Johnny Spann —without angering a single taxpayer or benefiting them in any way.
And so, rather than upset their fellow shareholders, GWB, then Obama and Trump, just nodded and smiled at the conveyor-belt of $100 bills.  The beauty is the corruption in the US system. Book deals, Speaker fees all legal. Just many ways of laundering bribes.

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I am 3/4ths Sri Lankan (Jaffna) Tamil, 1/8th Sinhalese and 1/8th Irish; a proper mutt. Maternal: Grandfather a Govt Surveyor married my grandmother of Sinhalese/Irish descent from the deep south, in the early 1900’s. They lived in the deep South, are generally considered Sinhalese and look Eurasian (common among upper class Sinhalese). They were Anglicans (Church of England), became Evangelical Christians (AOG) in 1940's, and built the first Evangelical church in the South. Paternal: Sri Lanka (Jaffna Tamil). Paternal ancestors converted to Catholicism during Portuguese rule (1500's), went back to being Hindu and then became Methodists (and Anglicans) around 1850 (ggfather). They were Administrators and translators to the British, poets and writers in Tamil and English. Grandfathers sister was the first female Tamil novelist of modern times I was brought up as an Evangelical even attending Bible study till about the age of 13. Agnostic and later atheist. I studied in Sinhala, did a Bachelor in Chemistry and Physics in Sri Lanka. Then did Oceanography graduate stuff and research in the US. I am about 60 years old, no kids, widower. Sri Lankan citizen (no dual) and been back in SL since 2012. Live in small village near a National Park, run a very small budget guest house and try to do some agriculture that can survive the Elephants, monkeys and wild boar incursions. I am not really anonymous, a little digging and you can find my identity.

24 thoughts on “Synopsis of Afghan War and Consequences”

  1. // Note: Over 30,177 U.S. service members and veterans of the post-9/11 wars have died by suicide. //

    This is absolutely insane. The source appears credible but its hard to believe.

    1. As a resident, I work at a VA. Trust me. It’s very believable. Female veterans have been through even more on average. Don’t get me started on that…

      1. Dang, heartbreaking.. This aligns with what I hear from friends in the military, also with regard to sexual harassment, but the suicide numbers are staggering. I mean, we’ve know this since Vietnam, the sheer number of vets living on the streets up through the 80s and early 90s because of ptsd and mental illness.

        1. Enough male soldiers were raped by other male soldiers in Vietnam. Stuff you here is shocking. But the army is like prison in a lot of ways.

  2. The 2 trillion USD cost of the Afghan War is spread over 20 years. 100 billion per fiscal year is not excessive for the Eurasian theatre.

    Consider that the US has cumulatively spent 7trillion USD on NATO since it’s setup. For what??

    The flex on India/LTTE is also a misfit. LTTE killed an ex- Prime Minister. Hardly anything on the scale of 9/11.

    Indira Gandhi’s calculation was to keep out the DMK by pandering to MGR’s request for competitive Tamil sub-nationalism.

    Wars are born from tactical or strategic compulsions. A honest war is a good thing. It enables the measurement of societal rhetoric against its ability to absorb pain.

    The American public was fully behind Bush Jr when he launched the Afghan War before 20 years. Who ever objected?

    After wars are over, the victors have to count the costs. The Taliban will find out that they are terrible at administration (again). The Sri Lankan govt is lurching from one political power struggle to another ever since 2009.

    The US mil complex will find a new foe. Who? Maybe an internal one??

    1. “The flex on India/LTTE is also a misfit. LTTE killed an ex- Prime Minister. Hardly anything on the scale of 9/11.”

      Agree. Even when the ‘war’ was ongoing hardly anyone in India knew or cared about anyway. It was like what happens in N-East or Kashmir on daily basis. For rest of India outside of TN it was like Tamils VS folks who also look like tamils.

          1. Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils (North and East) are closer to each other compared to Tamils in India. Old reference, will look if interested.

    2. I can bet that there will not be any meaningful reduction in American defense budget. The soldiers chilling out in Doha will still cost about the same money.

      I read somewhere that keeping one American soldier on the ground in Afghanistan costs one million USD/year in logistics, overheads, administration…

      Just buying (not using) one tomahawk costs ~ 1.5 million USD, F-15s cost 25K/hour to operate, even non-deployed pilots train ~200 hours/year i.e., 5 million USD per pilot/per-year without including the cost of deploying into Afghanistan and flying more hours.

      Even at it’s best, American military is unbearably costly to sustain.

      It is not just them who are wasteful though, German Army is a fucking joke, Canadian Navy is joke and so are the Australian Navy in their ‘Atmanirbhar Australia submarine building’. Militaries are uniquely susceptible to stupidity.

      1. And the less said abt Indian army the better, which wants the besssstesst missiles on top of the liggggghtest planes, which should have like gazillion gadgets where they could just tap buttons from Ambala and hit targets in Peshawar or Beijing or something…

        And of course all this on the GDP per capita of $2000. Fucking joke.

    3. The 2 trillion USD cost of the Afghan War is spread over 20 years. 100 billion per fiscal year is not excessive for the Eurasian theatre.

      2 Trillion would not be excessive. It was debt funded and GDP/debt is now 107%.

      With a trillion dollars invested in Eurasia and another trillion in Africa, China is engaged in nothing less than history’s largest infrastructure project. It’s crisscrossing those three continents with rails and pipelines, building naval bases around the southern rim of Asia, and ringing the whole tricontinental world island with a string of 40 major commercial ports.

      China is acting like a Venture Capital Fund. Some of their investments are going fizzle out, others pay out many times over and some in between. So overall they will have a return.

      In comparison the US wars are just expense, even worse debt funded.

  3. Wondering if the hasty retreat from Afghanistan was because the US could non longer pay for the war (or raise debt).

    And while the Treasury Department continues to play it cool, saying it has no plan to sort through which payments it would prioritize in case of a default, and which U.S. government obligations it would set aside once it exhausts measures to avoid breaching the federal debt limit,

    Prioritize Debt Payments: eg Not Pay China and Japan (Sovereign default) versus not paying Social Security recipients (political suicide)

  4. One would hope that this would lead to some soul searching in the US but that would be a fool’s hope. Unlike countries like India or Israel which are forced to spend billions on arms and defence due to being surrounded by hostile neighbours, the US is surrounded by oceans and friendly states on all sides.

    Serious qn – what real benefit does stationing thousands of troops, bases, aircraft carriers, etc. all over the world bring to their economy or the average citizen? I wonder if there’s a cost-benefit analysis done on this, would be really interested to know. The various European empires of the past brought in untold riches to their coffers at the expense of people everywhere else, is the American empire worth maintaining?

    1. Siddarth, at best it keeps the dollar from collapsing. The value of that to an ordinary citizen is not clear. Every single advanced nation rebounded from the 20th century world wars and exceeded their previous economic standards from what I can tell (with or without a marshall plan). Less affected and less talented countries like Argentina still managed to decline. I believe the US could recover from economic trauma caused by letting its bubble burst. But that would require turning towards local support networks and family for a period of rebuilding. The folks who love the welfare state fear this as much as corporatist dems and republicans.
      On another note, I don’t think nations and citizenships matter much in this analysis. Afghan pullout made it clear that the evacuation of VIP collaborators mattered more than our private citizens let alone our allies. This isn’t a surprise and I’d say that your corporate ID card matters more than a passport. Indian employee of Bain & Co > non-affiiated US passport holder in terms of who is recieving consular assistance.

      1. Many of the “Americans” who were left behind were Afghan Americans. When push comes to shove when there is trouble, the pecking order is “white americans” >”African Americans” > “Brown Americans”. The African Americans better be not too ethnic looking, or they will be a pushed to end of line.

        Regards all those Afghan “Interpreters” left behind, many or most supposed to be Paramilitary, i.e. death squads. We had those in SL during 87-89 on both sides govt and JVP, Black Cats and Green Cats.

        During the war against the LTTE, towards the latter stages of the war, there were military operating behind the lines. Intelligence as they call it. They were judge, jury and executioner. Knew one, from my school but about 10 years younger.

    2. // The various European empires of the past brought in untold riches to their coffers at the expense of people everywhere else, is the American empire worth maintaining?//

      It maintains the status of theUS dollar as the world’s reserve currency, effectively giving the US the carte blanche to print its way out of every recession. It also maintains the dominance of American corporations by securing global supply chains, exporting their own excess capital to be deployed in other countries to create wealth (mostly for themselves, but sometimes its mutual).

      1. Thanks girmit, Qureshi.
        I hadn’t realised that the global $ is propped up by guns and hard power – makes sense when you think about it

    3. I have heard the argument that a lot of colonies (especially in Africa) didn’t generate a profit and maintaining them was more about prestige than anything else. The resources angle also doesn’t make sense to me. If people were willing to sell slaves a few centuries ago , there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t have also sold minerals without being conquered by Europeans ( colonialism was bad but it (19th century kind) isn’t the reason for Europe’s rise is my belief)

  5. I actually think that it has lead to soul searching in US, and focusing on their real competitor. Both the wars where angst of a super power and they wanted to maintain the pretence, that they kept on throwing money to fix an unfixable problem. This situation is very similar to countries like India where we keep throwing good money after bad money to keep something afloat, because no politican has the requsite political capital to cut his losses and incur the wrath of the electorate.

    Even the Afghanistan pullout had to be handled by two presidents. Now with Afghanistan out of the way, i see the trajectory being up.

  6. Sbbarkum,

    In general, I loved your article. It forced me to think in differing ways, which I appreciate.

    However, there weren’t 9 hijackers from Saudi Arabia. According to Wikipedia:

    “The hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda. They hailed from four countries; fifteen of them were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Lebanon, and one from Egypt.”

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