No Western politician is even trying to claim that the 13-year long war and occupation in Afghanistan was a great victory.
They know they wouldn’t get away with it. The military couldn’t even announce the flag lowering ceremony in Helmand province in advance because they couldn’t guarantee its security.
It took place in Camp Bastion, which had been a base of 40,000 British troops at the occupation’s height.
Yet the Taliban is on the offensive and so even the heart of what had been the West’s intervention is not secure.
The new war in Iraq makes claims of “mission accomplished” there ring even more hollow than they did when George W Bush claimed it in May 2003.
These wars had a terrible human cost, with often the poorest and most vulnerable paying the highest price.
Yet it seems that the constant wars aren’t logical even for our own rulers, who appear to gain little for their own interests.
The war aims in Afghanistan shifted several times.
We were told it was to go after the Taliban who the West claimed had sheltered al Qaida after the 9/11 attacks on the US.
Then Laura Bush and Cherie Blair went on the stump to win us to the idea that the war was to bring women’s liberation.
The ending of heroin poppy production was also thrown in as a reason for the war—it is now at an all time high.
Now the Western powers just want to get out the back door and leave Afghan people to their fate. Concern for their lives and futures were never the motivation for the warmongers.
Instead, imperialist wars are a product of a system of relentless capitalist competition.This can force our rulers to take action that seems to contradict their immediate interests.
They can’t afford to go to war, but sometimes they decide they can’t afford not to go to war either.
The Western powers, and in particular the biggest of those the US, want to maintain their position as the global players that other smaller states have to defer to.
They want to dominate trading agreements and keep profitable resources under their control. They want foreign powers to look to them for protection in return for allowing the imperialists free rein in their affairs.
The ruling classes in the US and Britain were not enthusiastic about becoming embroiled in yet another war in Iraq.
But eventually they intervened—not to help the Kurds or Yazidi people, but because a key client regime risked collapse and that would have made them appear weak.
We need to oppose the imperialists’ wars.
But to end them we will have to fight to bring down the system that breeds them.