Thinking of Enlisting? Read This Afghan War-Inspired Warning Label First
Though the war in Afghanistan is over, its grim history is filled with hard truths about what it really means to serve in the American military.
Those truths are particularly relevant to anyone contemplating enlistment or commissioning in the armed forces. With that in mind, here’s a warning label informed by the grim lessons of Operation Enduring Freedom—the failed and futile 20-year war in Afghanistan.
YOU COULD LOSE YOUR LIFE OR LIMBS IN A WAR THAT ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING
After 9/11, the U.S. government was right to lash out at Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. However, that mission was largely accomplished by the end of 2001. As Scott Horton wrote in Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, within three months of 9/11, “there were not enough (al Qaeda) left alive to fill a seventeenth-century pirate ship.”
The balance of the war was a futile effort to replace the Taliban with a government more palatable to western powers. Today, after more than 2,400 U.S. service members were killed and more than 20,000 wounded, Afghanistan is ruled by the Taliban, just as it was two decades years ago.
YOU MAY HAVE TO FIGHT ENEMIES CREATED BY YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT
Al Qaeda and the Taliban can be traced directly to a 1979 CIA operation, conceived by national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and approved by President Carter, that provided aid to opponents of Afghanistan’s then-pro-Soviet government, in hopes of drawing the USSR into a protracted, hopeless war.
As I wrote in a pointed 2017 Brzezinski obituary, “the Carter and Reagan administrations, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, funded, organized, transported, armed and trained Salafist extremists to fight the Red Army in a holy war on behalf of Islam. Among those who joined the cause were future al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.”
“The enduring global impact of this 10-year program bears emphasis: The CIA and Saudi GID recruited jihadists from all around the Muslim world, creating relationships and networks that would evolve into not only al Qaeda, but also ISIS and many other Salafist terrorist groups across several continents.”
YOU MAY BE ORDERED TO TOLERATE PEDOPHILIA
A disturbing, centuries-old Afghan custom called bacha bazi (“boy play”) frequently involves the enslavement and sexual abuse of young boys. In the 1990’s, the Taliban government outlawed it. Under the U.S.-sponsored government, however, it was not only tolerated, but was often practiced by Afghan officers within nightly earshot of U.S. service members.
Veterans say superiors told them to ignore the sickening crimes. One of them, former Special Forces captain Dan Quinn, told the New York Times, “We were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did.”
RECKLESS WASTE MANAGEMENT COULD KILL YOU, YEARS AFTER YOUR SERVICE IS COMPLETE
The U.S. military is regularly billed as a modern fighting force. However, when it came to disposing of vast amounts of waste in Afghanistan and Iraq, military commanders chose a decidedly medieval method.
In both theaters of operation, the military piled everything from batteries and Styrofoam to human body parts, paint, chemicals, fuel, electronics, medical waste and plastic in enormous, open-air pits and simply set it on fire, often using jet or diesel fuel as an accelerant.
In a phenomenon that’s been likened to the illness and death caused by Agent Orange jungle defoliant in Vietnam, there’s a growing consensus that the burn pits have given War on Terror veterans respiratory conditions and a variety of cancers. As with Agent Orange, symptoms may surface years after exposure.
YOUR MISSION MAY BRING DEATH AND MISERY TO VAST CIVILIAN POPULATIONS
According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project, some 335,000 civilians have been killed in America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. At least 38 million people have been forcibly displaced in those countries along with Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines.
SERVICE MAY HARM YOU PSYCHOLOGICALLY
There have been more than 30,000 suicides among those who’ve served in the post-9/11 wars, and upwards of 20% of Operation Enduring Freedom veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a given year.
If PTSD strikes you, you may be inflicted with angry and aggressive behavior, recurring memories of traumatic events, nightmares, physical r
Article from LewRockwell