Tuesday, 17 August 2021
"The downfall of the twin towers that symbolised the worldwide empire of imaginary money is not in itself a cause of grief." So wrote the late Michael Wharton, as Peter Simple, 20 years ago next month. And my comrade Yanis Varoufakis was right to describe Sunday as, "the day liberal-neocon imperialism was defeated once and for all." That defeat, likewise, is not in itself a cause of grief.
Weep for the dead of 9/11. And weep for the women of Afghanistan, although, as Joe Biden rightly pointed out last night, the war was never really about them. It was about capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, whom some of us turned out to have been right all along in saying was not in Afghanistan, as we shall eventually be proved right all along in having said that he had had little or no direct connection to 9/11.
The basis of the war in Afghanistan was as false as the basis of the war in Iraq, so reparations will be paid in one form or another, no matter who ruled in Washington or London. And there are all sorts of ways of promoting women's education and women's equality. Afghanistan has proved conclusively that war is not one of them.
Therefore, do not weep for the retreat from Afghanistan, which has suspiciously left behind vast amounts of kit for the Taliban to play with. Anyone might call those reparations. And anyone would think that a deal had been cut with the beneficiaries, thereby providing Biden's opportunity to tell the nation and the world that America was not in the nation-building business, nor was it any longer interested in fighting for people who, even after trillions of dollars of American training and supplies, refused to fight for themselves.
Damn right that has been heard from the Baltic to the Pacific Rim. Damn right it has effectively annulled the NATO Charter. And damn right it presages the dismantlement of the global network of American bases, which as much as anything else will make British teenagers a lot safer on the roads. Not in itself a cause of grief, indeed.