The imperialists are concluding an ambitiously successful week, as it has been our displeasure to report for Overwritten. Less than forty-eight hours after the Secretary of Defense formally declared the Pentagon’s eternal commitment to Israeli apartheid, the Biden Administration announced that the American occupation of Afghanistan will continue for another five months, at least. In delaying this exodus, which has been desired by all sensible parties for nearly two decades now, the Biden Administration has confirmed that which we have been saying for more than a year: the American Empire will never withdraw its military force from Afghanistan, even if it must continue to devise increasingly laughable excuses for sustainment.
Kevin Liptak, a writer for CNN, could probably accuse us of disseminating misinformation. Surely we have read his article of this morning, in which he declared that “the deadline Biden has set is absolute, with no potential for extension based on worsening conditions on the ground”. Indeed, we did. In fact, we read even further into the article, including the point at which he acknowledged that “some U.S. troops will remain to protect American diplomats” and that “American diplomatic and humanitarian efforts would continue in Afghanistan”. Impressively, he concludes from these heterogenous messages that it is “unequivocal that two decades after it began, the Afghanistan War is ending”.
You will notice Liptak’s choice of euphemism. Adopting a familiarly patriotic lens, he describes this interminable conflict as “the Afghanistan War”, much as jingoistic historians have referred to something known as “the Gulf War”, whereas we prefer “the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan”, “the first American invasion and occupation of Iraq”, “the second American invasion and occupation of Iraq”, and so on and so forth. Behold the epic neuroticism of military propaganda: our evasive language pervades both our beastly lust for war and our moralistic desire to end it. What is the enterprising imperialist to do on singular occasions such as today, when the latter inclination is being satisfied?
Peter Bergen has answered that question in an op-ed published by CNN. For twenty-eight years, he has written in defense of the American Empire’s apocalyptic exploits in the Middle East, so the supposed withdrawal from Afghanistan is naturally of great interest to him. He is taking advantage of this occasion to breathe desperate life into the feeble flame of support for the Empire’s ongoing occupation, condemning the argument for withdrawal as “magical thinking”. According to Bergen, the structural integrity of the Afghan government, and of Afghan society generally, is impossible without the active presence of the American military. This narrative, which probably continues to reign in the imagination of most American adults, is so critical to the imperialists that they promote its propagation, even if it comes at the political expense of a committed warmonger like Joe Biden.
One might ponder when the propagandists will become so comfortable with the supremacy of their brutal imperialist ideology that they begin to refer to Afghanistan as an American territory, which is just shy of describing it as the property of the American Empire. I am thinking of Joe Manchin, the neoconservative extremist whom the mainstream media consistently praises as the brain trust of the Democratic Party, and the same man who described Julian Assange as “our property” in the aftermath of his arrest. His mentality of possession is a mentality of consumption unto malignancy, and it predominates the wasteful, destructive culture of the United States.
In recognizable contrast to that shameful culture, the announced withdrawal from Afghanistan is depicted as a commendable act, but how can the Empire claim to deserve commendation when all it seeks to do is to end the destruction for which it is responsible? And yet, we have not considered the most shameless element of this charade: the lie that the Empire tells the world when it claims to be withdrawing from Afghanistan! We knew the Empire was lying when Trump played the role of its spokesman, and we know it is lying now. Consider us regretfully vindicated.