Afghanistan

American Indifference Allowed the War in Afghanistan to Drag On

We’ll have to pay attention this time to ensure a conclusion to the accidental forever war.

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With troops finally scheduled for withdrawal by September after two decades of conflict, America's intervention in Afghanistan seems destined to go down in history as an accidental forever war. Only peripherally part of the country's policy debates, and never really occupying the attention of members of the public other than the few who had relatives involved in the fighting, U.S. intervention almost seems to have stumbled on because people neglected to bring it to an end. Even as polls indicate broad assent, ending years of bloody struggle comes with minimal fanfare.

"A majority of Americans (58%) approve of the decision to withdraw all troops," according to recent Economist/YouGov polling. With majority support among military families and military personnel for a withdrawal negotiated by the Trump administration and enacted (with a few months' delay) by the Biden administration, the end of America's intervention in Afghanistan is one of the few issues that seems capable of pulling Americans together these days. If that's the case, though, why did it take so long?

The problem is that Americans seem to desire an end to the conflict only when they give the matter any thought—and that's not very often at all.

"More than half of Americans (57%) do not follow any news and information about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan," an AP/NORC poll found in October 2020. The age group least likely to pay any attention to the lingering conflict in the region was made up of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29—precisely those most likely to fill the ranks of troops sent to the region.

That inattention to the issue has consequences. Pollsters found that knowledge of American casualties reduced support for increasing the troop presence and raised support for ending U.S. intervention in Afghanistan—but Americans generally lack that awareness. Unsurprisingly, it's relatively easy to be indifferent to an ongoing war if you're oblivious to its costs in dead and wounded among your own military personnel and the people who live in and around the battlefields.

That indifference helps to explain why, despite current acclaim for the end (we hope) of the U.S. role in Afghanistan, public opposition to the war only briefly matched support for it—in 2014, during the troop withdrawal of the Obama years. After that, according to Gallup, belief that "it was a mistake sending troops to fight in Afghanistan" stalled at about 43 percent, ten points behind support for the conflict.

Meanwhile, politicians quietly replaced many of the troops pulled out in 2014 with thousands of private contractors who shouldered much of the war effort out of public view. As of November 2019, Brown University's Costs of War project estimated deaths at 2,298 for the U.S. military, and 3,814 for contractors (deaths among Afghan's military and police were estimated at 64,124, and among civilians at 43,074). 

"The new data comes amid concerns that the administration could increasingly turn to private companies to carry out the war," U.S. News & World Report noted in 2019. "Officials and analysts, meanwhile, are raising alarm that the U.S. government is concealing the situation on the ground."

Of course, concealing the situation on the ground wasn't much of a challenge when more than half of Americans didn't follow any news at all about the situation in Afghanistan. They didn't seek information about a war about which they showed remarkably little interest—and only situational outrage.

"The United States is knee-deep in at least three international military conflicts at the moment — in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya," NPR pointed out in 2011. "Now, despite the U.S. military's concurrent and costly entanglements, the National Mall is quiet and the streets of Washington are pretty much protester-free … Where have all the protesters gone?"

Where did the protesters go? Many of them, it seems, went home after achieving partisan political goals they disguised as concern for peace.

"[T]he antiwar movement demobilized as Democrats, who had been motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments, withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success, if not policy success in ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," wrote Michael Heaney of the University of Michigan and Fabio Rojas of Indiana University in a study published in 2011. "While the election of Barack Obama had been heralded as a victory for the antiwar movement, Obama's election, in fact, thwarted the ability of the movement to achieve critical mass."

President Barack Obama, of course, increased the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan before swapping thousands of military personnel out for security contractors. His administration is one of three—along with those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump—cited by The Washington Post as having concealed the failure of the war for years on end.

"A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable," the newspaper reported in December 2019.

That the war was unwinnable was quite an unpleasant truth to conceal through two decades of conflict. But it was made relatively easy by the fact that even many of the participants in the antiwar movement weren't terribly concerned about the war in Afghanistan. When you add in the uninformed indifference of much of the rest of the population, there was nothing to deter a rotating cast of politicians and military officers from fiddling around the edges of a war like it was a game, ignoring its accumulating costs as they tried to extract victory from an impossible situation.

Ultimately, then-President Donald Trump lost patience with the situation and negotiated a May 1 end to U.S. intervention in Afghanistan—an agreement that President Biden says he'll honor, though with a delay until September. Well, that's what government officials say, and we've been down this path before. This time, those of us interested in seeing a conclusion to the accidental forever war in Afghanistan will have to pay attention to make sure it finally comes to an end.

NEXT: Brickbat: Papers, Please

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  1. “Unsurprisingly, it’s relatively easy to be indifferent to an ongoing war if you’re oblivious to its costs in dead and wounded among your own military personnel and the people who live in and around the battlefields.”

    And American battle casualties in Afghanistan in the past year, say, have been what?

    While I think a permanent presence in Afghanistan is a mistake because our leaders do not now how to achieve success, there will be a human cost to the Afghans in lives and liberties when we leave. Not to mention the utter stupidity of the Biden Administration’s poor symbolic choice of having September 11 as the projected date for final withdrawal, will likely encourage the Islamist movement that they have achieved victory to renewed violence across the world.

    1. Also, Trump had a deal which had our troops scheduled to be withdrawn next week, but no mention of that.

      1. It was mentioned, but no opprobrium was heaped on Biden for not adhering to it.

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      2. I thought similar. If indifference simply allowed the war to drag on, then what did overt and ad hominem animus do? TooSilly even has the gall to cite the Trump administration as covering up the failure without any sort of caveat. Like if Trump came out and said, “The war in Afghanistan has been a failure. Here’s all the proof. We need to widthdraw now.” people who disagreed with him on no other principle other than “Orange Man bad!” would’ve suddenly found reason the way they find their car keys:

        ough Trump and Cuomo were initially discussing the situation in Iraq and Syria, the host switched gears to talk about Afghanistan, mentioning the country by name twice.

        “I understand your position on Syria, that you’re taking a wait-and-see approach there with the Russians. What about in Afghanistan?” Cuomo asked. “President Obama just said – not because of what just happened in Kunduz with the hospital you referred to, but (with) the instability of the situation vis-a-vis the Taliban and other terrorist entities there – he believes that a force should stay there and fight. Do you believe that American boots should stay on the ground in Afghanistan to stabilize the situation?”

        Trump’s answer: “I wouldn’t totally disagree with it except, you know, at some point, are they going to be there for the next 200 years? You know, at some point what’s going on? It’s going to be a long time.”

        He continued, “We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place.”

        Then he compared Afghanistan to Iraq.

        “We had real brilliant thinkers that didn’t know what the hell they were doing. And it’s a mess. It’s a mess. And at this point, you probably have to, because that thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave,” Trump said.

        Cuomo then referred to Afghanistan again.

        “On Afghanistan, you’re saying that you’re with the president. For now, you leave the troops there and see what the time horizon is?” he asked.

        “I would leave the troops there, begrudgingly,” Trump replied. “I’m not happy about it, I will tell you, but I would leave the troops there begrudgingly, yes.” -CNN Oct. 21, 2015

    2. I do not think they don’t know how to achieve success – I think they have no idea what success is.

      There’s no end state we’re working towards, no goal we’re working to achieve.

      1. All those poppy fields won’t protect themselves from the Chinese… But you can’t say that in a press conference apparently.

    3. Sort of off-topic, but it also pisses me off that he’s shooting for July 4th to “declare independence from the virus”. As if reality fits perfectly into political grooves.

      1. But it’s SCIENCE!

    4. >>poor symbolic choice

      purposeful symbolic choice.

      1. It may be, but I do not see what good they think using that date would be.

  2. “But it was made relatively easy by the fact that even many of the participants in the antiwar movement weren’t terribly concerned about the war in Afghanistan.”

    A liitle bitter about being used by the Left?

    Remember, Obama was not only not “anti-war”, he was not even anti- illegal war as he successfully resisted even obtaining a Congressional authorization of force. Your erstwhile allies on the Left did not believe in anything other than getting power.

  3. “With troops finally scheduled for withdrawal by September after two decades of conflict, America’s intervention in Afghanistan seems destined to go down in history as an accidental forever war.

    Troops were “finally” scheduled for withdrawal by
    May of 2021 14 months ago, when President Trump signed a full withdrawal agreement with the Taliban on February 29, 2020.

    Here’s an editorial about the deal dated March 1, 2020.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-afghan-withdrawal-deal-11583106215?

    If U.S.Troops are still in Afghanistan after May 1st, 2021, Joe Biden will have reneged on that deal, and the Taliban will no longer be obligated to refrain from attacking U.S. troops. Have you seen any indication that the Taliban intends to abide by the agreement with Trump–even after Biden openly disregards it?

    The deal was hardly acknowledged here at Reason, and if the general public was unaware of the deal, and its provisions, before the election in November, that was largely a function of the media’s reluctance to say anything that might be considered positive about President Trump. Even today, now that he’s gone, saying something positive about President Trump or something he did may be career suicide, like saying something politically incorrect about the transgender movement or calling for the National Guard to put down a mostly peaceful riot.

    The consequences of TDS in the media are the result of TDS in the media, and the ongoing dissolution of journalism as a profession is the ultimate solution. There are only a small fraction of the journalism jobs there used to be, and the streaming revolution is coming for the excess that there are left still on cable. Seeing the White House Press corps reduced to covering the president’s tweets gives me hope. As the press becomes less and less relevant, so does their abilities to play gatekeepers of the national narrative.

    1. Watching the journalism profession implode is like watching Baghdad Bob being captured by U.S. troops–in the middle of a live TV press conference in which he insisted that there aren’t any U.S. troops in Baghdad.

      1. Halfway between Baghdad Bob and Budd Dwyer in super slow-motion. I’ll spare you linking the video.

      2. the tank in the background was beautiful. delicious timing.

    2. https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1387094129885290502?s=19

      JUST IN – US State Department issued a new travel advisory urging all Americans interested in leaving #Afghanistan to do so “ASAP”

      1. I haven’t seen any indication that the Taliban is willing to abide by the agreement if Biden reneges on the peace deal and doesn’t leave by May 1, 2021.

        Biden made this proclamation about leaving in September, but if the Taliban hasn’t signed that agreement or agreed not to attack U.S. troops in spite of Biden trashing the agreement, then what difference does Biden’s proclamation make?

        Because the press treats Biden’s proclamations as the ultimate test of reality doesn’t make them so. The Taliban released all the POWs they were holding on the basis of the promise we made to withdraw by May of 2021. There hasn’t been an American targeted by the Taliban in Afghanistan since the day Trump signed the agreement with them to withdraw by May of 2021. Who says they will continue to abide by that agreement after Biden violates it?

        I hope they do, but I haven’t seen any indication that they will. Last I heard, they had walked out of negotiations with the U.S. backed government in Kabul–on the news that Biden wasn’t withdrawing by May 1st.

        1. Methinks the entire point of moving it back without having a signed change in the agreement is to goad the Taliban into doing something violent and giving our blood-thirsty military industrial complex the excuse to continue to stay indefinitely. Reichstag fires seem to be popping up everywhere!

    3. Gatekeeper? You could tune in to the ACTUAL white house press conferences anytime. Same with Congressional going-ons with CSPAN.

      The only thing it’s done is open the door for complete shit by OAN and the rest. You want *that* to be the narrative?

      Why am I not surprised..

      1. Actually, cable news makes a fat chunks of its money from cable subscriber fees, and the saddest part of that is that people who watch Fox pay fees to their cable company to carry CNN and MSNBC–even though they don’t watch those channels. CNN and MSNBC viewers pay fees to their cable company to carry Fox News even though they don’t watch that, too.

        The fees that local broadcast stations get (by law) from cable companies to carry ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News affiliates is extremely profitable, Which is why Disney, CBSViacom, etc. bought up their local affiliates. This is why the owners of all four of the major broadcast networks are suing Locast–which simply retransmits the local signal you’re supposed to get for free anyway and makes it available to you, free of charge, with a streaming player. The more people use Locast, the less the networks get in cable fees.

        Point is, when people leave cable and go to streaming, they aren’t paying those carrier fees to cable companies by default. You can go to all sorts of skinny bundles and not pay any carrier fees to cable news and broadcast news channels you don’t watch at all. You can even watch network news broadcasts through their streaming services, and the networks are forced to make their money through advertising alone–without being able to collect any carrier fees.

        As Fox News viewers move to streaming, they aren’t sending any money to CNN and MSNBC anymore. Half the point of streaming is about saving money by not paying for the shit you don’t watch. That is bad news for progressive journalists on CNN and MSNBC. They’ve been padding their budgets with money from people who don’t watch their shows for far too long.

        1. Locast now has more than 50% of the U.S. population covered, cities from Boston to Los Angeles and from Seattle to Miami, and they’re still adding cities on a regular basis.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locast#Availability

          Yes, you too may be able to stick it to the news media! If you hate the news media and keep sending them your money anyway, what the hell is wrong with you?

        2. Of course it’s the progressive way. Progs never succeed on their own merit. This is why their kind fails upwards. Including MSNBC and CNN.

      2. Ching! Which rag paid you $.50 for that line of bullshit?

      3. You do understand that under Biden, same as under Obama, the press conferences are scripted with Whitehouse staff and reporters working together?

        1. Much of the news media is about quoting what a handful of players reported. If you’re the big networks plus a couple of cable players, the associated press, and a couple of newspapers, you’ve pretty much got the whole media under your sway. They’re reporting on each other’s stories.

    4. Ken, I see what you’re doing and it’s fucked up. The Taliban has technically never abided by the agreement so when they break it even more in the future don’t be a mfer and blame Biden for the Taliban violence.

      1. Wrong, as usual.

      2. “The Taliban has technically never abided by the agreement”

        Care to be specific?

        I bet you make yourself look stupid!

        1. He will.

    5. Yeah the nation’s best known libertarian publication was conspicuously silent while Trump attempted to withdraw from Afghanistan even battling his own administration to get it done. Reason is more likely to support the neocons with whom they share common ground in their visceral hatred for Trump than the very real foreign policy successes of the last 4 years. Anyone who is actually anti war voted for Trump. I am and I did.

      1. I would agree that Reason was way too quiet on covering the Afghanistan deal that Trump made. It was easily in the top 2 or 3 accomplishments of his administration.

  4. “cited by The Washington Post as having concealed the failure of the war for years on end.”

    If the military just sits there and doesn’t leave the bases, there isn’t anything to report. Also, if the military stops reporting mortar attacks, IED attacks, and insider attacks on US forces, the American people will never know of those attacks. So, just a good old fashioned, “peaceful” occupation. The US Generals will still get their little piece of the pie when they retire at one of the contracting companies raking in billions.
    Obama and Biden used the same campaign promise twice. They never made any attempt to stop the war, they just tied the hands of US warfighters while upping the military contracts and contractors. There were thousands of contractors over there getting paid between $500 to $1500 a day to do absolutely nothing but eat and work out. Contracting companies charged the government $1000 to $2000 a day to have them there.
    Why not waterboard a few of those retired Generals? They screwed the American people worse than any two-bit terrorists ever did.

    1. Trump, from the beginning of his candidacy onward, described the war as anything between a mess and a mistake. I’m a little unclear on what more they wanted him to do in order to avoid ‘concealing’ the mistake. Publish classified info? Store it on an email server in a bathroom closet?

      1. If we need to hang the failure of Afghanistan on anyone, its G.W. Bush in first place, and Obama in second.

        The Afghan people frankly deserve quite a bit of blame. Pashtuns (the ethnic tribe that makes up a slight majority of Afghans and the vast majority of Taliban support) are the stunted branch of the human family tree, inbreeding for centuries. Don’t expect much from them and you won’t be disappointed. To think they could become a western democracy with enlightenment values was absurd.

  5. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from an Op-Ed in the WSJ just a few days ago.

    “Since 2018, Gen. Scott Miller, the current commander in Afghanistan, has orchestrated an effective campaign, with few forces, to keep control of Afghanistan’s cities and key districts. There are now just 2,500 American troops in country, and the last U.S. combat death occurred in February 2020.”

    —-Bing West, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-afghanistan-a-dangerous-surrender-in-a-misconceived-war-11619114899?

    Within the context of the article, the argument being made here is that there’s no need to withdraw from Afghanistan completely, and that case is bolstered by the fact that we’ve maintained 2,500 troops in Afghanistan–and there hasn’t been a single U.S. combat death in Afghanistan since the end of February 2020!

    This analysis fails to mention that the reason we haven’t had any U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan since the end of February 2020 is because Donald Trump signed a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29, 2021–and the Taliban not targeting U.S. troops in the meantime was part of the deal. We also agreed to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan in May 2021 as part of that deal. If it hadn’t been for the withdrawal deal, there would have been more U.S. troops killed by the Taliban–as sure as the Taliban face Mecca and pray five times a day.

    This is another example of anti-Trump people completely ignoring what Trump did and its consequences in the real world. TDS isn’t confined to just the press and just the Democrats. It’s part of what makes neocon never-Trumpers tick, too. TDS is a bipartisan phenomenon.

    1. “Donald Trump signed a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29, 2021 [2020].”

      —-Ken Shultz

      You knew what I meant!

    2. You’re the mfer who can’t get Trump’s dick out of your mouth. He left office without withdrawaling the troops. That “agreement” is worthless by the way. Those Taliban mfers are crazy as it gets. You can’t make deals with that. You can pretend like you’re making a deal and pretend is Trump forte.

      1. Wrong, again.

      2. How much do you get paid for humping the DNC’s leg here, Stroozle.
        Is it by the day or by the post?

        1. He gets paid by the ounce.

    3. TDS isn’t confined to just the press and just the Democrats.

      Worse still, it’s beginning to look like even when the cause of the disease has been removed and other symptoms have abated, the sufferers are still left with chronic mental retardation.

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  7. Given the utter butthurt that everyone shows about wearing a gd mask, I’m sure the war in Afghanistan would’ve lasted all of 3 weeks if the American people were forced to do anything for it.

    1. Masks haven’t done anything for the Japanese. They are in the third wave with lockdowns.

    2. How dare libritarians be against illeagal unconstitutional government mandates. Nex you will tell me they oppose banning books, sin taxes, income tax, secret kill lists, and expanding government power!

  8. Media indifference while Obama was in office, yes I believe that. Media obsession with fake russian collusion hoax the next four years after that.

    Trump sets end date, gets pushback by military and intelligence, and screeching in the left wing media (they were once anti war, now they are just illiberal authoritarian jerks)

    Biden sets date slightly later (and on significant date 20 years later) and media swoons.

    So fuck you for saying it’s American indifference. It’s decidedly a left wing democrat problem here.

  9. It’s hard for the general public to maintain interest in something the news media is deliberately ignoring.

    Granted, it didn’t help that the Republicans were stupid enough to nominate Mitt Romney in 2012, instead of somebody who would actually go after Obama for the bloodiest years of futility in the Afghanistan War. But if McCain had been elected in 2008 and done what Obama did, you can believe that the news media would have pointed out how many Americans were killed to no purpose by the Afghanistan surge.

  10. “More than half of Americans (57%) do not follow any news and information about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan,”

    Considering that the media carried out a de facto news blackout, that’s not surprising.

  11. So wait, you’re saying the clusterfuck in Afghanistan is my fault??? And somehow I need to pay attention that Biden doesn’t rename the troops there “enemy non-combatant combatants” and double their number and triple the number of contractors? Not to mention the number of people who work for the “Coordinated Interdiction Association”?

    I kind of think this is all Cindy Sheehan’s fault, while Bush was President she was all over the news but as soon as Obama got elected she disappeared, and I’m sure that had nothing to do with the press suddenly deciding she was no longer newsworthy. If she had kept up her anti-war activism I’m sure the press would have kept covering her and kept up the pressure on Obama.

    1. If you remember Obama was viciously attacked by Republicans and the fascist oligarch media for withdrawing from Iraq. He blamed for “founding” the Islamic State. You rightwing mfers (not necessarily you in this particular instance) are something else. Disghonest, dumb and prideful.

      1. The right and the left both share the blame on the Middle East. The peacekeeping mission that was started in Egypt in the early 80s is still ongoing. Nearly 40 years. Neither the left nor the right is very good at disengaging.
        Bin Laden could have been quietly eliminated long ago. There was an opportunity, Bill Clinton refused. If Clinton would have acted, the world would more than likely be a different place. But, Bush Jr. would have found a war somewhere.

      2. I recall his SoS giving a “pro invade Iraq” speech on the Senate floor when she was representing New York.

    2. Sheehan was still there after Obama took office, she was just largely ignored by the press afterward.

      1. Sheehan was thrown away like rotting garbage once Obama was elected. The left never gave a shit about foreign wars. It was purely a wedge issue used to obtain power.

        Progs are soulless filth.

  12. Unfortunately the Afghan war had the reputation of being the good one, the one the USA should be pursuing in response to 9/11, rather than the phony one in Iraq. It was a dichotomy: either support war in Iraq like the lying neocons, or war in Afghanistan like the right-thinking people.

    1. Roberta, the terrorists that flew those planes into the buildings were Saudi, not Taliban, and not Afghan. Afghans are, and will alawys be, localized savages with no intention or ability to fight a war outside of their borders. They are, and always will be, embroiled in local tribal wars that have kept them busy in between occupations. Usama Bin Laden was a Saudi, not an Afghan. Bin Laden originally went to Afghanistan to fight the Russians and he was supported by the US at the time.

      1. But that’s not how it’s been pitched.

  13. With troops finally scheduled for withdrawal by September” excluding the reaction force that will still be there so no we are never leaving.

  14. Wotta surprise. The citizen soldier no longer exists. We are now purely a mercenary nation. Until the money runs out.

    1. Nice little pamphlet from Rand about how the citizen soldier idea was diminished even with the change from militia to National Guard. Even more so when the constraint ceases to affect our decisions to go to war or to stop with all the permawar.

  15. Re: publicizing Trump’s treaty. I live in a “battleground” state and received many Trump and GOP flyers in the mail during the campaign. Lots of ads on tv too. And I don’t recall one of them mentioning the deal to get out of Afghanistan. Hey, if you aren’t shouting your triumphs from the rooftop, then don’t bitch when your triumphs are overlooked by your enemies.

    1. “Ending the war wasn’t enough. It’s their fault for not ending the war more vocally!”, says the guy who probably has trouble keeping score in football games without endzone dances.

      1. You do know how campaigns work don’t you? Trump, who brags about every achievement ever, apparently didn’t.

        1. Considering that the alleged reason for the war’s continuance was indifference and both his predecessor and successor won repeatedly on lies about ending it, I’d say you don’t know how campaigns work either.

  16. American indifference to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq comes down to one simple point: we no longer have a draft. Those old enough to remember the Vietnam War will well recall the protests that wracked the nation from 1968 onward, and that vanished when the draft ended in July 1975.

    Although there were many reasons for protesting the war, the possibility of having to fight the war oneself turned out to be the leading motivator. Now, with no threat of being conscripted, the 18 to 29 cohort no longer need be concerned about war — and a large majority are not.

    1. Don’t put this on the 18-29 cohort. It’s their parents and grandparents who now have a permanent war boner. Get to yell ‘Get off my lawn or my Uncle Sam will beat you up’ at everyone in the world. And get to prattle on to their spawn that ‘when we were your age we fought wars all the time – always uphill and with only my rifle to keep me toasty’.

      1. Asshole. Politicians start wars.

      2. I don’t see how this is “put[ting] this on the 18-29 cohort.” It is rightfully pointing out that the Vietnam War protests (mostly involving the 18-29 cohort) were so strong and so influential because of the draft. Without it, and therefore without needing to worry about dying in Afghanistan unless you want to enlist, there are fewer protests. Fewer protests means less visibility. Moreover, since the majority of the parents and grandparents of the 18-29 cohort also don’t have to worry about their precious baby dying overseas, they don’t care either.

        1. I agree that the draft involves a broader range of people who at minimum face involuntary death. And yes I agree with your basic point that a draft (or a citizen-soldier as in the Rand article I linked to above) tends to at least heighten the awareness that a war is happening.

          My point about the 18-29 is different. They fight and die in the wars. They don’t start the wars. They can’t stop the wars. Indeed, they are conscripted in part because they have no power at all except the power to cause the other guys death instead of their own. Even the Vietnam anti-war protests did not imo have much effect. What had an effect was the Tet Offensive on TV. And the replacement of all the deferments with a draft lottery. All of a sudden the PARENT demographic – the ‘greatest generation’ realized they were being lied to about the war and dominoes didn’t matter and oh fuck my own kid is now the cost of this.

          It is that latter effect that is the meaningful effect of ending the draft.

    2. Explain the “American indifference” to the continuing tyranny, e.g., the higher taxation, the growing U.S. Empire.
      I blame the mandatory govt. ed (indoctrination) program. I was expelled twice (at 9 & 10) for rebelling by refusing to join in the “Pledge”. No explanation of the meaning of the Pledge was given nor the physical assault on me. I was happy to be free so I didn’t report it to my parents. I went home and read the encyclopedia from A-Z. Eventually, my parents found out each time, making a compromise with the principle so I could be incarcerated again. They meant well but were victims of govt. brainwashing also, as was their parents. I didn’t know the SCOTUS had ruled the Pledge couldn’t be forced and neither did my parents.
      The “rule of law” only applies to the politically weak, not the rulers.

  17. Lets hope that high quality Afghani Heroin replaces crap Chinese Fentanyl ASAP.

  18. “…those of us interested…”?? The few who pay attention to the many, many U.S. Empire destructive actions are too few so far. That is slowly changing. Will the change come in time to stop the tyranny?

  19. I have a great idea for a story.
    A great and powerful nation removes all connection between its people and its military.
    There is no national service, no draft, and most people in that nation don’t even know anyone in the military.
    There is a 20 year war that causes thousands of soldiers to lose limbs.
    No one in the rest of the country knows or cares.
    Then the nations leaders decide to purge this military of all those with traditional values.
    So all these trained soldiers are then out of work and they decide to change things in the homeland

  20. American Indifference Allowed the War in Afghanistan to Drag On

    No, the Democratic congress that you cheered for that passed a bill preventing president Trump from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan allowed the war in Afghanistan to drag on.

  21. Lies by the military allowed it to drag on, deceiving presidents and the public to the failures occurring overseas.

    We didn’t know it was as bad as it was until Trump let us know. And then Congress and the Deep State prevented his efforts to end the war.

  22. But we’re supposed to pretend he’s a warmonger because of a vague allegation of drone strike (presumably against the man that ordered a terrorist attack on Americans) https://wapexclusive.com ,
    You’re an ignoramus and willfully idiotic, and it’s hard to tell whether you believe what you do because you’re uninformed or whether you’re uninformed because you’re stupid.

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