Chaos in Kabul

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Before eyes turned to the investigation of the US murders of civilians in Haditha, Iraq, or the US murders of civilians in Ishaqi, Iraq, and new outrage broke out over the military murder of two women, one of them pregnant, in Mosul, Iraq, there was news pouring out from another outpost of the US empire.

Only last week, Kabul, Afghanistan, was on fire with mass outrage. Today curfews and martial law reign, barely keeping a temporary lid on a situation that cannot last. The 23,000 foreign troops there are outnumbered and under fire.

The riots in Kabul are an ominous sign for the US empire. Watch the videos on television. These people are ever more bold. They aren’t guerillas operating in private. They are not military people. They are regular citizens rising up against an empire and using every means at their disposal to drive the invader out.

They throw rocks, sticks, and are glad to kill anyone who is tainted with the slightest hint of collaboration, even humanitarian workers and merchants. They walk in daylight, almost hoping for the status of martyrdom. They defy police, military, guns, and tanks. They have a focused demand: the US must leave their country immediately.

The riots came in response to a ghastly event that the US media usually calls a “traffic accident.” A tank rolled down a hill in Kabul and crashed into a big line of cars. You can imagine if an SUV owned by a suburbanite did that in Manhattan: the media would be talking about the deaths. But in this case, we were given little by the media but firm assurance that it was all easily explained.

More than a hundred people were injured. Something like a dozen were killed (people are still arguing over numbers). The US military dismissed it as a mechanical failure. We’re so sorry that you are upset! But aid workers who were there said that it was caused by a military convoy that was driving fast and recklessly, hitting cars on the side of the road even before the pileup.

During the rioting, twenty more people were shot. Video footage shows US troops firing machine guns over the heads of hundreds of rioters. US soldiers claimed that they were firing in self-defense. But the issue came to a head when three of the dead were clearly civilians just minding their own business. That’s when the chief of police in Kabul, a guy the US is supposed to control completely, came forward to say that the US fired into the crowd just as a means of control.

This is only the latest carnage. Since May 17, 2006, 372 Afghanis have been killed by what is called the US-led coalition, which, again, means by the US.

Meanwhile, guerilla fighters killed two dozen Afghan police in the employ of the US-controlled state. Guerillas are firing rockets at cars and killing politicians. No place is this vast, strange country safe for anyone suspected of collaboration with the occupiers. Suicide bombers are on the increase.

This is not a stable situation. There is no way that the US can control this country. For years, people said that the US does not and will not face a situation like the Soviet Union did in this country in the 1980s. But increasingly, it is hard to tell the difference, except that the US might show even more stupidity by hanging around even longer.

You know what government hates the most? Resistance. This is true in all times and in all places. They try to crush it no matter what, as if the life of the state depended on it, which it does. Still, resistance can sometimes be too much for a state, which, after all, constitutes a minority of the population with only one advantage: it has the biggest guns.

Other than that, there is no good reason to obey any state if it is making society worse rather than better. In fact, any state that calls forth mass resistance should be overthrown as a matter of justice, since the alternative is to turn all of society into a giant prison camp.

We are supposed to be against making countries into prisons. But that is precisely the direction things are going in Afghanistan.

This is a remarkable state of affairs given the recent history. The US overthrew the Taliban regime because it had shown sympathy to Osama Bin Laden, even though there was no evidence that the Taliban was involved in 9-11 and no final evidence that Osama was actually the criminal mastermind behind 9-11 (we only know that he wanted the Islamic world to give him credit for the hijacking).

So the US went in, the Taliban scattered, and the US declared victory. In the meantime, the country has completely devolved into tribal-controlled regions, drug production has soared (hey, folks gotta make a living!), the Taliban is on the march, and the US is loathed and hated in every corner of the country.

Talk about US intentions going awry! And do we dare bring up the fact that the US supported the Taliban’s formation in the 1980s to oppose the Soviet occupation? That’s right, back then we called them freedom fighters.

When will the US leave? Not soon. In fact, I would predict that the US will prove even less willing to admit defeat than the Soviets or the British, who met the same fate in this wild, far-flung, bloodied land.

Once again, war has proven to be good for absolutely nothing.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail] is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com and author of Speaking of Liberty.

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