When a socialist government fails, leftists tend to blame the CIA and more broadly the United States Government (USG).
The reason Afghan mothers are handing their babies to American soldiers is because the United States wiped out their socialist government in the 70s so we could prop up the mujahideen, which is now the Taliban, which is going to kill those f*cking people! Why? Because we propped them up and invented them and got rid of a government that was actually taking care of its people. [9:46]— Jimmy Dore
Leftists tend to overestimate the power of the USG to avoid blaming socialism itself.
It’s a convenient argument because for better or worse every country on Earth can draw a line to the United States to give it credit or blame, but an intelligent evaluation of historical events requires us to investigate the width of that line.
Did we send 1 trillion dollars, 1 billion dollars, or 1 dollar?
Any dollar amount is enough for leftists to say, “See! It’s the CIA’s fault!”
But if I buy a “Made in China” iPhone am I now 100% responsible for everything bad that goes on in China?
We are all to some degree responsible for everything that’s happening in the world — not just for the things we do, but also for the things we don’t do — so the question is how responsible are we for the outcome of any given case?
Jimmy Dore claimed the socialist government was “taking care of its people” before the USG “invented” the Taliban to wipe them out.
Another intellectual pitfall of leftists is they tend to over-idealize the time before the fall.
Clearly, it’s an overstatement if not an outright lie to say that the Afghani socialist government — People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) — was “taking care of its people.”
In April 1978, The PDPA seized power in a bloody coup from President Mohammed Khan.
In a “disastrous symbolic move,” the PDPA changed the national flag from the traditional black, red, and Islamic green color to a red flag similar to the Soviet Union’s that offended the country’s conservatives.
The PDPA then prohibited usury and passed a land reform measure which led to an agricultural crisis. Journalist Robert Kaplan said their land reform policy was “confiscating land in a haphazard manner that enraged everyone, benefited no one, and reduced food production.”
Naturally, the PDPA’s reforms provoked strong opposition, which they then brutally oppressed, therefore, leading to a Civil War in 1979 with the mujahideen, which translates to “Islamic guerrillas.”
In September 1979, the PDPA General Secretary was assassinated by his own prime minister Hafizullah Amin who then became the new PDPA General Secretary.
Under Amin, the situation deteriorated even faster where thousands of innocent people went missing, or as Jimmy Dore might recall it, “sent on vacation.”
The soldiers’ knock on the door in the middle of the night, so common in many Arab and African countries, was little known in Afghanistan, where a central government simply lacked the power to enforce its will outside of Kabul. Taraki’s coup changed all that. Between April 1978 and the Soviet invasion of December 1979, Afghan communists executed 27,000 political prisoners at the sprawling Pul-i-Charki prison six miles east of Kabul. Many of the victims were village mullahs and headmen who were obstructing the modernization and secularization of the intensely religious Afghan countryside. By Western standards, this was a salutary idea in the abstract. But it was carried out in such a violent way that it alarmed even the Soviets. — Robert D. Kaplan, Soldiers of God
Displeased with Amin’s government, the Soviet Army then invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. They killed Amin and replaced him with a Soviet-organized regime. Imagine being so brutal that even the Soviet Union was like, “Hold up! This is too much.” Additional Soviet troops were then sent down to stabilize their hand-picked regime, therefore, marking the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War.
Jimmy Dore is also wrong in saying the USG “invented” the Taliban.
The US never funded the Taliban, let alone created it.
It’s only natural some Afghan guerillas would rise up in their own self-defense, i.e. Islamic guerrillas (mujahideen), after the Afghani President and most of his family were assassinated by the PDPA, or after the PDPA started killing each other and “caring for” the population, or after the Soviet army invaded.
The USG then funneled $3 billion dollars over the course of nine years (1980–1989) to Pakistan’s (ISI) to equip and train those willing to fight the USSR.
The USG’s goal wasn’t so much to “wipe out the socialist government” as much as it was to push out the USSR as evidenced by the fact that the US stopped funding in 1989 when the USSR left even though the PDPA’s leader Mohammed Najibullah was still in power and his government wouldn’t fall until 1992.
As a matter of foreign policy, should the US never have sought to stop Soviet aggression?
With the benefit of hindsight we can have an intelligent debate on this subject because, after all, it seems almost inevitable that capitalism would win the Cold War because of its inherent superiority to communism.
But if we look at North Korea we can still see that capitalism hasn’t prevailed everywhere and with it comes a tremendous human cost and a threat to global security.
If the US just sat on our hands as country after country fell to Soviet influence then as a matter of historical fact it never worked out well for the people who lived there.
Generally, the countries that were under USSR influence were worse off than their neighbors under US influence: East Germany vs. West Germany, North Korea vs. South Korea, Cuba vs. Puerto Rico.
Are those who care so much about “caring” satisfied with simply saying, “let them eat dirt?”
And as more and more of the world would’ve fallen under the iron fist of authoritarian communism there are so many eventualities that could’ve materialized, such as nuclear warfare (we came within one vote to nuclear war during the Cuban-Missile Crisis), US elections being influenced to weaken us from within,and/or the fracturing of spheres of influence into a 1984ish world.
So of course the US should’ve acted to stop USSR aggression, but then the deeper question is — how should we have done it?
The approach taken by the USG in Afghanistan was just about as least heavy-handed as we could’ve been. The US was neither the first (USSR) nor the second (Pakistan) outside country trying to influence events there.
Mohammed Omar who had never received funding nor training from the USG founded the Taliban in 1994 with a group of 50 students (Taliban means “students”) who went to an Islamic seminary school that was funded by Pakistani and Arab philanthropists to proselytize a more conservative interpretation of the Quran.
Originally, the Taliban focused on attacking corrupt warlords and child molesters.
Within months, the Taliban grew to 15,000 when students from a Pakistani Islamic seminary school joined the movement. With these new recruits came Pakistani financial and military support.
The Taliban movement aimed to establish a divinely ordered Islamic system in Afghanistan based on Sharia Law.
Some of the fighters we helped fund/train in the 80s would indeed go on to join the Taliban, but to claim the US “invented” the Taliban is like saying Gary Vaynerchuk invented Blue Origin because in 2011 he invested in Amazon.
Finally, an interesting result of socialists trying to absolve themselves of responsibility by overestimating USG power is they’re effectively admitting they don’t think much of people power.
Ironic coming from people who shout “Power to the People!”
Clearly, the USG isn’t as all-powerful as socialists make it out to be. We spent trillions of dollars over a 20 year period and we couldn’t even keep out the Taliban!
Spending a few billion in Pakistan over an 8-year window clearly wouldn’t have “wiped out the socialist government,” especially if it was actually “taking care of its people.”
I have much more faith in the power of people than socialists.
Both in our ability to create a great situation or a sh*tty one.
As Joseph de Maistre said, “Every people gets the government it deserves.”
I think Joseph’s being a tad dramatic, but if you look at the political views of the average Afghani, the Taliban government is in greater alignment with them than the American government.
It is what it is.
It’s not America’s fault that Afghanis believe in Sharia law.
If I put every country’s population in a basket and every country’s government in another basket and then told you the political views of each population and the political policies of each government then I bet you could match the government to the population pretty close to how they are.
What Dore doesn’t seem to understand is that Afghanistan is the way it is not because the US succeeded, but because we failed. You see, where leftists overestimate the power of the state, Americans overestimate people’s desire for liberty. Not everyone is educated in liberty, and for those of us that are, we may find ourselves someday reaching over a wall because there are too many Dores.