If it wasn’t so tragic it’d be funny. Finally, after twenty long years, the Americans decide it wasn’t a good idea to remain as permanent invaders of Afghanistan. The response to this decision has shown up the delusion several countries appear to be labouring under.
Here are five things deserving of at least a minute’s thought.
- The Irish government is sending six highly-trained (in killing, presumably) Irish Rangers and two people from the Department for Foreign Affairs to Kabul, to assist with the evacuation of some thirty-six Irish citizens. The Taliban have defeated the Red Army and the combined forces of the US and the UK. Are they likely to be taking to their heels when they hear the Irish Rangers are on their way? Shades of the Skibereen Eagle, warning Russia that it has its eye on that country.
- By now most of us know that Boris Johnson’s first instinct on having struck an agreement is to find ways of breaking it. In his naivety, he assumed the US would have a similar fondness for back-tracking, aka lying. Now he knows not every country acts that way.
- The Taliban are Afghanis. They belong in Afghanistan. We may not agree with their idea of a civilized society but it is their country. It is not the country of the US army that’s been occupying it for the last twenty years. So it’s not really a question of good v evil.
- What did those Afghans who co-operated with the US and UK authorities expect? Many people in Western countries, including Ireland, would consider working with an invading enemy as treachery. None of us wishes them ill, but they did make a conscious decision to throw in their lot with and work for the invaders.
- How could the Americans have forgotten Vietnam? You’d think that image of people scrambling to board the last helicopter out of Saigon would have burned itself into the national consciousness. As the clock in Kabul airport clicks down to the deadline for evacuation, it suggests the Americans can’t even learn the hard way.