Well, we’re finally out of Afghanistan after 20 years. One could argue it was actually longer than that, as we supported the mujahideen, a.k.a. the Taliban, for several years in the 1980s against the former Soviet Union.

We watch the news and follow the recriminations of the Biden administration for its poor handling of the evacuation of Americans, Afghans in peril, and others. And the pundits ask if we will ever learn the lessons of Vietnam, Iraq, and other places of turmoil.

I believe that, in fact, we have learned lessons from those military debacles.

In his farewell address in January 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans of the “military-industrial complex” that would corrupt U.S. foreign-policy goals.

What, in fact, was the lesson of those wars? War is big business disguised as patriotism and the defense of democracy.

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The total American death toll in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan is well over 100,000 Americans. Injuries are well beyond 250,000, and the toll is terrible on American society as well as on the people of those countries we invaded to “protect them.” Did we really leave the Iraqis and Afghans better off?

To quote the lyrics of Minnesota favorite son Bob Dylan: “Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?”

How about another quote from a business publication, Barron’s?: “The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan may have added to concern about the outlook for defense companies, but it shouldn’t have. The stocks still offer good value for anyone who isn’t a growth investor.

“‘We doubt if the end in Afghanistan will have any more impact … than the withdrawal from Iraq.’”

Surely there will be more wars to support.

Steve Cushing


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