U.S. Exits Its Longest War | The Mehdi Hasan Show

U.S. Exits Its Longest War | The Mehdi Hasan Show

joining me now are azamat khan contributing writer at the new york times magazine who’s reported from across afghanistan and matthew ho a fellow at the eisenhower media group and a former state department official in afghanistan who resigned in 2009 over the war thank you both for joining me before anything else i have to ask both of you with your long experience in afghanistan of this war briefly what are your feelings as you watch america put its wheels up and go today azimut first this evacuation has really gone as the war has it’s been characterized by incredible human loss by afghans by incredible mismanagement chaos and an unprecedented level of civilian harm that often isn’t investigated and a lack of transparency it is the way the war has gone so as an investigative reporter i’m not particularly surprised based on what i’ve seen of this war matthew what feelings were running through your what were you thinking as you saw some of these images today and heard that general announced the end of the war there’s a lot well thank you for having me on maddie and it’s a great privilege to be on with osmat she has done some incredible reporting not just on the war in afghanistan but also in iraq some really important reporting um it comes down to a lot of anger and a lot of sadness and a lot of frustration and a certain despondency as it just seemed as if things will not change you already have people arguing for a continuation of this war through other means as well as the fact that what we have seen in the us wars in the muslim world over these last two decades is just the continual evolution to where the wars become hidden so that the american people are not aware of what is happening the united states government uses the cia uses special operations it uses drones he uses contractors and then it uses proxy forces whether they be governments or militias to hide the costs of these wars and so that’s where i think my despondency lays is that you know the war will continue and i’m so grateful for you uh to you medi for the way you phrased this the opening by talking about the violence and how the afghans are continuing to receive violence because one of the things we cannot do is we cannot assign august 30 2021 as the end date for the afghan war just as we cannot assign september 11 2001 as a start date for the war because that puts a purely american-centric uh narrative on this war is just so uh just so wrong right that’s very good point matthew azamat let me ask you this on the very last day with troops on the ground the pentagon said it was investigating these multiple reports that it’s kabul drone strike yesterday killed at least 10 civilians including kids on twitter you cited your reporting to show how the dod in your view has basically covered up reports of civilian casualties from its bombs for years i wonder how do they do that and did they improve at all in recent years so in many ways it’s gotten worse in afghanistan in recent years and comparing it to the transparency and track record in iraq and syria afghanistan suffers from far greater problems so you know there are many instances in which i’ve reported civilian casualty incidents to u.s forces afghanistan and have been told outright lies things that national security correspondents from some of the greatest papers in the country agree were patented lies so for example in iraq and syria when i would report instances of civilian casualties and would provide a gps coordinate sometimes these centcom officials at alouded air base in in qatar would tell me no we didn’t conduct that airstrike and i would find videos that they themselves had published to the internet showing an airstrike in the exact spot that i had found and we would have these lengthy back and forths before they would finally acknowledge that they were not tracking all of their airstrikes and the number one reason that the united states denies allegations of civilian casualties is that they don’t have a record of an airstrike in a particular location but i consistently found that their logs were off with respect to afghanistan i was told in trying to get embeds or in trying to understand their civilian casualty procedures told things like we’re not involved in kinetic activity in airstrikes which is just completely inaccurate it’s a level it’s a level unlike anything i’ve seen another one of course if you don’t own up to what you’ve done if we can’t actually tally up the people we killed i’m not sure we can do ever a proper accounting of the costs of this war matthew you were serving in afghanistan in 2009 when you quit the state department in your resignation led it was a big news story at the time i remember it you wrote quote to put simply i failed to see the value or the worth in continued u.s casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the afghan government in what is truly a 35 year old civil war you were just a civil servant you were not a senior state department official yet on the ground in afghanistan you could see all this a decade ago did your bosses know what you knew because what we’re learning in recent weeks is that a lot of this stuff was known and hidden from the american public oh uh absolutely i mean we don’t have time to go through the the catalog of of uh people who agreed with me but didn’t say anything and when my resignation came out it was a big story in the washington post front page above the fold at 3 000 word you know biopic and i asked karen the young the the the reporter why she gave me such coverage why she put so much capital into me and she said simply because when i asked everyone i knew at the state department the white house the nasa security council the pentagon the cia et cetera whether or not they agreed with you and what you were saying about afghanistan they all did uh i mean and so you see that these wars have not only been built upon lies but they’ve been built upon a profiteering for either the individual or the institution um at the expense of you know enormous suffering and i think it’s really important for us not to try and separate the afghan war from the other wars that the united states is waging from the west coast of africa all the way to pakistan i think it’s important to keep those wars together because it’s the same institutions and individuals that are running these wars and it’s the same lies basically that keep these wars uh uh sustained uh evolving and uh continuous unfortunately they do asthma you’ve also reported on how widely ignored the major part of afghanistan the rural parts of this country the rural parts how they were ignored in our media coverage by our politicians and military leaders even though they were hit hard by the u.s and afghan government air war even today all of the media’s either on kabul what effect did that have on our war how did that contribute to the taliban coming back to power so the american public has largely gotten its news from kabul especially when it comes to television news it focuses on these kinds of young afghans to whom americans can relate many of whom are english speakers but a majority of the war has probably taken place in about 30 percent of the country these battlefield areas all of which are rural they’re hard to access and there’s an entire generation of youth that has grown up without knowing a day of peace youth who’ve experienced not just us airstrikes but night raids by afghan forces taliban attacks kidnappings the recent rise in the last few years of isis horizon or isis k and many of them were left so beleaguered by this war that they were just desperate for it to end and yet the american public rarely hears from them and on top of that it also helped foster the latest generation taliban recruits so many of the recent recruits to the taliban came from families who had lost people over gen you know over the last 20 years it’s really had devastating effects that the taliban actually fell early on in this u.s war in afghanistan but in many ways great investigative reporting has shown time and again how the u.s presence in afghanistan brought the taliban back from the dead so true and so depressing matthew i’ve got to ask you this the other night comedian and broadcaster bill maher said this about our role in afghanistan have a listen there’s a reason afghan mothers are handing their babies to us right and we’re not the bad guys oppression is what we were trying to stop in afghanistan we failed but any immigrant will tell you we’ve largely succeeded here and yet the overriding thrust of current woke ideology is that america is rotten to the core matthew put aside the fact that that line about afghan mothers and babies didn’t date very well given reports that we may have killed afghan kids on sunday but what about the wider argument that we get stuck in these wars because people like bill maher and others in our media present them as noble humanitarian ventures not as the messy and violent and brutal conflicts that they are in which we kill innocents as well oh absolutely the idea that somehow these wars are some kind of crusade of good versus evil uh that the united states is a force for good is just simply belied by any any uh honesty uh in in observing these wars or on participation of these wars look the afghan government in 2001 when the u.s went into afghanistan it took out of power a theocratic repressive government and put into power a kleptocratic predatory government basically united states involved itself in a civil war that was a living legacy of the cold war and a creation uh by the united states uh but it involved itself directly and it took one side out of power put the other side in power and pursued a divide and conquer strategy um the united states composed a warlord of sorry a government of warlords and drug lords uh that they may not have been as theatrical in their misogyny as the taliban were but they certainly were terrible look under the afghan government that the united states put in power and kept in power four out of five women are forcibly or first forcibly married uh many of them child brides a man was legally entitled to rape his wife and the reason why most afghan the reason for the the primary reason for afghan women being in prison was not that they were assisting the taliban but that they are guilty of moral crimes and just so everyone understands what moral crimes mean moral crimes means that if you are a woman and you are raped you go to jail that was the the the the human rights of the afghan government yeah matthew i think if you keep going we’re going to be going all night on some of the horrific things that we were complicit in sadly in afghanistan but i appreciate you taking time out to come talk to us azimut appreciate your excellent reporting from afghanistan thank you both tonight matthew ho azmet khan hi i’m mehdi hussain thanks for checking out our channel on youtube you can see more of the mehdi hassan show by clicking on any of the videos on this screen and make sure you subscribe below to stay up to date on the day’s biggest stories thank you for watching
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U.S. Exits Its Longest War | The Mehdi Hasan Show

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