How Afghans View the Endless US War

To understand why the 16-year-old U.S. war in Afghanistan continues to fail requires a look from the ground where Afghans live and suffer, a plight breeding strong opposition to the U.S. presence, explains Kathy Kelly.

By Kathy Kelly

On a recent Friday at the Afghan Peace Volunteers‘ (APV) Borderfree Center, here in Kabul, 30 mothers sat cross-legged along the walls of a large meeting room. Masoumah, who co-coordinates the Center’s “Street Kids School” project, had invited the mothers to a parents meeting. Burka-clad women who wore the veil over their faces looked identical to me, but Masoumah called each mother by name, inviting the mothers, one by one, to speak about difficulties they faced.

Afghan children await school supplies from Allied forces at Sozo School in Kabul. (French navy photo by Master Petty Officer Valverde)

From inside the netted opening of a burka, we heard soft voices and, sometimes, sheer despair. Others who weren’t wearing burkas also spoke gravely. Their eyes expressed pain and misery, and some quietly wept. Often a woman’s voice would break, and she would have to pause before she could continue:

“I have debts that I cannot pay,” whispered the first woman.

“My children and I are always moving from place to place. I don’t know what will happen.”

“I am afraid we will die in an explosion.”

“My husband is paralyzed and cannot work. We have no money for food, for fuel.”

“My husband is old and sick. We have no medicine.”

“I cannot feed my children.”

“How will we live through the winter?”

“I have pains throughout my whole body.”

“I feel hopeless.”

“I feel depressed, and I am always worried.”

“I feel that I’m losing my mind.”

The mothers’ travails echo across Afghanistan, where, as one article noted, “one-third of the population lives below the poverty line (earning less than $2 a day) and a further 50 percent are barely above this.” Much of the suffering voiced was common: most of the women had to support their families as they moved from house to house, not being able to come up with the rent for a more permanent space, and many women experienced severe body pains, often a result of chronic stress.

Water Shortages

Last week, our friend Turpekai visited the Borderfree Center and spoke with dismay about her family’s well having gone dry. Later that morning, Inaam, one of the students in the “Street Kids School,” said that his family faces the same problem.

Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots fly near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 5, 2017. (Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)

Formerly, wells dug to depths of 20 to 30 meters were sufficient to reach the water table. But now, with the water table dropping an average of one meter a year, new wells must be dug to depths of 80 meters or more. Inflowing refugees create increased demands on the water table in times of drought and so do the extravagant water needs of an occupying military, and the world’s largest fortified embassy, that can dig as deep for water as it wants.

Families living on less than $2 a day have little wherewithal to dig deep wells or begin paying for water. The water has been lost to war.

Sarah Ball, a nurse from Chicago, arrived in Kabul one week ago. Together we visited the Emergency Surgical Center for Victims of War, feeling acutely grateful for an opportunity to donate blood and hear an update from one of their logistical coordinators about new circumstances they encounter in Kabul.

In past visits to Kabul, staff at the Emergency Hospital would point happily to their volleyball court, the place where they could find diversion and release from tensions inherent in their life saving work. Now, as an average of two “mass casualties” happen each week, often involving many dozens of patients severely injured by war, a triage unit has replaced the volleyball court. Kabul, formerly one of the safest places in Afghanistan, has now become one of the most dangerous.

The Taliban and other armed groups have vowed to continue fighting as long as the U.S. continues to occupy Afghan land, to wage attacks on Afghans and supply weapons to the various fighting factions. The United States maintains nine major bases in Afghanistan and many smaller forward operating bases.

Trump’s Continued War

Following President Trump’s announcement of an increase in U.S. troops being sent to Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported that “Direct U.S. spending on the war in Afghanistan will rise to approximately $840.7 billion if the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget is approved.”

President Donald Trump describing his policy toward the Afghan War, at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, on Aug. 21, 2017. (Screenshot from

What on earth have they accomplished?!

Masoumah asked each mother a second question: What are you thankful for? The atmosphere became a little less grim as many of the mothers said they were grateful for their children. Beholding the lively, bright and beautiful youngsters who fill the Borderfree Center each Friday, I could well understand their gratitude.

The following day, we joined two dozen young girls living in a squalid refugee camp. Crowded into a small makeshift classroom with a mud floor, our friend Nematullah taught a two-hour class focused on forming peace circles. The little girls were radiant, exuberant and eager for better futures. Nematullah later told us that all their families are internally displaced, many because of war.

I feel deeply moved by the commitment my young friends have made to reject wars and dominance, preferring instead to live simply, share resources, and help protect the environment.??Zarghuna works full-time to coordinate projects at the Border Free Center. She and Masoumah feel passionately committed to social change which they believe will be organized “from the ground up.”

I showed Zarghuna a Voices accounting sheet tallying donations entrusted to us for the Street Kids School and The Duvet Project. I wanted to assure her of grassroots support from people giving what they can.

“Big amounts of money coming from the U.S. military destroys us,” Zarghuna said. “But small amounts that are given to the people can help change lives and make them a little better.”

Kathy Kelly ([email protected]) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( In Kabul, she is the guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (

66 comments for “How Afghans View the Endless US War

  1. David Fisher
    November 4, 2017 at 11:10

    Brother John,

    When I said “no power” and “no say” I was referring to the government. I did not say that I had abdicated all control of my life. My personal life is just fine thank you.

    It is important in life to understand what is and isnt possible, and once you know this to refrain from trying the impossible, unless you enjoy exercises in futility. While exercises in futility might be looked upon as gallant or noble by some people, others see it simply as a waste of time and energy.

    I have looked around and decided that attempting to stop an out of control empire is simply not the best way to direct my energy, as I have zero chance of success. Instead I direct my energy to trying to make sure I am in the best position possible to survive the oncoming train wreck.

    Because this makes me chuckle every time I think about it I am going to share what I believe is from Dmitry Orlov (paraphrased): One who is an optimist is doomed to a life of perpetual disappointment, whereas, one who is an pessimist will at least occasionally be pleasantly surprised.

    • brother john
      November 4, 2017 at 16:56

      David Fisher –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      I understand and accept your position. In fact, due to a recent forced relocation, I chose to move onto a farm in a rural area which has a secure and abundant supply of very good freshwater, and where I can grow most of my own food. While we are not entirely self-sufficient, it would not take too much capital and labor to make it so.

      You wrote:

      “The train is out of control and will not be stopped by you, or me, or any of the American people. I am not “silently complicit”, nor do I cede my “power”. I have no say and no power, I never did, and I never will. And neither do you.”

      Clearly you feel powerless to affect change outside of your own life and have chosen to retreat from the larger world in an attempt to ride out the coming tumult. This is your right. But you also clearly extend your complete fatalist capitulation to the rest of us. That is not your right.

      Can not one make choices that will enhance the chances of personal survival while also working to make the larger world a better place?

      This is not an either or situation, is it?

      [Btw, if you pay taxes to the corrupt and genocidal federal government, then you are (silent or not) complicit in it.]

      Through my observations of human nature and my study of the Enneagram I have learned that human beings have a wide range in both personality and world view, and the latter almost always flows from the former. This is what makes humans so infinitely interesting and beautiful. It can also make them frustratingly difficult to understand and nearly impossible to deal with at times.

      Intention affects outcome. It has been my experience that, all other things being equal, if you expect to fail then you will fail.

      Yes, I am an idealist, but my idealism is grounded in an ever-deepening understanding of reality. I was very well loved as a child and believe in the power of LOVE. I realized at a very young age that I could not be truly free unless everyone was truly free.

      At times I have briefly considered leaving the United States and finding a quiet place to live out my days in relative peace. But it is abundantly clear to me now that, unless action is taken, the coming cataclysm will be of a magnitude and pervasiveness that no one will be able to hide from it.

      Every human is a free moral agent, with the power of choice.

      I make choices based on my belief in the power of LOVE and because I don’t see the point in living in any other way.

      We are all brothers and sisters in one, global, dysfunctional family. Only by working together can we make our collective future better and create the world we all need and desire.

      In truth and for justice (and peace, and with love),

      John W. Wright

      • David Fisher
        November 5, 2017 at 08:18

        You are starting to get on my nerves John.

        “[Btw, if you pay taxes to the corrupt and genocidal federal government, then you are (silent or not) complicit in it.]” It amazes me that I have to explain the relationship all of us have with the federal government vis-a-vis taxes. It works like this, the feds say pay this amount in taxes, if you dont we will imprison you, and take all your belongings. If you resist this attempt at imprisonment or forfeiture, we will kill you. Forced compliance does not make me complicit.

        ” But you also clearly extend your complete fatalist capitulation to the rest of us. That is not your right.” Really John? People like you drive me crazy. In your mind you are a righteous social justice warrior selflessly doing battle to save the world, but in reality your actions are clearly nothing more than virtue signalling. I get it, you are good because you are trying to change … something, and I am bad because I refuse to partake in a hopelessly doomed exercise.

        If tilting at windmills gives meaning to your life, go for it, I wont interfere. But, dont tell me or anyone else who doesnt wish to do what you want to do, that we are morally inferior.

        • brother john
          November 6, 2017 at 01:10

          David Fisher –

          I hope that you and yours are well.

          You seem to be misreading what I’m writing, and your selective quotes are very telling. Let me quote my own posts:

          “I understand and accept your position.” “Clearly you feel powerless to affect change outside of your own life and have chosen to retreat from the larger world in an attempt to ride out the coming tumult. This is your right.”

          I made it quite clear that I not only understand your position, but accept it. I also made it clear that you have a right to your position, as I do mine.

          What I will not except is someone telling me what I can and can’t do and trying to convince me that I’m powerless, which you seem to think is your right. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Or, rather, please clarify or correct what you wrote above:

          ” I have no say and no power, I never did, and I never will. And neither do you.”

          “And neither do you,” being what I take particular exception to.

          As for paying taxes, I stopped paying federal income tax back in 2002, they harassed me for seven years via phone calls and mail and I let them know that I welcomed my day in court. I haven’t heard a thing from them in years, although an upcoming windfall may bring them around again, which I also welcome.

          Clearly we all have a choice to make as to whether we do or don’t pay taxes, like anything else. I’m fully aware of the potential consequences and understand why many, if not most, people would not also choose this path.

          Regarding your morality, that is your business. If my pointing out that your taxes pay for genocide doesn’t sit well with you, then maybe you have something to examine within yourself.

          Btw, how can you presume to know what’s in my mind?

          The fact remains that paying taxes to a totally corrupt government that is actively committing genocide is a form of complicity in the crime(s).

          Perhaps if more people were aware of the level of criminality their government was involved in, then more would work for non-violent change. Perhaps if more people realized that they do have a choice, that every moment represents an opportunity, then they would understand their true power.

          I recall a group of people who refused to pay taxes because they didn’t feel represented. Do you feel represented?

          Imagine if 30% of U.S. taxpayers refused to pay their taxes. Would the government imprison millions of people? Would they kill said millions of non-taxpayers?

          I also find it quite odd whenever anyone advocates apathy as it seems to be an oxymoron.

          Finally, I happen to like windmills

          I’m sorry to hear about your nerves, perhaps you haven’t quite made peace with your decision(s)?

          In truth and for justice (and peace),

          John W. Wright

  2. fuster
    November 4, 2017 at 04:48

    the people of Afghanistan are indeed victims, but they were at war for more than a generation before the Taliban brought the US into the country

    and it is to be borne in mind that the US came to invade Afghanistan for good and just cause.

    it’s not “a US war” that they’re experiencing ……. it’s an Islamist war …brought to them courtesy of the Taliban and Al Qaeda

    • brother john
      November 4, 2017 at 17:52

      fuster –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      The U.S./Saudi funded mujaheddin came into being in the summer of 1979 when Operation Cyclone was initiated. At the time the people of Afghanistan enjoyed relative peace, growing prosperity and gender equality.

      A small, but well funded, faction of the mujaheddin were led by Osama bin Laden, a native of Saudi Arabia. This group came to be known as “al Qaeda”.

      The “Taliban” were another faction of the mujaheddin fighting against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul. Their principal backers were and are Pakistan’s ISI. In the chaos which followed the collapse of the internationally recognized national government, the “Taliban” fought a prolonged war with the independent Northern Alliance. The “Taliban” took control of Kabul in September of 1996.

      It’s worth noting that Osama bin Laden relocated to the Sudan in 1991 and didn’t return to Afghanistan until 1996, when the Clinton administration forced the Sudanese government to deport him, even though they had him under near complete surveillance.

      It’s also worth noting that following the events of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden publicly denied being involved and that the Taliban offered to surrender him to the United States if presented evidence of his involvement. Such evidence has never been provided. Thus, the preplanned U.S. invasion was neither warranted nor legal.

      At present, there are at least 14,000 U.S. troops occupying Afghanistan.

      In truth, and for justice and peace,

      John W. Wright

      • fuster
        November 4, 2017 at 23:34

        the Soviet Union had their puppets overthrow the Afghan government in 1978… should know that before mistakenly asserting that the US started the interference in Afghanistan…..

        you also should know that the Soviets and their Afghan puppets assassinated the US Ambassador to Afghanistan in February 79
        that you prevent from again ignorantly asserting the garbage about how things were all peaches and cream and the US was the aggressor.

        you seem so nice that it’s a shame that you are pulling things out yer butt due to an insufficiency of fact and understanding

        • brother john
          November 6, 2017 at 03:38

          fuster –

          I hope that you and yours are well.

          I never said that the Soviets didn’t interfere in Afghanistan.

          FTR: Adolph “Spike” Dubs (August 4, 1920 – February 14, 1979) was the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan from May 13, 1978, until his death in 1979. He was murdered during a rescue attempt after his kidnapping.

          Thus, Ambassador Dubs was not assassinated, as you claim, but was murdered during an ill-advised rescue attempt after being kidnapped. While the entire affair remains a mystery, there is some indication that he was kidnapped in order to secure the release of three Afghans.

          I have also never asserted that “things were all peaches and cream” in Afghanistan in the mid-to-late 1970’s.

          Facts matter, and the fact is that it is the United States government who is responsible, along with the Saudis, for spending billions on weapons and importing foreign fighters to inflict decades of death and destruction on the Afghani people. Additionally, and most significantly, the U.S. is the only one to have used depleted Uranium weapons there, a clear war crime that will poison the land and people for hundreds of years.

          In truth and for justice,

          John W. Wright

          • fuster
            November 8, 2017 at 15:19

            the use of depleted uranium is not any sort of crime and there is no scientific evidence that depleted uranium munitions are harmful to anyone except at the time of explosion

            your claim that such spent shells will poison the land is NOT based on fact.

            your claim that Dubs was NOT assassinated is simply ridiculous

  3. Broompilot
    November 3, 2017 at 18:18

    Seldom do we get to hear the voices of the truly suffering. Take this piece by Ms Kelly and multiply it a zillion times for every neighborhood in every battle zone in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and all the refuge communities created from this insanity. Truly emotionally overwhelming.

  4. stan
    November 3, 2017 at 12:19

    It is very sad what the Western British Empire has done to the people of Afghanastan. The war actually started about 1980 when Reagan (Party of Lincoln) began funding the “freedom fighters” in Afghanastan to “draw the Soviets into their own Vietnam”. There is a lot of blood on somebody’s hands.

    • brother john
      November 3, 2017 at 20:34

      stan –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      The destruction of Afghanistan began in earnest when Zbigniew Brzezinski convinced President Carter to authorize and fund Operation Cyclone in the late Spring of 1979. I suspect part of the reason Carter has worked so hard for peace since leaving office is his deep regret for getting bamboozled by Brzezinski and initiating the destruction of Afghanistan. Note that Afghanistan is the key to Brzezinski’s geostrategic vision. He wrote, in his book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives”, that any country wanting to dominate the world needed to control Eurasia, and the key to controlling Eurasia is controlling central Asia and the key to controlling central Asia is Afghanistan.

      It is also noteworthy, and not coincidental, that at almost the same time in 1979 Benjamin Netanyahu hosted the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism (JCIT) which was basically a very focused meeting on how to market the concept of “radical Islamic terrorism”. The 1979 JCIT was attended by some very prominent members of the Anglo-American Deep State, including George H. W. Bush.

      While it is certainly true that Operation Cyclone went on steroids during the Reagan years, it got started at the very end of the Carter Administration. As far as I can tell it remains ongoing and has spread to several other countries in the Middle East and Africa.

      In truth and for justice,

      John W. Wright

    • fuster
      November 4, 2017 at 04:50

      stan, you silly s#it. the war in Afghanistan started before Reagan was elected and it was caused by the Soviet Union who invaded the place.

      are you always bassackwards?

      • Herman
        November 4, 2017 at 08:08

        Others might want to go back to what Afghanistan was like before Carter decided to intervene. Lots of books around, I think. I asked myself the same question, what was Afghanistan like before Carter and Brezhinski? Sometimes Patricia finds a book in the library talking about that time. The Peace Corps was in Afghanistan in the 70’s and a lady in the Peace Corps wrote about it. Kabul was a pretty city then, there was a struggle for power; Afghanistan was a monarchy but the place looked beautiful. Russia undoubtedly had their hands in change but the catastrophe that is Afghanistan was caused by our decision to repay the USSR for Vietnam. Sad as all that was, when the country was destroyed with our intervention, when the Taliban insurgency began and the struggle was internal, we didn’t lift a finger until 9/11. When we pull out, which we will do, we won’t lift a finger to help unless there is some reason other than the suffering of the Afghan people.

        • fuster
          November 4, 2017 at 23:19

          Herman, what Afghanistan was like before Carter decided to intervene was a place that had been invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union………. who the hell would want to be back to that????????????

          what twaddle you spew

      • brother john
        November 4, 2017 at 13:16

        fuster –

        I hope that you and yours are well.

        Please see my comment above and amend it to include the fact that Operation Cyclone began a full six months before the Soviets were invited in by the government of Afghanistan to help them deal with their growing, foreign funded “terrorism” problem.

        Thus, the Soviet Union did not invade Afghanistan.

        While this historical meme is firmly lodged in the American mind field, in large part due to the book and big budget movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War”, it is demonstrably untrue, like far too much of the history taught in the U.S.A.

        Most of the people of Afghanistan know this, and this is why they don’t trust us and our occupation their is totally unwelcome.

        In truth and for justice,

        John W. Wright

  5. mike k
    November 3, 2017 at 09:23

    This brief article by PCR is worth pondering, as are the Saker’s comments on it at his site:

  6. geeyp
    November 3, 2017 at 03:33

    Just to add, I refer to domestic main stream news sites (NYT, Wapo, CNN, MSN, Yahoo, etc.).

  7. geeyp
    November 3, 2017 at 00:52

    One can rack their synapses trying to get this pain and suffering to stop NOW in country and out. To make the uncaring of this land see what we are doing to our selves and to others half way around the world where only RT goes to show on their newscasts. To cut this idea short, and I am not in favor of hacking; domestic news sites might find their front pages taken over and plastered with stories and images like this at some point. A rather nice, no one hurt, type of f-ing protest.

  8. mike k
    November 2, 2017 at 19:27

    The enneagram and Gurdjieff work are among the many very helpful paths I have been involved in.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    November 2, 2017 at 12:59

    Such a sad state of affairs, and yet how many Americans know about this, or stop to ponder the painstaking strive these Afghanistan citizens have been put through over the longest war America has ever engaged itself in. After reading this, I pity the poor fellow American slob who while having a conversation with me about such tragedies as what is happening in Afghanistan, and then the slob makes the remark, ‘we should just blow them up and turn their sand into glass’, as this comment may get the ignorant slob a bust in the mouth. How in the hell, can we Americans, and our MSM, live with such American made destruction? Yet all you hear coming out of Washington is more of the same. Like deregulate to make business more profitable, and regulate the news media to keep America safe from Russian interference, is all you hear. While Afghanistan may severely lack an economy or a suitable infrastructure, the U.S. is totally void of any humanitarian ethnics. Lastly, with America having such a track record as it has earned, I ask you then how can any God be on our side?

    • brother john
      November 2, 2017 at 13:49

      Joe Tedesky –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      A sad state of affairs, indeed.

      There are many things you can do call attention to this, and all the other, ongoing U.S. projects of destruction. Simply talking to people about it as often as you can will begin to change the collective consciousness. Wearing a t-shirt with a message like “U.S. Out of Afghanistan” or “Stop the genocide in Afghanistan” will make people think and start some conversations. Writing letters to the editor and posting signs or letters on telephone poles for people to read (one of my personal favorites) can also begin to shift people’s thinking.

      When you do come across folks whose minds have been taken over by the endless brainwashing and propaganda we are exposed to on a daily basis, I would encourage you to not resort to physical violence. Violence only begets more violence. Even verbal violence is counter-productive. While I can empathize with your anger, take that energy and do something constructive with it. You will find it a truly beautiful and freeing experience.

      Much of the distress we see in U.S. society is due to the violence we inflict on ourselves and each other, both directly and indirectly, and much of it is a consequence of the extreme violence our country perpetrates throughout the world.

      We, collectively, are both the problem and the solution. That is the nature of the human condition.

      In truth and for justice and peace,

      John W. Wright

      • Skip Scott
        November 2, 2017 at 14:34

        brother john-

        Thank you so much for these profound comments and your work for peace. I will strive to be a better person because of what you write. I have inherited a bit of a temper, and I have been working for years to try to rein it in, yet I fail again and again when I come up against so much idiocy and self-centeredness that we find among the privileged classes in the USA. You and mike k are two of the wisest voices here at the CN comment section. Your words alone already help build a better world.

        • mike k
          November 2, 2017 at 15:25

          Thanks Skip. I count you too as among those here who are working for a world at peace. It may not seem so to some who see our “muck raking” efforts to expose the criminals in our society, but this is a necessary part of making the world a better place for all of us.

        • brother john
          November 2, 2017 at 18:49

          Skip Scott –

          I hope that you and yours are well.

          I’m grateful and humbled that my words inspire you.

          I think it important to always keep in mind that we humans are inherently irrational, thus we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when we’re less than perfect or our emotions get the better of us. All we can do is strive to make every day better, both by being more aware of ourselves and how we impact each other and the world. If I may be a bit presumptuous, I highly recommend investigating the Enneagram, as I have found it both endlessly fascinating and incredibly useful. Here’s a link to a very good site:

          We are all brothers and sisters in one, very large, dysfunctional family.

          In truth, for justice and peace, and in solidarity,

          John W. Wright

          • mike k
            November 2, 2017 at 19:25

            “We are all brothers and sisters in one, very large, dysfunctional family.” I love that. That’s a keeper for me. Thanks John W.

          • David Fisher
            November 3, 2017 at 10:58

            “One big advantage the war party has is the public’s ignorance about the activities of the far-flung American empire. Although frustrating, that ignorance is easy to understand and has been explained countless times by writers in the public choice tradition. Most people are too busy with their lives, families, and communities to pay the close attention required to know that the empire exists and what it is up to. The opportunity cost of paying attention is huge, considering that the payoff is so small: even a well-informed individual could not take decisive action to rein in the out-of-control national security state. One vote means nothing, and being knowledgeable about the U.S. government’s nefarious foreign policy is more likely to alienate friends and other people than influence them. Why give up time with family and friends just so one can be accused of “hating America”?

            I forgot to write down the persons name who wrote that, but I read it a few days ago. That in a nutshell sums up the situation precisely. The train is out of control and will not be stopped by you, or me, or any of the American people. I am not “silently complicit”, nor do I cede my “power”. I have no say and no power, I never did, and I never will. And neither do you.

          • brother john
            November 3, 2017 at 23:07

            David Fisher –

            I hope that you and yours are well.

            As I seem to be unable to comment to your comment directly, I will do so here.

            I have participated in online forums for almost two decades and the saddest comments I come across or of those who profess their belief that they are powerless to change things, be it their employment prospects, their health or the state of the world we all inhabit.

            I have played teams sports my entire life. Never once did I say to myself “there’s no point in playing, I can’t change the outcome of the game.” Even the few times I was not a starting player and was relegated to the bench, I chose not to be silent, but to root my teammates on.

            My Scottish, Irish, English and German ancestors chose to leave their homes to come to North America in search of a better life. Some came just after the Mayflower and others not until the 1880’s. But they came and worked to improve their condition and the future prospects of their progeny.

            I’m afraid that history stands against your statement. How do you explain the movements led by Gandhi, MLK, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Lech Walesa, to name just a few? Were they not able to alter the course of history against great odds?

            Yes, the fight against ignorance and fear is challenging, sometimes it seems impossible, but to give up without a fight is not the answer. Among other things, I have done street activism for fifteen years on what is probably the most unpopular issue in the United States, so I have a lot of experience in dealing with resistance, denial and outright hostility. I’ve had people attempt to start fights with me, try to intimidate me physically (not easy since I’m six feet tall and a trained athlete), as well as call me every name in the book. I’ve also had retired members of the military thank me for my work, even though it is often framed as “unpatriotic” and anti-American.

            I have two daughters, many nieces and nephews and a few grand nieces. I expect to have grandchildren one day and hope to live to see my great-grandchildren one day. Do you have any children? Would you also tell them that there’s nothing that they can do to change their lives?

            If “the train is out of control”, then stop shoveling coal, derail it, jump off, radio ahead and have it diverted.

            Odd that you took the time to post “I have no say”.

            What has brought you to this point in your life?

            Have you truly abdicated all control, all choice?

            I have known some very low points in my life. When I finally conceded that my marriage was over, that there was no chance of reconciliation, I felt completely empty and saw no point in living. Then I reconnected with my core self and embraced anew the incredible power of LOVE and chose to get on with my life.

            The only time that doing nothing makes sense is when there’s nothing to do.

            I have yet to know such a time in my life or in my studies of human history.

            In truth and for justice (and with love),

            John W. Wright

          • November 4, 2017 at 10:35

            “inherently irrational”? Debatable.

          • brother john
            November 4, 2017 at 12:45

            BannanaBoat –

            I hope that you and yours are well.

            I would welcome a debate on whether human beings are inherently rational or irrational, but said debate is far outside the original topic of this thread (“How Afghans view the endless U.S. war”). I would be happy to conduct this debate via email, if you like.

            That said, let me leave you with a thought experiment to ponder: If human beings are inherently rational, how do explain the human condition and our relationship with the biological world?

            Please note that I am not arguing that all humans are irrational all the time. If this were the case, science wouldn’t exist.

            In truth and for justice,

            John W. Wright

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 3, 2017 at 08:02

        I appreciate your sound advice brother john. Although except for the T-shirt I am a cool breeze when it comes to my passing the word around. My comment may make me sound unhinged, but I’m really very calm, and no I won’t resort to physical violence.

        Your advice is good, and brother john I hope to see you continue to post your comments on this site, because you are an oasis in spirit, and many people need that kind of spirit to listen too in these days of confusion and anxiety. Joe

    • Realist
      November 3, 2017 at 01:28


      Americans understand no further than, “such and such a country disagrees with America, stands in opposition to America, obstructs what America wants, and allies itself with America’s ‘enemies’ (which quite naturally are the “evil” countries of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, a bunch of Middle Eastern Muslims and some revolutionary Latin Americans–you know this because you’ve been told it a million times by the gov and the MSM). Moreover, all these bad guys purportedly want to fight us, keep threatening war with us and jockying their military forces around in ways that threaten us, our “friends” and our interests. They are so bad and so persistent. They reject our outreach, our generosity and friendship. So, what can we do? They force our hand. They make us fight them.

      We only defend ourselves. Wasn’t that explained carefully enough? How bin Laden and Saddam were going to team up and deploy massive WMD’s upon American shores within only a few minutes warning time? That’s what the American people were told in the run up to Shock and Awe, and they believed it because they still trust our beneficent leadership. After 75 years of crying “the Bolsheviks are coming!” America is still willing to believe the worst about “Russia” twenty-five years after that multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, polyglot country (every bit as diverse as “the melting pot” of the United States of America where we all live in fraternal harmony, liberty and equality) stood down, dissolved the Soviet Union, switched to democracy, switched to neoliberal capitalism and ended the Cold War. The neocons in charge of this land still love the Cold War and they have made sure, using every rhetorical device and trick of the mass media, that the average American couch potato does too. Yes, Joe, an awful lot of Americans wouldn’t “ponder” any longer than to reflexively spit out “just nuke ’em and be done with it!” See, foreign policy is not so hard.

      • Seer
        November 3, 2017 at 02:03

        Realist, there’s little else to be said. All well stated!

        I recall this one older guy at some peace rallies who would only hold up a sign reading “Think!” I like the guy but felt frustrated with his seemingly lacking info-sign. After quite some time I realized that it really does come down to this, that the “problem” is that people let others thing for them. Anyway, as my brain got twisting around on all of this I came to see it as a matter of putting out a question, that people need to be presented with a simple question on which they would have to ponder. The aim would be to create an “ear worm,” folks would have a hard time not thinking of this question. So, here goes:

        “What resources are under their feet?

        For every attempt by the ruling elite to obfuscate and distract from their monstrous deeds we need to shout out the question: “What resources are under their feet?”

        I think that this could paint the picture that would be hard to cover up.

        • Joe Tedesky
          November 3, 2017 at 07:54

          Seer, what started me along this journey to search out the truth, was ‘Thinking’. I was like most Americans who were under the belief that a suicide bomber in the Middle East was just plum crazy. Then one day I thought long and hard to how bad of a life a person would have to have in order for this person to follow through with such a dastardly operation as them killing their self. This thinking led me to start reading, and my reading uncovered more than I had ever thought I’d undercover when starting out on this journey for my finding out to just how bad it is of a life of those ducking, and to the not so lucky to have missed a bomb, of how these American led wars are in no better words, just plain evil. In fact with the scuttle butt going on in America over this latest terrorist attack, it is evident we Americans got to start ‘Thinking’ more often, and for us to blame the right things. Joe

          • Realist
            November 3, 2017 at 23:42

            Some people never learn how to think, Joe, while others never stop thinking, not even when they try to sleep. First they must know how things are, then that progresses to why things are, and finally to how to change the things that don’t seem right or fair or can be made better. Thinkers have basically engaged in the process all their lives and couldn’t stop if they were ordered to do so. They certainly wouldn’t want to, as the process simply describes their very nature. This drive to think, to understand and to solve problems is what drives most of the regulars to this blog on a daily basis. At least, I think so.

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 3, 2017 at 07:38

        Possibly Realist I should aim my frustration, and my dramatic flare for emphasizing it at the MSM instead of the American people. In many ways over the years, as I look back I have seen some change in a few of my social acquaintances. Recently one of my friends told me of how he had thought of me when he read Orwell’s 1984. This fellow isn’t the only one in my circle that I have seen to them starting to wake up, but what is overbearing is trying to shout over the MSM loud enough to be heard. I blame the MSM for this country’s divide.

        You can identify rather quickly what cable news channel stays on too long in any house just by the way a person talks. If they want to impeach Trump over ‘Russia interference’ then this citizen watchs CNN or MSNBC. The ones who want to ‘lock her up’ watch FOX. This constant drumbeat over Russian interference is a drip drip drip campaign as it is fashioned no better the process than if Joseph Goebbels was doing himself.

        I’m starting to believe that the best side to take, is to stand off to side, and to simply be an observer. Not an observer who does nothing, but an observer who realizes how there are no good guys and gals in DC, and be an observer who speaks to this dilemma, as others grow in their disappointment as they are seeing their side fail. It is just a matter of time until this ‘House of Cards’ comes crashing down, and with that we all can only hope Americans like us will someday soon come to their senses. Joe

      • mike k
        November 3, 2017 at 07:44

        Excellent comment as usual Realist. Your first paragraph is a classic description of the psychological game abusers play. “You made me punish you because you are so bad, you brought my righteous anger on yourself by your defiant behavior. If you had totally complied with my demands for you to be good, I would not have needed to attack you. My punishment of you is only intended to put you on the right path – total subservience to my wishes.” This was the dramatic theme of the movie Good Will Hunting – the protagonist had bought into his abusive father’s rant that he was bad, and beating him with a hammer was something he deserved. The whole goal of an abuser, and the USA, is to crush the independence and self esteem of those it seeks to dominate, to make them accept “Western Values” – or else!

    • Ol' Hippy
      November 3, 2017 at 10:42

      Thanx, Joe. This painful reality is largely ignored or denied by the masses. If the ‘truth’ was more accessible many more people would be appalled by what the US government actually does. I grew up during the ‘Nam and have been a pacifist ever since but what really can we all do? That’s the painful question we need answered.

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 3, 2017 at 23:55

        I know it must get tiring Ol’ Hippy, but just think of how you have conducted yourself in this life, by being an advocate for peace. To be a person of peace is not in anyway a peaceful venture to pursue, by a long shot. Especially when it is so much easier just to go along with the crowd, as to eagerly jump aboard the bannered decorated war bandwagon, and to portray yourself as a true American patriot, but you resisted that. Where you could have qualified to pin medals upon your proud and patriotic chest, you instead preferred to live a much simpler and humble life for this is where the seeds of peace are planted. I have said this about myself, but by your comments I can see you will understand this as I say; if I am to but have only one life to live, then I’d rather be known for myself being a devoted peace advocate for the time I had walked upon this earth. It’s one thing to win a war by destruction, but it’s so much better to avoid the awful destruction of war through peace.

        You end your comment by asking, ‘what can we do’, and I’ll answer you Ol’ Hippy by telling you, ‘you have been doing it all along’. Hang it there, you are making a difference, you already have effected many around you, and you just may not know it. Joe

  10. john wilson
    November 2, 2017 at 12:37

    One years worth of the the American expenditure on the military properly spent, could put Afghanistan back on its feet. Actually, the same amount of money being spent in the US could do wonders for people who are homeless or living in poverty. The greed of the elite in Washington, New York and elsewhere looks like Parana fish on heat. They hoover up the worlds resources like giant baleen Whales feeding on krill. Their insatiable lust for power is like a swarm of gorillas fighting and vying for the top branch in the forest. Even worse, if these mad buggars can’t get their way they are willing to blow up the whole planet in a fit of petulant temper. If the anti Christ ever does come to visit earth or indeed is already here, then the elite in Washington must surely be his vanguard paving the way for the horror to come. Put another way, politicians are total rsoles who should be cast adrift on an iceberg on its way to the equator.

    • brother john
      November 2, 2017 at 13:26

      john wilson –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      I couldn’t agree more that the insane amount of fake money spent on the destruction of our brothers and sisters, both within the U.S. and abroad, is obscene beyond description.

      However, while the elites do mislead and surround themselves in luxury, it is ultimately the choices made by the vast majority of the non-elite classes that allows this inhuman situation to persist. Until we realize, individually and collectively, our responsibility for the perpetuation of this self-destructive insanity we are witting and unwitting accomplices in it.

      The elites only have power because we cede it to them. As long as we play along with the time tested ruse of divide, conquer and rule, we will see no real change to our collective plight on this beautiful, blue green ball we all call home.

      I would encourage you to join the reality-based peace movement and help co-create the world we all want, need and deserve.

      As a very wise man once said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

      We are all in this together and mother nature’s clock is ticking ever faster.

      In truth and for justice and peace,

      John W. Wright

      • Seer
        November 2, 2017 at 23:26

        “The elites only have power because we cede it to them.”

        And there it is!

        We need to withdraw our energy from them.

      • November 4, 2017 at 10:32

        The Parasites, ( elite has positive connotations), use brutalization unto death to maintain power only a very small percentage of blame rests on the victims ( think domestic abuse).

        • brother john
          November 4, 2017 at 12:33

          BannanaBoat –

          I hope that you and yours are well.

          Parasites are not in control and die with the host. The corrupt elites have many tools of control, with “brutalization unto death” being a last resort in most cases, as it is often counter-productive and thus ineffective in most cases.

          In domestic abuse, the abused is complicit by not choosing to severe the relationship as soon as the nature of the relationship becomes apparent. The fact that so many people remain in abusive relationships simply underscores the fact that human beings are inherently irrational [ a simple rejoinder to your comment below].

          In truth and for justice,

          John W. Wright

    • Anon
      November 2, 2017 at 18:36

      I was thinking of Club Fed Guantanamo, but like your iceberg suggestion. The ICC would be suitable, or simply rendering them to their victims for prosecution, public service, dog food, or whatever they please.

  11. brother john
    November 2, 2017 at 12:11

    Kathy Kelly –

    I hope that you and yours are well.

    Thank you for working for peace in a place that so desperately deserves it.

    The U.S. war on Afghanistan and its people began in the summer of 1979 with the initiation of Operation Cyclone. Thus, the woes of the gracious and humble Afghani people due to U.S. intervention, both direct and indirect, have been going on for 38 years.

    When viewed objectively, U.S. policy in Afghanistan amounts to nothing less than ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    It is long past time that the American people realize the utter depravity of what their government has done and force it to withdraw in as non-destructive a way as possible and then attempt to make amends to these proud and noble people whose rich and varied culture has been all but destroyed by this sociopathic madness.

    I can think of no better amends than to fund the construction of a railway to connect Afghanistan to a port city, possibly in Iran, but more likely in Pakistan.

    On a personal note: one of the reasons why I refuse to pay federal income tax is my unwillingness to underwrite the barbarity the Anglo-American Empire has inflicted upon Afghanistan. Don’t be surprised if I contact you directly before the end of the year to inquire as to where, and to whom, I should contribute my withheld tax money in order to support the peaceful rebuilding of the country and the rehabilitation of its beautiful people.

    Thanks again for all your hard work on this issue.

    In truth and for justice,

    John W. Wright

    • mike k
      November 2, 2017 at 12:59

      Thanks for your comments John. Unless all of us have the courage and compassion to look at the nightmare our USA is perpetrating around the world, and do what we can to alleviate and terminate those horrors, then we are silently complicit in this holocaust.

    • November 7, 2017 at 08:13

      Thanks, John. I’m also a war tax refuser. I hope younger generations in Afghanistan can continue
      trying to connect with one another guided by the maxim they’ve so often quoted in gatherings:
      “blood cannot wash away blood.”


      Kathy Kelly

  12. mike k
    November 2, 2017 at 11:59

    It hurts me to realize that the United States where I live is the greatest source of pain and suffering in the world. It tells me that I need to do more to help heal some of this pain. I will get in touch with Kathy Kelly’s group.

    • brother john
      November 2, 2017 at 12:13

      mike k –

      I hope that you and yours are well.

      BRAVO ! ! !

      In truth and for justice (and solidarity),

      John W. Wright

    • Realist
      November 2, 2017 at 16:54

      Mike, 21st century American wars are like no other this country has fought. Rather than being wars with the purpose of defeating an enemy, eliminating some limited defined danger to American citizens, signing a peace treaty and withdrawing to our own homeland, allowing the natives to rule themselves, these “wars” are more like the actions of an empire–like the Roman Empire or the British Empire–that assumes the entire world is composed merely of provinces that Washington rules from afar and we periodically send our legions in to put down unrest amongst the populace, to change out their leadership whom we handpick for them, or simply to reinforce in their minds who is the boss of their country. We do it for the resources and the wealth, not the indigenous people whose lives and rights mean nothing to us, and whose attempts to defend themselves are characterised as “terrorism.”

      Surely our arrogant insolence must be hated even in Mexico and Canada. Can anyone have been a nicer neighbor to the ingrates in Cuba? Sixty years of keeping food and medicine out of the wrong hands in that country out of pure altruism and they thank us by zapping our “diplomats” with mysterious incapacitating ultra-sonic waves from out of a science fiction novel? Nothing we do is appreciated, but, fortunately for the world, we are persistent. They will be ruled even if it kills them all… and us. The world is still the “White Man’s Burden,” even if it is politically incorrect to say so. [For those wandering over from Democratic Underground or the like, the latter was sarcasm.]

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 2, 2017 at 18:10

        I like that, that our civilization is just a continuation of Christopher Columbus.

      • Sam F
        November 2, 2017 at 18:32

        I quite agree, with a minor variation, that it seems that our wars since WWII have been attributable less to grabbing “resources and wealth” than to (1) the arrogant ignorance of anti-communist demagogues financed by the oligarchy, who must create foreign enemies to pose falsely as protectors to demand power, and to accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty; and (2) in the Mideast, the zionists and their opportunists in business, and their campaign bribes to politicians, and control of mass media.

        We have subverted many Latin American republics, for example in the name of United Fruit and some oil companies, but most often we have been attacking socialism abroad as an obsession of US oligarchy. We can get resources from South America or Africa as the Chinese do, by investing in development and making aid grants.

        In the Mideast, it appears that we can purchase oil from whomever has it like everyone else, at the same price, without supporting KSA et al.

        • Seer
          November 2, 2017 at 23:21

          Sam, no, make no mistake about it, the wars are STILL about resources (as they all are). It’s about positioning for the next big grab: many times it’s to clear a delivery/transport path/route, but that’s in support OF resource grabs.

          • Realist
            November 3, 2017 at 00:53

            You bet, Seer. Right now, it’s largely to procure pipeline routes and access to rare earth elements used in all modern digital electronics, obstruct Russian energy and technology trade with Europe, put the kibosh on China’s OBOR initiative, threaten shipping routes in the South China Sea and block Chinese trade for raw materials in Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific. Really, Washington doesn’t give a shit about the quality of life or “political freedom” of the people in whose countries they are doing all the fighting. More often than not, Washington destroys democracies, rather than create or preserve them. It really wouldn’t take much for Americans to notice what’s really going down, but they don’t, whether out of stupidity, indifference or brainwashing.

        • Herman
          November 4, 2017 at 02:12

          Sam, I agree with you. Commercial exploitation is a big part by a small group in the United States but it doesn’t explain our fanaticism against enemies, which we go out of our way to create. Why are we clashing with Russia when Russia openly has asked to work with us. It can be explained by Zionism’s manipulation of our foreign policy, but that doesn’t explain it entirely either. Exploitation of resources. I always find that a strange reason since countries that possess resources cannot afford to withhold them for long periods of time because they need the money and alternative resources are out there, the countries anxious to do business. What was Iraq going to do with the oil? There are reasons, of course, but none can totally explain the attitudes of the McCain’s and Graham’s fully. I watched a hearing briefly on tv in which Senator Leahy and Franken were berating Facebook, Twitter and Google about why they couldn’t provide numbers of voters lost be Clinton by Russian interference. It was like a Saturday Night skit. It was also sad.

          • brother john
            November 6, 2017 at 15:47

            Herman –

            I hope that you and yours are well.

            The Anglo part of the Anglo-American Empire has always worked to keep first Russia, then the Soviet Union, and now Russia again, in its place. The Brits have always feared that the greater resources and population base would allow the Eurasian colossus to supplant their empire and dominate the world.

            The primary Geo-strategic reason that the September 11, 2001 False Flag had to appear to have been launched from Afghanistan is that the Anglo-American Empire needed a long-term base in central Asia in order to more effectively destabilize both Russia and China. Afghanistan was both geographically perfect and the easiest country to first weaken and then invade and occupy.

            Yet another reason is that if Russia is treated equitably, then their energy sector will gain a greater market share and threaten the primacy of the ever-more-fragile petrodollar. Both the United States and the International banking cartel cannot allow this.

            Not all people want to exploit all of their natural resources as the industrial nations have, or at least not on the same timetable as the financial capitalists now running amuck on the planet want . I think that the people of Afghanistan have very little interest in seeing their country torn up with mining operations to get at the massive “rare earth” mineral deposits which were discovered in the 1970’s, for example. That kind of “development” is simply not culturally important to them. Thus, we see a long-term ethnic cleansing program perpetrated by outside forces to eliminate the obstacle.

            As for petroleum, there are multiple reasons for keeping it in the ground and stretching out production, all to do with prolonging the petroleum era and protecting the petrodollar’s primacy in the era of peak oil. In the case of Iraq’s massive reserves, the Gulf War put an immediate stop to new production, sanctions then prevented further development and production and the ongoing virtual U.S. occupation and chaos further inhibits production and forces Iraqi oil to be sold in dollars, all in order to prolong the primacy of the petrodollar. We see a very similar situation in Venezuela, which also has massive reserves waiting to be produced, but which is being effectively starved of the capital it needs to do so.

            One additional “benefit” is that the induced lack of supply artificially raises price and makes domestic U.S. petroleum production economically feasible, at least in the skewed reality of our present economic system.

            I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you write about the attitudes of “McCain’s and Graham’s”. Please clarify.

            I agree that the political theater now broadcasting from Washington D.C. is both sad and ever more transparently pathetic.

            In truth and for justice,

            John W. Wright

      • mike k
        November 3, 2017 at 07:25

        Wonderfully accurate and comprehensive comment Realist. If only the sleeping populace could read it and understand it’s simple truth. But they would have had to go through a process of deconstructing all the lies they have been told about themselves and their country – a lengthy and often uncomfortable process that they are averse to engaging in.

        • Ol' Hippy
          November 3, 2017 at 10:32

          I like the idea that one must go through a deconstruction of all the lies we are told as citizens. I too when through this continuing process beginning in ’14 when I got my first PC. I wept several times when I realized what the US really does around the world. I feel for these poor people caught up in these egregious “wars” the US has ongoing in Afghanistan, Syria,et al. “Waking up” was difficult and painful and I still have mental health problems but I do hope these poor souls can, somehow, find some peace and livelihood for their families. I wish I could do more than write online.

          • brother john
            November 3, 2017 at 19:17

            Ol’ Hippy –

            I hope that you and yours are well.

            My first wake up call came with Watergate, the second (and deeply painful) one was in the mid-1980’s with the Contra part of Iran-Contra. That’s when I began digging really deeply into the activities of what we now call the deep state. I have been researching into it ever since. Much of what I do at this point is working on a strategy for real peace and sustainable prosperity on a global level.

            Denial is the single greatest obstacle we, as a society, face today. Thus, the careful deconstruction of official lies in public has to be managed in a way that brings this cohort of the population along at a pace that they can understand,tolerate and accept. The most rigid of these denialists might never choose to take a critical look at the lies they readily accept to maintain their carefully protected world view. One of my brothers, a truly brilliant software engineer, is just such a person. He adamantly refuses to even look at some things. I have made peace with it and just hope that when reality finally does intrude on his fantasy world, it won’t be overwhelmingly devastating for him.

            So, what can we do as individuals to address this dysfunctional social reality we find ourselves in?

            Talk to people, ask them questions, carefully try to draw them out and get them to gradually examine what they believe and why they believe it. Find areas of agreement. Be gentle, and know that anger will always make people defensive, retreat and shut down.

            We can also work to undermine the existing power structure in a myriad of relatively simple and peaceful ways. Disconnect from the financial sector as much as possible. Join a good, local credit union and stay away from the internationally connected banks. Stay out of debt or reduce your debt as much as you can as fast as you can. Grow as much of your own food as you can, even if it’s just a few small pots of herbs, cucumbers and tomatoes on an apartment deck. Seek out people in the real world and work together (the virtual world here is very limited, yes?).

            Never stop learning. Life is learning, when we stop learning we stop living.

            Be well and stay well. Find your center and figure out how to maintain your internal balance. This is where our eternal strength comes from, this is what gives us the power to face the the incredible challenges all around us and co-create the world we really want to live in (not this artificially manufactured anti-human “civilization” we now find ourselves in).

            In truth and for justice and peace,

            John W. Wright

      • November 3, 2017 at 13:16

        Possibly only destroying ( not totally) Nazism, and War of 1812 were “considered just ” USA wars, all the others were barbaric imperialism.

    • Bob Van Noy
      November 3, 2017 at 10:15

      Thanks mike k and all of the regulars above, nice thread in response to yet another well chosen and timely article by CN.

      I just happened to be reading an entry yesterday on John McCloy who I thought I knew through past research, but I was surprised to learn of his truly “complex” past. I will add the link because it underlines the complexity of our History post WWI. A history that remains hidden and still requires unraveling. My thanks to all of you for helping in this pursuit…

    • fuster
      November 4, 2017 at 04:52

      the US has indeed caused much pain and suffering but it is ferdamsure freaking FAR from the greatest source of it.

      you’re unbalanced

      • November 4, 2017 at 10:27

        Since WW2 what nation has instigated the death of more beings beyond it’s borders than the USA?

        • fuster
          November 4, 2017 at 23:16

          the Soviet Union

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