WATCH: CN Live! — ‘Afghanistan: The 20-Year Disaster’

Pepe Escobar, Scott Horton, Scott Ritter and David McBride join CN Live! to discuss two decades of disaster in Afghanistan. Watch the replay.

The 20-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is over. Joining CN Live! to discuss why it started, why it went wrong and how it ended were Scott Horton, radio host and author of Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan (2017); Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar; former UN weapons inspector and U.S. Marines counterintelligence officer Scott Ritter and David McBride, an Australian military lawyer who served in Afghanistan and blew the whistle on war crimes there.  

Join your hosts Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria on Friday at 9 am Eastern. Produced by Cathy Vogan.



14 comments for “WATCH: CN Live! — ‘Afghanistan: The 20-Year Disaster’

  1. Albert Hall Wilson
    September 3, 2021 at 13:36

    Now we need to close most of the bases the US has around the world, and start spending money (and raising taxes on the rich) on improving the lives of the 99% of the people in the US

  2. Nathan Mulcahy
    September 3, 2021 at 08:41

    Great insights from all contributors. Thanks CN for organizing this!

    I am a great admirer of Scott Ritter. But as always, I always reserve the right to disagree with certain aspects of the opinion of someone who I admire. In this case this relates to Scott’s assessment of Biden. Scott praises certain aspects of Biden after pointing out that he is no fan of Biden.

    I too, give Biden some credit for the pullout. But that is dwarfed by his crimes and inaptitude over several decades. Here is an incomplete list.

    Biden is one of the prime initiators and enablers of this horrendous war crime. Yes, it is a war crime because the Taliban had offered to expel bin Laden’s to a third, Muslim country if the USA would provide credible evidence of his complicity in 911. But “Bush” chose to invade Afghanistan. That’s in quote marks because this crime was enabled by the complicity of the entire political establishment, of which Biden was a prime influencer. Then he was VP for 8 years, when the crime had continued. I don’t care if he had supposedly opposed a surge under Obama. He remained at the top of the administration for 8 years.

    Therefore, Biden is not an outsider, forced to choose from a list of bad options. No, he is an insider who had caused this disaster to start with.

    Then his assertion, in the introductory video, that after becoming the president, he had two options: continue the war or retreat. That obscures the fact that there are different kinds of retreat – an incompetent and chaotic one vs a well planned and coordinated one. He also lies that no such retreat can be well organized. Just remember, how the Soviet’s had done it. They had left with head held high and flags flying. And we retreated at the middle of the night (from Bagram) like thieves with our tails between the legs. Add to that the utter chaos in Kabul. This all could have been done differently and the buck stops at Biden.

    Then, as Scott himself says, the USA will be engaged in massive ground troop operations elsewhere within six months from now. But I’d say, multiple such operations are already ongoing, especially in Africa. So, what credit should I give Biden for pulling out the troops from Afghanistan and then doubling down in other places – as he has been doing throughout his 4 decades of career? NONE.

    And of course, destabilization of Afghanistan through financial blackmail, sanctions and “over the horizon” assassinations (btw, mostly of civilians snd children, as the latest event demonstrates) is what Biden is all about.

    No Joe, you get no pass from me.

      September 3, 2021 at 10:03

      Ritter was incorrect. There will be no massive, ground invasion and occupation of another nation by the US such as in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan in the next six months. He confused that with regime change, which has often taken place without a US invasion and occupation, such as in Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973 and too many other examples.

  3. Ian
    September 2, 2021 at 22:22

    I always feel more optimistic listening to Pepe, whereas Scott really emphasizes the meanness of the geopolitical/military game.

    September 2, 2021 at 21:04

    Biden voted for every dollar of the $2 trillion wasted on this outrageous war crime against poor Afghan people. BiteMe voted for every dime and now pretends he stopped something important. What about all of the suicides and opium overdoses and the wreckage of America?

  5. Afdal
    September 2, 2021 at 12:55

    Not a fan of Ritter’s heaps of praise for the US military of yore. The cold war’s military-industrial complex was just as much a graft vector as today’s and just as much an outlet for imperialist violence. In fact if you understand the cold war’s main function (maintaining the profitability of private arms industry after WWII), it never even ended. The racket continues.

  6. DW Bartoo
    September 2, 2021 at 12:35

    Threats amined at China and Russia are increasingly made by the U$ “government” actors mentioned below.

    Considering that these war & hate mongers retain power and have total acces to M$M “platforms” from which to control the narrative best suiting and serving their “interests”, it must be acknowledged that “nothing” has really “changed”, nor shall it until (and unless) actual consequence is visited upon the “creative” destructionists.

    In passing, let us note that the two-tiered “legal” system of empty law, in the U$, has just granted the Sacklers perpetual immunity for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of U$ians.

    Contrast this “decision” with the half-century (and more) of the War on Drugs, which was actually a war on reason and human beings (as are all wars), and the harm that war has done to civil society in the U$.

    Consider the political careers that “war” launched, of those who, in full “bipartisan” fashion, enacted the Powell Memorandum and, with rare exception, embraced “Full Spectrum Dominance” as the U$ military “mission”, which resulted in Forever War, even as the financial elite “legally” bought (or bribed) the federal government, coming to own it, because “money is speech” and “corporations are people”.

    Neither is true, however, they are most convenient fictions.

  7. DW Bartoo
    September 2, 2021 at 11:56

    Absolutely superb, especially the insights and breadth of understanding shared by Pepe Escobar.

    Most interesting times.

    With the rout in Afghanistan, more U$ians have begun to wonder about and question what they have been told by the U$ “government” – the political class, the military brass, the “intelligence” agencies (one in particular), the M$M, and academia, – all of whom have been lying to the people for decades and are thoroughly corrupted by greed, hubris, (one notes that the U$ House of Representatives has just given the Pentagon another $24 billion), and predatory behavior toward the powerless, both a “home” and abroad.

  8. Yes Xor No
    September 2, 2021 at 03:03

    I could listen to Pepe Escobar and Scott Ritter riff on geo-politics for a week and still want more.

    Good job, CN.

  9. vinnieoh
    September 1, 2021 at 20:55

    Much to chew on here, but I’ll just focus on the worst of it:

    If it is true as Pepe said that Afghanistan was the “missing piece” of the SCO, BRI, the integration of Eurasia – whichever framing you want to use – then the true evolved purpose of the US presence there was one of denying that space to the ascendant powers. I personally came to believe that was why the US stayed, and said so several times here. Ritter, when he was coherent, spoke another truth, that the military was given an impossible mission. But I think he even missed the true point; given that it is the CIA that runs the show, then the military effort of “fighting terrorism” and “building democracy” was just a show meant for domestic consumption, since we have all been conditioned to “Support Our Troops” (anything else is tantamount to treason.) To put it another way: the military provided cover and concealment to the CIA (yes, I was a grunt.)

    So, if all of that is true, then in the Great Game of geo-skullduggery and manipulation, President Joe Biden did in fact commit one of the biggest errors ever in geopolitical strategy. At least that is what the Lords and the Wraiths that haunt the halls of US power – the true believers – are now wailing and gnashing their teeth about. Will the Dark Lords abandon the largely discredited narrative of GWOT and “democracy building” and just come out and speak the truth, to wit: “We need Afghanistan to thwart the Chinese and the Russians”? The problem with that is that the CIA operates behind a web of lies – that has been so for much longer than just the past several decades – and how will they do the voodoo that they do, in the light of day?

    I’m just asking questions. My sentiments are similar to Patrick Lawrence’s, that the US can not stop it, it would be better for all to deal with the world as equals and peers, and similar to Alan Blanes who posted earlier. But I fear many things are going to get worse and we won’t have long to wait for it to happen. Dog save us all.

  10. September 1, 2021 at 15:45

    This is the perfect time for the US and NATO to finally take UNESCO’s work on creating the alternative to war, the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence, as the theme of International Year 2000 for the Culture of Peace, seriously. 20 years ago, there were 83 million signatories who wanted to get the Six Principles of Manifesto 2000 understood and acculturated so nations could begin to work on the tools that would make it easier to choose peace than resort to war and violence.

    A a local committee chair for this project, I was approached by numerous classrooms in Afghanistan that had vast numbers of students who were wanting to engage with the rest of the world on this vital project. Unfortunately, NATO as a collective group did not engage with the UNESCO supporters on this. There was instead a misguided policy of bribing warlords with ‘pallets full of cash’ and absurd reliance on weapons. Since this strategy is now fully and completely discredited, it is time to resume the mobilization for the Culture of Peace 20 years after the fact.

    If we had been working on creating a FAIR TRADE compact on narcotics crops so Afghan farmers would have been able to have safe, high-thriving lives, instead of having to work with criminal international drug cartels, the rural picture in the country would have been vastly more conducive to building a strong, united engaged with the world society. Instead 50% of Afghans are still subsisting on < $2 per day. This is beyond belief since the war as cost the US $300 million per day for the past 20 years.

  11. alexandra moffat
    September 1, 2021 at 13:51

    Absolutely fascinating. Surprised that the subject of climate heating was not mentioned as it might, will ,affect future events in greater Asia/Russia/China. That was not the interview topic yet climate change is such an overwhelming global threat to all countries, it will surely make questionable any forecasts for the future. Perhaps the speakers predictions will prevail along with, under the umbrella of, climate disasters, or even exacerbate them?

    Thanks to all –

  12. September 1, 2021 at 11:30

    This guy makes plausible theory for what happened with the shooting deaths following the ISIS bombing.

    • dcouzin
      September 2, 2021 at 15:47

      That guy makes plausible theory for the U.S.’s relation to the world.

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