Where ARE the anti-war voices?


A morning in Kabul in Sept 2020, nearly a year before its reconquest by the Taliban. Photo by Mohammad Rahmani on Unsplash

I have already written about the lack of a balanced media narrative on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. I’m now borrowing Popular Information’s headline: “Where are the anti-war voices?”

One of the most shocking revelations from the discussions on Afghanistan is the saviour complex apparently shared by both the liberal left and loony right.

Both the left and right want to save Afghans from themselves.

This is ludicrous, of course, but no one is stopping to think what it means.

Ever heard of emptying a whole country? Ever considered whisking all the women out of one nation? Ever considered who the Taliban are? They’re not a foreign force, but Afghans.

What is particularly shocking is the determination of both the left and the right in the western world to prosecute a senseless conflict in a faraway country.

Where have the anti-war voices gone?

This is clearly not a post-Vietnam moment, when opposition to US militarism and involvement in dubious military conflicts was very strong on the political left.

Now, all of that has been swept away by the self-righteous self-belief that only the west can save Afghanistan. Even as late as 2003, when President George W. Bush invaded Iraq on a false pretext, there were sizable anti-war demonstrations on the streets of western capitals. As has been pointed out by many, who know more about the subject than I do, large numbers of prominent American liberals found reasons to praise Bill Clinton’s military crusades in the Balkans.

And they seem to want to continue fighting in Afghanistan. Where are the anti-war voices?