I wanted to share some thoughts with you on Afghanistan, as it sits atop the rubble of another indifferent imperial folly with the dread of once again living under a fundamentalist authoritarian regime on the horizon. And especially on the American public’s disconnect from its own government’s culpability in spreading misery there and throughout the Global South. I wanted to talk about reflection too.
On the show today, Chris Hedges discusses the lies and fantasies told by the mainstream environmental movement about how to solve the climate crisis with authors and activists Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the debacle in Afghanistan with Danny Sjursen, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, former US Army Major and author. He is a combat veteran who served in Iraq and later as an Army Captain in Afghanistan I command of B Troop in Kandahar Province from February 2011 to January 2012.
Yes, the time for talk is well past and one more report isn’t likely to change minds or induce new action. Nonetheless, it is always useful to have the latest information when dealing with an ongoing emergency. The world’s governments shouldn’t need the latest United Nations report on the state of Earth’s climate to act but if some do care to pay proper attention, the situation is ever more dire.
In many ways, war is ever more and less visible. Of course in U.S. academia, the Pinkerist pretense that we are living through a period of great peace is accomplished by all sorts of statistical manipulation, but first and foremost by declaring civil wars to not be wars, and declaring U.S. wars to be civil wars — a tricky thing to do when the minute the U.S. leaves, Afghans, for example, decline to keep killing each other (damn them!).
This fall, the much-awaited remake of Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic Dune will hit theatres. Dune tells the complex and multi-layered tale of a feudal interstellar empire in the future, where noble houses compete, often violently, for dominance over the planet Arrakis, a desert world that possesses the only source of a substance called the “spice.” It is essential for space navigation and also has the potential to enhance mental and metaphysical senses and abilities. The imperial powers of the Dune universe use political chicanery and treachery to manipulate various political figures within the noble houses. Arrakis has a desolate and hostile environment. Its inhabitants, the Fremen, are looked down upon by most of the noble houses as savage, inferior and backward. They are the last to see any benefit from the trade of spice, if any at all.
Liberals and progressives would do well to understand that while class is not everything – far from it, as I shall argue below – there are still no real or lasting solutions to problems that rightly agitate them under capitalism and bourgeois democracy, that is, under the de facto material dictatorship of the capitalist class and its mode of production.
President Biden put a popular flag-waving wrapping for America’s forced withdrawal from Afghanistan in his 4 PM speech on Monday. It was as if all this was following Biden’s own intentions, not a demonstration of the totally incompetent assurances by the CIA and State Department as recently as last Friday that the Taliban was over a month away from being able to enter Kabul. Instead of saying that the massive public support for the Taliban replacing the United States showed the incompetent hubris of U.S. intelligence agencies – which itself would have justified Biden’s agreement to complete the withdrawal with all haste – he doubled down on his defense of the Deep State and its mythology.
Titanic fires lay waste to vast forests in Siberia, California, Algeria and beyond. Violent muddy rapids sweep through quaint German villages, and the city of Sochi in Russia, and inundate modern subway systems in China and NYC. Marine life bakes in their shells, not in any cooker, but in the very ocean habitat where they were spawned. Stunned crowds clamor onto ferries surrounded by flames that stretch upward to the sky on picturesque Greek islands… It is that last image that somehow strikes at the heart, and somehow in a way that is different.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the importance of the scholar Edward Said with Professor Hamid Dabashi. Dabashi is the professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
It’s far from the longest U.S. war. There was no peace before or after it. There is no after it until they end it — and bombing has always been most of what it is. It has had nothing to do with opposing terrorism. It has been a one-sided slaughter, a mass killing over two decades by a single invading army and air force dragging along token mascots from dozens of vassal states. After 20 years Afghanistan was one of the worst places to be on Earth, and the Earth as a whole was a worse place to be — the rule of law, the state of nature, the refugee crises, the spread of terrorism, the militarization of governments all worsened. Then the Taliban took over.