What a stark week it has been for the Western world and its so called leaders. Sleepy Joe Biden pulled his troops out of Afghanistan and in the process left a billion dollars worth of military hardware behind for the Taliban to use.
When he finally emerged from his holiday at Camp David and was questioned about the utter shambles that is Afghanistan at the moment, he blamed Donald Trump and the beleaguered Afghan army, shouldering no responsibility himself. Bunter Johnson was not much better but at least the British ambassador in Kabul has shown a bit of courage and moral fortitude by staying on and assisting to process the thousands wanting safe passage to Britain. His American counterpart was among the first to flee!
Yesterday I listened to bits of the House of Commons debate on Afghanistan and it made me shake my head in sorrow at the delusions and vanity of our political masters.
This was an ‘emergency’ debate on events that had already happened in Kabul. Which seems somehow pointless as the debate was never going to change anything. Yet the sheer futility of it seemed to push MPs to be even more grandiose and boringly loquacious than usual.
The realities of the war or the limits of British power were seldom mentioned. Some Tory MPs even tried to argue that the British Army could have occupied Afghanistan in America’s place to keep the Taliban at bay. They prattled on about the western worlds nation-building project – that same project that had just collapsed before their eyes.
The tragedy of Afghanistan is a humiliation for Western interventionism, but these turnips don’t seem to see it that way. They only see the need for more intervention, more occupation and ultimately more bloodshed. Something must be done, even if it achieves nothing.
For much of the political class on both sides of the house, Afghanistan always will be ‘a good war’ which I suppose is why these pratwinkles were so emotional about it. Afghanistan gave them a sense of purpose they had long since lost and made them feel important. But it was hardly a ‘good war’ for those left behind and desperate to escape
God help the next nation this bunch step in to ‘save.’
And you know, in the end, Afghanistan fell with dizzying speed to a bunch of rabid goat herders wielding rifles originally made in the 1940s, but just as dizzying has been the about-turn of the West’s political and military leaders. One minute they were reassuring us that the Afghan army had what it took to hold off the Taliban, now they are suggesting that the goat herders might not be so bad after all.
I listened to the chief of the defence staff, General Sir Nick Carter telling Sky News that perhaps it is time to ‘give space’ to the Taliban to govern. Just a few weeks ago, Carter wrote an article in The Times imploring the West not to give up on the Afghan security forces. He even claimed that crowds in Kabul gave the forces their full support – comparing scenes of Afghans shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ to Britons ‘coming out during lockdown in support of the NHS.’
Since the fall of Kabul, Carter has changed his tune. It seems he no longer regards the Taliban as the enemy. He even reassured viewers that these Islamist militants would do the right thing. They are ‘country boys’ he told us, who ‘live by a code of honour. Despite the fact that the Sharia law that these thugs espouse looks on women as inferior beings, apparently what the Taliban wants is ‘an Afghanistan that is inclusive for all.’
He might be a very senior military commander but I fear this man inhabits a fairy tale world. In fact, the last few brutal days have shown us a Western establishment that is losing touch with reality and I fear that they have put the entire western world into a situation of extreme danger.And where are the normally ever so strident feminists while all this goes on? It seems that women are no longer to be seen on the streets of Kabul. Since the city fell, they stay at home out of fear of being beaten. ‘In the past twenty four hours, our lives have changed and we have been confined to our homes, and death threatens us at every moment’, said a terrified lady two days ago. Female journalists have had their houses searched and have gone from being busy professionals to destroying all traces of their former identity in desperate bids to avoid reprisals from the goat herders. ‘We are scared that if the Taliban find us they will kill us’ a former journalist told the media and I have no doubt she was right.
Women who, during the time western forces have been in the country have become police officers or soldiers are now in hiding. They fought against the Taliban, at the encouragement of the west so as to defend their nation and seek a better future. Now these women have been abandoned and betrayed. They are hiding, fearful of revenge attacks, their immediate future uncertain.
Yet in this their moment of need, where are the usually vocal western feminist groups? There have been no statements condemning the Taliban’s treatment of women from US vice-president Kamala Harris. In fact that good lady seems to have disappeared for the moment which will give most Americans a bit of hope. But other feminist groups have also been silent. Remember the huge wave of support that greeted the victims of Harvey Weinstein? Where is it now? Conspicuously absent I am afraid. For too many privileged Western feminists, sisterly solidarity ends at the borders of the comfortable worlds they inhabit.
Nor are British feminists any more vocal. While they were baying for the government to ban the pursuits of so-called virginity testing and ‘virginity repair surgery,’ female students in Afghanistan were being smuggled out of universities prior to the Taliban’s arrival. Desperate to get home, these young women found themselves barred from public transport. Drivers would not let them in their cars either, because they did not want to take responsibility for transporting a woman. Eventually, on making it home, female students rushed to hide diplomas and burn certificates. They had to destroy all evidence of a previous existence or they stood every chance of being publicly flogged.
Throughout the country, girls’ schools are closed amid media stories of young women being forced to marry Taliban fighters, quit their jobs and remain at home. Women who have never worn burqas are now donning the ruddy things in order to save their lives.
Western feminists loved to hate Donald Trump and thought nothing of taking to the streets to protest some of his more grotesque pronouncements, but where are the ‘pussy hat’ marchers now that women in Afghanistan are barred from leaving home without a male relative?
The silence of the marchers, protesters, the petitioners and the kneelers is ruddy deafening yet again.
Is Kabul and Afghanistan too far away? Are Afghan women not deserving of feminist sympathies? Or is the Taliban, unlike Trump, the wrong type of enemy? British feminists have grown so used to talking about the imaginary oppression experienced by privileged women with media careers and vast salaries, or how socially inadequate young men wolf-whistle at them on street corners, that they are now unable to recognise real oppression when it whacks them in the face.
That is one explanation that I saw yesterday but my own theory is that woke activists are so scared of being associated with any whiff of Islamophobia that they cannot bring themselves to condemn the atrocities now being confronted by Afghan women.
And over the past two decades, life did get better for some Afghan women. Now, the chaotic manner of the American army’s departure not only turns the clock back on women’s rights, but also leaves the women who backed the West’s cause in mortal danger.
Of course, Western military intervention in Afghanistan was never simply about protecting women and girls. This only ever became a justification once other excuses for putting troops on the ground had dried up. But, over the past twenty years life has begun to get better for some Afghan women. Now, the chaotic manner of the American army’s departure not only turns the clock back on women’s rights, but also leaves the women who backed progress and a normal life in desperate danger.
General Carter might believe these thugs but how can any thinking person believe the Taliban’s vague promises about respecting women’s rights and allowing some girls to continue in school. Yet it seems that western activists are horribly naive. They think that if they ask nicely, the Taliban will be kind to Afghans and respectful to women and girls.
Here in Britain, the Stop the War coalition wants the British government to pay reparations to Afghanistan – hand money over to the Taliban for God’s sake – in order to advance the rights of women. Nancy Pelosi has warned that ‘the Taliban must know the world is watching its actions.’ That mad New Zealand woman, Jacinda Ardern has ‘implored’ Taliban leaders to uphold human rights. Listen to these people and you get the impression that the Taliban might be talked out of carrying out public floggings with a cup of tea and a chat.
I suppose naiveté might be smiled at in ten-year-olds, but these are world leaders dammit and I find it terrifying. That normally ranting and vociferous feminists cannot publicly condemn the Taliban and stand alongside Afghan women reveals the moral worthlessness at the very heart of Western culture.
As for Sleepy Joe Biden, what can anybody say except that he is a danger to us all. Yes, the withdrawal had to happen at some stage but it surely should have been planned. I am not a military planner or presidential adviser but the obvious way to withdraw would surely have been to take citizens out first then as much military equipment was practicable, destroying the rest to save it getting into the wrong hands.
The very final stage should have been the withdrawal of troops. I know Sleepy Joe has cognitive problems and is even older than me but he is also in charge of the nuclear key which should scare us all witless.