Anniversary Post: End of Soviet-Afghan War

Soviet-Afghan WarOn this day in 1989, the Soviet Union announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending the Soviet-Afghan War. During the war, of course, the United States was entirely against the Soviet Union. I greatly admire Jimmy Carter, but he was a Cold War relic. His foreign policy toward the Soviet Union was more conservative than the Republicans who came before and after him. But Carter wasn’t alone. Everywhere you looked in the United States people just took it for granted that all that stuff about allowing women to be educated and similar reforms were a Very Bad Idea™.

The war had been going on for just over nine years. So we were almost exactly four years dumber than the Soviet Union. Of course, I’m not really sure what the hell we were doing in Afghanistan. The main thing was just revenge — an extremely imperfect target, but at least better than Iraq. But once we were there, what were we trying to do? I mean: yes, we were trying to liberalize the country. But that doesn’t count, does it? Why should the Americans get credit for that when the Soviets never did?

The Soviet-Afghan War was always presented in the US as an invasion. I understood even then that this was not the way things work. There had been a coup in Afghanistan. The new government under Nur Muhammad Taraki was very much pro-Soviet Union. Like most such governments, it was not very nice and it managed to get a civil war started. Taraki had begged the Soviets to intervene. They refused and only did so after Taraki himself was assassinated by his own people.

Hypocrisy of US Media on Soviet-Afghan War

I talked about this on my birthday post: not getting the full context of things from my father. This is a more general problem in issues like this. The case that the Soviets were asked by the country to intervene are actually stronger than the case that they simply invaded. But both are rather too simplistic. But what is clear is that when we did the same thing in Vietnam, our media didn’t present it as some kind of unprovoked attack on the country. Just as with the Soviet-Afghan War, we came in to help prop up an unpopular government.

Hypocrisy is a natural human trait. But when your nation’s fourth estate accepts the government’s hypocrisy as God’s own word, that country is not long the land of liberty. Because liberty based upon lies is the same as slavery.

11 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: End of Soviet-Afghan War

    • I remember that I had a very hard time getting past what I’d been taught about the Soviet Union. That isn’t to say that it good, but the idea that it was some special evil was wrong. And now I hear it everywhere. The exact same things said about the USSR then are said about Iran today. Why don’t people learn?

      Well, for one thing, there are always people like Sam Harris around to explain that there really is something special this time. As though there weren’t Sam Harrises then doing the same thing.

      • Really? I grew up when the Evil Empire was dying so my view is probably different then yours simply because we were winning or something. Plus I didn’t start paying serious attention to politics until 1994 long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and when Capitalism Was KING BABY.

        I do think the reaction to various threats is overblown and I have thought that since about a week after 9/11. Communism was scary because it appeared to be what Americans hate like cats hate baths-a total lack of individualization.

        • Except, of course, that wasn’t what communism was at all. It was just an autocracy. But it was scary because of all the nukes.

          But the main this is that whatever the current threat is, it is the worst ever. This is what the Republicans always do and a good part of their base just eats it up. It shows that the Boy Who Cried Wolf is all wrong. You can cry wolf over and over and over again and half the Republican Party (A least!) never tires of it. It seems to make them feel righteous and justifies wars and spending on them.

          • I know it wasn’t the only thing that communism was about-I was making a bad joke about cats and because to me, communism was just something that belongs in the past. I don’t remember growing up scared about being bombed back to the stone age so all I know about the Red Menace is what I learned reading about later after high school.

            Your point about the reaction of the right wing is spot on though.

            • When I was a little boy, I was a true believer. I suspect that if people hadn’t just lied to be, I’d be much more one today. I don’t like to be lied to. I think most people are of the true believer mentality. The problem is they’ve never really understand that they have been lied to.

              • They mostly don’t care. It is like how the media expects the Democrats to always be honest but Republicans are allowed to lie their pants off in the primary with the expectation that the truth is going to be told in the general. Why on earth would anyone think that is acceptable? Well if one doesn’t care one does.

                • It’s possible are real problem is that the invention of TV with the 3 networks made us think that there was such a thing as “objective media.” What we really have is just kind of lazy, lapdog media.

                  This is something that people who haven’t worked for a newspaper don’t tend to understand. Reporters are just trying to get stories approved. There really is no ideology about it. You’re trying to get attention so you get better jobs and more money. People get confused because they just read pundits. But in 99% of the cases, bad reporting is the result of laziness and incompetence.

                  Of course, Fox News really is something different.

                  • Faux News is specifically designed to advance an agenda. It is much more based around the non-US model for the news where people acknowledge X news source is biased in one side’s favor or the other.

                    Here though we had that fairness doctrine that has been gone for decades yet people still demand that the news be “objective” and not full of biases.

          • It actually doesn’t make the Boy Who Cried Wolf legend wrong! It you recall that legend, it’s about how when the boy was sincere, no-one believed him. I suspect there’s an aspect of incessant fearmongering which works exactly this way . . .

            • So as long as the Republicans are lying people will believe them? I hadn’t thought about it that way. Good catch.

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