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Letters to the Editor: The only winner in Afghanistan was America’s military industrial complex

An armed Taliban fighter sits in a truck in front of the main gate leading to the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A Taliban fighter sits in front of the main gate leading to the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Democracy can’t be forced down the barrel of a gun. (“The Afghan government’s collapse is tragic. It was also inevitable,” editorial, Aug. 16)

It’s perplexing to watch as small groups of men on motorcycles, dressed in traditional clothing and armed with AK-47 rifles and primitive rocket launchers, proceed with relative ease to finally liberate their country from 20 years of attempted control by one of the most formidable, best equipped military forces in history. Perhaps fighting with unshakable faith, in your own backyard, for your home and your culture is the most potent of all weaponry.

It seems there never was a true opportunity for U.S. victory in Afghanistan or Iraq. At best, both wars were ill-thought, retaliatory ideas carried out at a huge cost of treasure and lives on all sides. The only winner was the military industrial complex.

I recently heard a veteran from Afghanistan share a Taliban saying regarding our conquest: “You have the wristwatch, but we have the time.” Meanwhile, the ice melts, the virus thrives and all perceived forms of god weep at the inanity of men in their names.

Jon D. Elder, Monterey Park

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To the editor: At first glance, the debacle in Afghanistan implies a failure of the Biden administration. But on a deeper historical level, it represents the demise of Western domination in world affairs.

What began with the fall of colonialism and imperialism in the last century has finally ended with American realization that it cannot impose its way of life on a distant nation with an alien culture merely by force. President Biden had the wisdom to realize the futility of such a venture.

The future points to a world where Asians, Americans, Europeans and Africans will have to learn to sit together on equal terms, respecting one another’s way of life, in shaping the future of our common planet.

Srinivas Chari, Camarillo

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To the editor: Though many observers connect current events with the U.S. pullout from Saigon in 1975, the more apt analogy was the early U.S. withdrawal from Iraq under former President Obama, which led to the rise of mega-terror group Islamic State and its attempt to establish a caliphate in the Middle East.

It seems Biden, who reportedly advised Obama against authorizing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, has been consistent in his foreign policy miscalculations.

The Taliban is of special significance to the U.S.; when it last ruled Afghanistan, it harbored Al Qaeda, which planned and executed the worst terrorist attack on our soil. This disastrous pullout from Afghanistan will have grave consequences for years to come.

Richard Friedman, Culver City

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To the editor: We are at last ending our “forever war.” For two decades we have sent our soldiers and our considerable treasure to this difficult, clannish, mountainous country.

The money has gone largely into the pockets of the country’s leaders. They have not adequately paid or fed their army. Is it any wonder the soldiers choose not to fight when U.S. forces do not have their backs?

Now it is over. We join numerous countries that have unsuccessfully tried to organize this disjointed unit called Afghanistan.

We may be in “anguish,” but let’s end our involvement and put our resources where they can do some real good.

Barbara Pritzkat, Redondo Beach

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To the editor: The U.S. spent billions of dollars training Afghan men to fight. What a waste.

The money should have been spent arming and teaching the women. They’d love the chance to kill the Taliban.

Kurdish women warriors were instrumental in defeating Islamic State. They didn’t throw down their arms and scurry away like roaches in the face of the enemy.

Melissa Verdugo, Rancho Palos Verdes


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