Matthew Hoh discusses the extraordinary difficulties in resolving the complex political and ethnic tensions in Afghanistan, something that the U.S. military has been trying to do for going on 20 years. Hoh says that during his time there he saw lots of practices by the Kabul government that clearly weren’t any better than tribal or Taliban rule, like bribery, extrajudicial killings, and women treated as second-class citizens. It’s no wonder that the Afghan people, particularly Pashtuns, are less than thrilled with the American-backed central government. Hoh also shares some of the difficulties in attracting a coalition of principled antiwar activists across left and right in America.
Discussed on the show:
- Life under the Taliban shadow government
- “The Shattered Afghan Dream of Peace” (The New Yorker)
- Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
Matthew Hoh is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and formerly worked for the U.S. State Department. Hoh received the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling in 2010. Hoh is a member of the Board of Directors for Council for a Livable World and is an Advisory Board Member for Expose Facts. He writes on issues of war, peace and post-traumatic stress disorder recovery at matthewhoh.com.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Washinton Babylon; Liberty Under Attack Publications; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
Following is a computer-generated transcript of the episode.
All right shall welcome Scott Horton Show. I am the director of the Libertarian Institute editorial director off anti war dot Com author of the book Fool’s Errand. Time to End the War in Afghanistan and I recorded more than 5000 interviews going back to 2003 all of which are available at Scott horton dot or you can also sign up for the podcast feed. Full archive is also available at youtube dot com slash scott Horton Shoah. All right, you guys introducing Matthew Ho. He was a captain in the Marine Corps in Iraq, War two and then in Afghanistan. He worked for the State Department, and he blew the whistle and broke the chain of command in 2009 in a heroic attempt to stop Obama’s surge there. And he’s been a great critic of especially the war in Afghanistan ever since then.
[expand title=”Read More” class=”ex-expand-transcript”] So, uh, welcome back to the show, Matthew. How are you doing? Good. Good. Scott, how are you? I’m doing great. Happy to have here, So listen, um well, this is kind of a weird way to have the conversation. I was just talking with this Afghan reporter, and, um, he’s there, and he’s the one who knows. Um, and I’m just here. And what the hell do I know? Um, And now you’re, like, split the difference for me a little bit, I guess because you’ve been there. But you’re still just a white guy. American like me. So what do you know to? But anyway, me and him kind of gotten a little bit of Ah, And the thing is, he wanted to make a different point, so he didn’t really didn’t really hash this out all the way. Um but I was saying that listen, instead of bringing the Taliban into Kabul, why not just call timeout where everyone is now? Since the Taliban are really dominant in all of the south and the east, in the predominately Pashtun areas of the country. And since the Tajiks Uzbeki alliance is dominant in the north and the land around Kabul that maybe just kind of called time out there he was more interested in the idea of Kabul and the Taliban working out an agreement and integrating them into the parliamentary government instead, I guess, but the point I’m trying to get to here, actually though, is where he was just saying that I was just I mean, obviously, clearly I was oversimplifying, but he was saying that I was oversimplifying to a fault that to say that to think of that ethnic map of Afghanistan and to reduce the the um, the conflict to that in the way that I did was was so oversimplified as to just be incorrect. And as he started to put it, that they’re non Pashtun in the Taliban and their Pashtuns in the Kabul government, which already know that. And I don’t think that’s necessarily completely contradicts what I was saying. Um, but then again, he is from there. I think he’s a Pashtun and is from there he talked about families from the Nyanga hard province and stuff. So, um, but I’ve talked with you about this quite a bit in the past few years, and you have some real experience in Afghanistan too, And I just wondered, um, you know, if you can, you know, shed some light or some gray area or something on here to make me smarter. Yeah. No, I mean you and I should say I have in the back to Afghanistan in 10 years and primary reason being because Yugo back as, ah civilian without the military, you really can’t get outside of Kabul. Maybe you can get to some of the other government controlled cities, but that’s not really effective And seeing what’s happening there, it’s just just too dangerous to travel. You know, Alps, like war zones. You know where to the south or into the East or what have you, But no, I mean, that was not in my experience, not what I know about it. Certainly there’s been a lot of, ah, internally displaced persons. You know, internal migration in Afghanistan over the last 10 years, as the war has escalated has gotten worse. A lot of people from the South and the East have gone the places like Kabul. Um, you know, So you had that representation of Aounist, a Pashtun Sheehans fleeing from the war zone, going to places that are supposedly safer. Um, but, you know, they’re living in refugee camps or their living in, you know, shanty towns or, you know, in you know what? In previous times, you know, we call ghettos. Basically, um, they’re not, you know that they’re not settling and living in mixed communities. Um, what I saw when I was in Afghanistan, and this seems to hold true and has held true. Um, certainly. Like, as you said, Yeah. There are Pashtuns in the government. There are Pashto tunes. Ah, throughout all society, you know, in different forms. But, you know, you know, my my argument about that is that people it Suhail Ghandi is Pashtun. And and in the Karzai was Pashto, his Pashtun. And, you know, my organ is Hey, you know, Obamas Black. You know, I mean, that doesn’t mean Oh, and there are blacks in the government there. You know, Ben Carson is a is A is on the cabinet, you know? But does that mean that we have equal representation in the United States? Does that mean that black and white households have the same amount of wealth that all of a sudden everything is equal? Because you have a few out liars, Particularly in seeing your positions? Um, you know, in Afghanistan, the other thing too complicated further is Afghanistan. Is, uh, it in its roots, it’s tribal. Ah, lot of that tribal system has been destroyed in the 40 years of war. Especially Taliban. Really. took an axe to the travel system, really decapitated a lot of the travel leadership. And so the tribal system does not exist in a way that you see in other, you know, say Middle Eastern countries, Uh, and how definitive it is or how ah, granite it is in terms of its relationships with one another between tribes. But it’s still there. Um, you know, But that said, um in the South, particularly in the places where the war’s being Foer fought. Hellman Kandaharis Zabul. Um, you know, down along the Pakistan border areas there Ah, where the poppy fields are, it is 98 99% Pashtun. Ah, when I was there, the only pot non Pashtun ts I experienced were, ah, government officials. Ah, the Afghan army and the Afghan police. I know there were efforts to integrate more Pashto tunes into the Afghan army. Mean for years, the U. S. Government always said that, uh, the Pashtun army was representative of the Afghan population, So the Pashtun army was 40 some odd percent Pashtun Rodham Strugar Afghanize was 40% Pashtun. Azzam. But that was never the case. That was a complete lie. Somebody wrote that down and everybody went along with it after, you know, afterwards makes the really the reality was that only about 4% of the Afghan army was Pashtun. Um, where I was, we had six Afghan army battalions. Ah, and only two of the Army battalion commanders could speak Pashto. That the language of the people there. Um um, you know, so it was It was clearly, as we would say, you know, and a Afghan national army really stood for the army of the Northern Alliance. Um, And you had this breakdown between ethnicities. That was very clear. The battle lines were very clear. The Taliban? Yes. There were some non Pashtun in the Taliban, but not many. Um, you know it primarily a Pashtun movement was representative. All Pashtun is no. But it was representative of a substantial portion of the pot. Students who felt that they were being occupied felt that they were fighting to get by but foreign powers by feeling that they were fighting and being oppressed by a central government that was composed of ethnic rivals. Ah, that was Ah, clip. You know, Copt, a Craddick and predatory government. Um, and so yeah, I mean, it’s not so simple. Uh, maybe as we make it out to sometimes when we’re discussing it. But, you know, unless there were major demographic changes in the last 10 years that I’m not aware of, You know, I just don’t see how Pashto Judis have become more representative in in the government, in the army, in the police, Um, and that the war hasn’t been basically kind of, ah, proto ethnic conflict. And the war is very complex. I mean, it’s war. It’s on multiple levels. I mean, So there’s a There’s ah, you know, just as you can say, there’s ethnic differences. You can also describe it as a rural and urban conflict. And this goes back decades as well, you know. So if you’re a Pashtun who lives in the city, Yes, you are probably Mork likely to be on the side of the government forces, then on the side of the insurgency. Um, because you have that rural urban split, and that was the case going back. That was certainly the case, you know, in during the war with the Soviets, you know, and also to prior to that in the period of conflict before the Soviets entered. So yeah, it’s very complex, but, uh, to dismiss it as, uh, there being no ethnic, um, there being no ethnic differences in the conflict or no ethnic divide, I just I haven’t seen any. Yeah, well, I mean, he wasn’t quite saying there’s none of that or anything like that. It was just he was saying. I guess that the exceptions have overridden the rule now that essentially there are enough naan Pashtuns who’ve been brought into the Taliban, and there are enough Pashtuns inside the government that it sort of cancels out that narrative. Yeah, you know, I don’t know. I would Yeah, what I would say about that is certainly, um, over the last 10 years, you have seen splits in and cracks in the foundation that supports the Afghan government. So where Yugo back 10 years? Um, up until that, that first election between Karzai in Abdul Abdula in 2009. Um, you had I felt like you had a pretty cohesive grouping of different warlords, different ah constituencies. Ah, from the north from from the cities that were represented by the Karzai government in 2009 when those elections were so crooked and eso fraudulent. And Abdul Abdula, you know, was lost. You had a lot of cracks appear in that base of support. And over the last 10 years, it’s only gotten worse, you know, I mean again in 2000. Ah, Mobil. Is that the next 1 2014 elections? Between Karzai? I mean, between Ghandi and Abdul Abdula. Ah, you had, uh uh more Ah, divisiveness. Mork cracks Maurin. So I think what you have seen is you have seen groups pull away from the government because they feel like they’re not getting their fair share. They feel like they’re getting left out. The outside thing, too, is that you have had groups during Taliban because they feel the Taliban’s winning. You know, one of the interesting things I found when I was there and I was learning about the various Afghanize army commanders that I was that I was around them with thes bears is that they have been supporting the Soviets. Ah Foer Ah, long time or even some of some of the major Ah ah, some of the major figures, Like say, ah ah uh uh Russia dos doom. You know, the warlord from the north who is now exile, because, you know, he sodomized an opponent with an a k 47 but he was gone. He’s vice president for a little for a while. You know, um, these guys were on the side of the Soviets until the end of the war until about 1987 1988. Right When they saw that, when they saw it was clear what was gonna happen. And then they switched to the side of the mujahideen, and then they knew, need and rebelled. Um, and so I think you may have that as well Where groups are siding with the Taliban and they are not their traditional. Ah, they’re not that it would not be a traditional lines or not. They don’t share the same desires or want to see the same outcomes. But they realize that. Hey, this is the winning side, and I’m gonna side with it now. Yeah, you know, And speaking of which, there was this thing. I tried so hard to get this lady on the show, and I never could reach her. She wrote a thing. That foreign policy. And then for some institute, this giant pdf study of the Taliban. This would have been in, um, I’m gonna say this summer, 2018. And her name is Ashley Jackson. And if she just had spent all of this time down in Taliban country and talked about how, after the drone strike against Mansoor, who was the Taliban leader who had taken over after the announced death of Mullah Omar and 2013 that he was then killed, I Gessen 2015 fireman, right? But then think so, Yeah. So the new guy whose name is really hard to pronounce, um, Haakon Zada against something like that that he essentially got smart and started waging a people’s war. And guess what? He’s from there. So unlike Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus and their Army and Marines, these guys actually Cannes fight among the people and swim among the fishes, as Mao said, or whatever it is, right. And so instead of destroying everything the Americans had built, they just started co opting everything. And they just started essentially making offers like, Hey, will either kill you or you can join us. And so, you know, police chiefs who were installed by the Kabul government are really answerable to the Taliban, and school teachers who were installed by the Americans and the Kabul government are really answerable to the Taliban. And that’s the structure of the local government. You know that they just essentially usurped and taken over. Now I guess not the provincial capitals. I don’t rule out right. The provincial capitals in Lashkar Gotcha and in Cannes, Dahr city in that kind of thing. But essentially everything else they control in the entire south, in the east of the country. And then part of what she talked about was they’re trying to integrate as many Tajiks and Uzbeks. And I don’t know about Hazaras too. But maybe even some Hazaras too, into the Taliban government. If they if they really want to be the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan and they don’t wanna have to fight the very worst kind of civil war against these factions again, they’re trying to sort of, you know, blackmail M extort them into just joining instead. Um, and it seems like that’s been working really well for them. They’re said to now control about half the country in the daytime. And more than that at night. Yeah, you know, I was it that the New Yorker Dubai, Baluch, Mobil Sonali think that’s his name? That there was a good New Yorker piece. Ah, they came out a few weeks ago on Afghanistan of I thought was very balanced. And it’s in the way he reported on a Taliban. But if it’s that piece I am thinking of, he referenced the same type of thing of the cooperation that various NGOs are experiencing in Taliban controlled territory. I just see the article here. I’ve never seen it. I missed it. Thank you. It’s part of quitting Tair Mandalay. Things get by me now. Yeah, you know, it’s a very good I had about three or four people said that to me, you know? So when that happens, of course, you know, you read it, right? You know, because But it was, um it ah was I thought very balanced. Like I said in its depiction of the Taliban, Um, one of the more fairer portrayals I’ve read of them in American media. Ah, but he does. He makes the point that, as you were saying, Ashleigh Jackson makes that you know, they’ve learned that that there are that this is not the Taliban of the nineties. Uh, I mean, we saw that early on to because, you know, the Taliban were very, say, anti technology in the nineties. But then they quickly embraced cell phones. They quickly embraced using Facebook. You know, they quickly embraced, you know, communicating with the outside world. You know, they are as, ah, strategically, they are much better say, at communications. Then the United States military is in terms of getting their message out, letting people know what they’re doing, you know? Ah, why they’re doing it. Um and you know it. And what I saw of how the Taliban operated in the southeast and and the north I’m sorry. And and in the east, the northeast to a degree as well was that they really all were decentralized in many ways, in terms of how they dealt with the various villages and valleys that they were in. 09 They were still fighting control him. And now they based that they control them. But they were very hands off. They were very decentralized. Um, I remember we went to a village one time and it hadn’t been to that village in in in four years. And we said to them was the last time you saw the Taliban and they said four years ago, when you were last year, you know, they don’t bother us unless you guys show up. Um, and that’s kind of how they understood it. And their fighters were at that point very localised. They didn’t, really. The fighters were fighting for a village or a valley. We could be called the Valley is, um you know, um and then the Taliban that they say, like the military commander for the province. For the Taliban, he would have a Kadre of forces that were, you know, two guys on Ah, you know, 60 or 75 cc motorbike. You know, about a cadre of maybe of 50 or 100 or 150 of them total for the problems. You know, I would expect. And they will kind of go around and help out where they could. And they did deliver money and weapons and explosives, and it also deliver beatings. You know, um, if need be. But that also time to was known Ayn was when women will all Moammar came out with. Kind of like a guideline for his forces. You know, they were not to prey on the villagers. They were not Thio. No extra Doocy. Extrajudicial. Ah, you know. Ah, punishments. Um they were to be fair, they were to be, like, basically good stewards of governance, And that has extended in various ways throughout the Taliban leadership. Um, and now culminating, like you said. And as they have to, because if they want to, uh, rule Afghanistan, they have to be able to govern. Um, so this is kind of a trial period. Uh, the other thing, too, is that they’re that they’re trying or attempting to show that they are no worse than the government is, um, that they are, Ah, that that the government is not a better option for the people than the Taliban are. So then extend. And they’re basically, uh, applying all these counterinsurgency principles that Petraeus and McChrystal and and you know, Mattis, everybody thinks mad Dog Mattis is not counterinsurgency. But, you know, Jim Mattis was the guy who co authored a counterinsurgency manual with David Petraeus. You know these guys much that right, you know. So But you know these ideas of providing an alternative to the people rather than just being dudes with guns. Ah, and and so, you know, you see that because of the Afghan government is, you know, really has not done much of anything for the the kind there’s no economy to speak of. Ah, the schools. I mean, there was just, ah, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan reconstruction report. Uh, you know, that came out. Half the schools they visited don’t have enough chairs or desks or books or facilities, and a lot of them have holes in the roof and things like that, and those were the ones that has visited. And they probably only visited the ones that they could actually find because, you know, there’s a big report a couple of years ago that a lot of the schools that they said that were built were not built at all. You know, along with the health centers, you know, the Afghan government really hasn’t delivered much to the Afghan people. Uh, now, now, certainly the Afghan people are come are in their 40 semi Geert of war, so there’s really, you know, there’s no infrastructure to speak of, but the Afghan government and there’s been such a flight of, like human capital that it’s really hard to develop and progress. And when you’ve got a war going on, how do you do that anyway? But you know them. For Afghan women, the reality of Stark, you know, Is it better in ah than under Taliban rule or under the rules of the warlords before the Taliban? Yes. Is it is it is. It is a good No. I mean, uh, the numbers for Afghan women are, you know, 80% of suicides in Afghanistan or by women. Ah, third of Afghan women or child brides, you know? I mean, the that’s that’s happening in the Afghan government controlled areas, you know, so right. I mean, so yeah. And Jones said that the number one priority of the Afghan police by far they spend more time capturing run away women and girls than any other thing. Yes, that’s the government that USA has put in power there. You know that, Hirsi Correct. Yeah, yeah. I mean, and there’s been there’s been various, like, really egregious, you know, examples of, you know Ah ah, you know, Afghanize laws that have passed that allow men to beat their wives. They don’t submit to them if they don’t provide sex to them. You know, I mean all kinds of things like that that are just does this notion that there is a clear difference between the Afghan government and the Taliban in terms of how, when it comes to women is just not simply true, Well, made on in a horrible, six cynical way that goes to show that actually the Taliban could just be integrated into this government without a further civil war. And back to my previous guest, his point of view. I mean, he just thought my whole autonomy and federalism kind of thing was all wet and was saying that in fact, I brought up Googled Ayn heck mature and he was saying, Heck matures A great example of how to do this. You make a peace deal. And this guy ran a suicide bomber militia, the Hezb e Islami insurgent group allied with the Taliban and the Haqqanis for years against the US here and then eventually they just made him a sweet enough deal that he and maybe just got old enough. Nor is Reddick enough. He decided to come in, and he’s my guest that he disarmed his militia. He’s not a threat, Doku threat or anything like that, as I at least one time feared, Um, and that what he’s really doing is running for president and losing. And he’s being brought down a peg by being integrated into the government. He is being faced with the reality that nobody likes him. Nobody supports him, and he doesn’t have any real natural powers. And now he’s reduced to a clown making ridiculous statements on TV. And isn’t that what we want to see from all of these guys? If they’re gonna whatever violence they’re going to commit, by all means, channel it through the Parliament first and and then at least you don’t have to have a civil war. You just have the typical war of all governments against their populations, you know? But I wouldn’t their own different factions, which are much deadlier. Usually, yeah, I wouldn’t count him out. I mean, I would not be very cautious with him, you know? I mean, he’s just a guy who’s been around for a very long time. Um, used to be CIA is family. Exactly. Exactly. He is. You know, I mean, this guy is gonna do what is best. And he’s very cunning. Very. And ain’t you know, when he came into us and his people came in tow us in 09 wanting to strike a deal, you know? Uh, yeah, that was one of many I when I was an angle horror. That was one of the things I dealt with and then being told by our embassy, you know? Stay out of it. We’re not talking to them. This is, you know, this is this is reconciliation is an Afghan. Ah, is an Afghan on Lee policy, which was absurd because, you know, you’re backing a central government. Um, you’re supporting them. You’re propping them up. You’re keeping them power. You’re making them rich. Why are they gonna reconcile with their enemies? You know, I mean, it just absolutely absurd. But that was, you know, And that’s one of the reasons why I ended up quitting or what not was there was no desire for any type of deal or peace in 09 and 10 but yeah, that this this idea that we could have disarmed. Ah, his his people. And have these taken that part of the war away. They were always, you know, And that the three elements of the insurgency along with the Haqqanis and them with the Quetta Shura Taliban, um, they were always, uh his people had monitors. People were always the kind of the smallest or the weaker store, the most in the most intricate, inconsequential Ah, you know, book that was compared to the Connie’s into quite a sure, though, you know, they were still consequential in terms of they were killing lots of Afghan army and Afghan police and the lots of Americans and NATO forces, and they were controlling areas. We’re doing the best they could. Um, so but yeah, being the idea that that is basically what you want to have happen is get these guys in and get them into a political process where they feel they can at least take part fairly or these have a shot at some power sharing. Um, I don’t know where the Taliban are gonna say about democracy. I mean, they tend to be opposed to that. You know it, You know you are I should know students they tend to be, but they seem toe have always been opposed to it. But if it’s a deal, that’s good enough for them. Um I mean and it goes back to this house and strains that don’t Baluch stinks. What? When I when I would deal with these guys when they’re people, will come in both in the east. And when I was in the South Ah, there interlocutors were coming. And I’m sure some of those guys were actually Taliban themselves and speak to us. They would say, You know, over and over again. Look, we’re tired of fighting. Our fathers fought, our grandfathers fought. Our sons are now fighting. We don’t want to see our grandson’s fight. We want to see this over. But we’re not going to surrender, you know? And because that was always the Americans, that was always our Our thing to them was basically surrender. Our pre conditions were embraced. The Constitution. Ah, except, ah, women’s rights or no denounce Al Qaeda. I’m sorry and put down your weapons. So basically surrender, you know, especially the put down your weapons part. That’s basically surrender. And they weren’t gonna do that. But they wanted to talk. They wanted to. They wanted to end it because this has been going on since the seventies, you know? I mean, I see this all the time. You know, I was born in 1973. That’s the year the King list opposed. This has been going on since that, You know, at the time the Soviets come in at, you know, as many as 100,000 Afghans have already been killed in the fighting. You know, um, this is this is something that’s been going on for so long that, um, they wanted the Taliban want, and but they don’t want to surrender, and they don’t want to. And just like anyone, they don’t want to give up on the sacrifices they’ve already made. And they feel that they’re winning. You know, I think that was one of the points that you made, Scott. I made lots of people made. Ah, you know, when Obama was escalating, this war was that. Look, if you escalate the war and it doesn’t work, then what? You know, you could always Nagorno You can always come back the killing tomorrow or the next day or next week or next month or next year, you know. But if you escalate the war now, and it doesn’t work. Then what are you gonna d’oh The other side is now winning. And why do you expect them to then go along with what you want? You know, um, and they were winning. It known Ayn. Anyway, that’s what Stanley McChrystal said, you know? So this whole thing has been just, you know, devoid of any intellectual thought or reasoning or oh, are you know at all on the United States part, Hold on just one second, be right back. So you’re constantly buying things from amazon dot com Monde. That makes sense. They bring it right to your house. So what you do, though, is click through from the Link in the right hand margin at Scott Horton dot or GE, and I’ll get a little bit of a kickback from Amazon’s into the sale. Won’t cost your thing nice. Little way to help support this show again. That’s right there in the margin at Scott Horton dot or GE, announcing the latest book to be published by the Libertarian Institute coming to Palestine by our heroic executive editor Sheldon Richman. Incoming to Palestine, Richmond tells the truth about the creation of Israel, the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, and the Israelis continued oppression of the Palestinians since that time. He also tells the stories of anti Zionist Orthodox and Reform Jews who opposed the creation of Israel and those who fight for the Palestinians. Freedom Today. Reed Coming to Palestine by Sheldon Richman Available at Libertarian Institute dot or GE and amazon dot com. Hey, guys, you got to check out the bumper sticker dot com. You play in a band, you need stickers. Yugo the bumper sticker dot com. Maybe have a business and you need stickers. Yugo to the bumper sticker dot com They’ll take care of all this stuff. I created the company back, I don’t know. A generation ago, I sold it to Rick McGinnis, and he’s done a great job with the company ever since they got what you needed over there at the bumper sticker dot com. Well, and so what about this recent election? I mean, uh, is a sure bet that this government can even stand Taliban notwithstanding, if Ghani and Abdullah cannot decide who’s gonna be who I mean, in 2014 they were trying to kill each other. Yeah, yeah, John Kerry had a fly there right and make this, you know, we’re so big on Ah, Afghanistan, the rule of law in Afghanistan. It’s a constitutional government. And look, it’s a democracy and the elections are just incredibly fraudulent. One after the other. And it was so bad in 2014 that Secretary of State John Kerry had a fly there and create this compromise that created an extra constitutional position Foer Abdul Abdula to fill as a chief executive officer of the government. And then they kind of split, Ah, positions. You know, Minh Certainly the Afghan government, you know, a lot like the United States government say, like in the 19th century, where patronage was a huge factor, right where the, you know, you’re the president was was assigning who was going to be the postmasters, you know, throughout the country, right, Yahia? That’s the same way with the Afghan government. You know, all the positions below President within the executive are appointed by the president all the way down to the lowest cop on the beat, all the way down to the lowest, you know, sanitation worker or whoever in the smallest town in Afghanistan is in a direct line to the president of Afghanistan. You know, in terms of who appoints who, then how their patterns selected. And so, uh, you know, the government essentially split along those lines, so nothing was gonna be accomplished anyway. And they hate each other. They don’t work together. Ghandi has a reputation for being stubborn. Thickheaded anyway, um, and, um but yeah. I mean, this thing is, if the election was pushed back, uh, you know, from the spring toe to ah, you know, a couple of months ago and then the election results were supposed to have come out in October, and now they’ve been pushed back to this month, and I don’t even know if I’ve seen an actual date for when the results are supposed to be announced. Um, I I went back and looked, and all I found was just seeing things saying the results will be announced in November. So uh huh. Maybe I just missed it, but I couldn’t even find a date where they said the results were gonna be allowed. Announced. Yeah, I saw that it was gonna be later this month, I guess, But And of course, both of them claiming victory immediately And just like in the last two elections, there’s not even talking about turn out in the countryside, you know? I mean, the only reason that we don’t know the Onley rial, you know, at least Western Good report about what was happening out in the countryside in 2014. Was Gopal and a Kagans saying, There’s nothing going on out there, man. There’s no election. What election? Yeah, Didn’t happen at all. I mean, if out in the countryside exactly. If the people out there even knew about the elections, they just probably they would have felt that this doesn’t apply to me, that this doesn’t represent me. It doesn’t apply to me going on the opals reporting. He quotes some guys sing an election. Why did the guy die or something? They don’t know that. Why would you have an election? I thought we had a police chief. He’s That’s a that’s a lifetime appointment, is it not? You know, Yeah, I mean that that’s the way it was. I mean, in some ways, to you know, you can look at it with the elections in 09 and four king in the various parliamentary elections in this last election had I think total turnout was was less than 25% including the cities. You know that people know that the people realize that what it’s inconsequential, that the government is corrupt. It it’s not just corrupt, its predatory, that there is no ah, there’s this the report by the Bureau Investigative journalism just a couple days ago about all the different property that various government official zone and Dubai, you know. Ah, you know all these All these families of the that are part of the government in Afghanistan own, you know, large amounts of property. And Dubai, you know, these thes massive apartments or condos within these skyscrapers and stuff which, you know, if that was done legitimately, would not be a problem. But, you know, it’s not being done legitimately. We know clearly that that is money that most likely came from the United States, or maybe Japan or Germany or Briton. But you know what again is just just Ah, you know, Jason ditz at antiwar dot com. And if if anyone’s listening who was really interested in these issues and you don’t subscribe to the anti war dot com, you know daily feed. You know you’re missing out because that’s how I learn. Everything is through, you know, anti war in Jason ditz, you know, And but yet he reported that they just get a new estimate for how much the United States has spent on reconstruction and development and police in schools and in all those things and and and combating opium is 132 billion or 138 billion or something like that since 2001. And about 10 billion of that has been against the opium trade or against the drug trade. And, you know, we’ve seen how well that’s applied. But, you know, I mean, for the people who were in Afghanistan, they know all that money’s being spent, you know? They’re not seeing it. They know the government is, and they’ve never had a government that has worked for them. They’ve ever had. A government has represented them. They don’t have the government has protected them unless it’s protecting Ah, constituency that you’re a part of Monde. So I think was gonna happen. These elections is that these various war the words who make up the constituency constituency of of Afghanistan of the Afghan government. Um, these warlords in the north, you know, and and then some of the strong men in the East say, like, Kolache grocers, I or whoever you know, they have to make a decision. What they’re gonna do when this crisis comes full force of who won the election, you know, who are they support? And is it a and and will that then Constitutent, you know, Ah, Riel challenge to the Afghan government. Will the Afghan government, you said that’s has got you could be able to stay alive, will be even able to stay afloat. And I think that’s that’s right. Now, even though the Taliban are doing so well militarily, you know, as you said, they controlled more than 60% of the countryside or the land. You know, um, that I think that’s gonna be the real crisis of the next few months. Is will this government be able to stand? Um, if it has a challenge from within from its own constituency over who has the right to to lead it. And ah, Ghandi has certainly done himself no favors in terms of of, uh, making his coalition stronger. Uh, just, uh just in the way he is governed in the last five years. Yeah, well, and, you know, in this cigar report, that’s s I G A R. It’s the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, and whoever at their office added me to their list a few years ago. Thanks, guys. I’m glad to know you’re Listen, um, Yemen. They say here that, you know, at its current rate of collection, revenue would fall short of the government stated target by 19.3 billion Afghan dollars, which is still 300,000,250 million. Um, but that’s, you know, their stated target then is still so far short of their budget, which we all know Xasan comes from us. And you know what? Like, I hate to make this personal cause it’s really not, you know, it’s a matter of principle, but in this case, I actually have the IRS trying to murder me right now, and I just It makes me feel so good to know that all the money they’ve ever extorted from me just went to pay for what? Like Wone tire on the limousine of some child rapist Afghan warlord When he drives you know, back and forth from his private jet to his mansion in Doha Cutter that this is where my man goes. This is where there are people in this audience who, you know, make riel money, own their own businesses, real successes in life and pay serious income taxes. This is where your money is going. This is where the money’s going. Just to pay the worst people in the world. You would have a better You would have better return for your money if you walk to your nearest lake or pond a river or ocean. Just dump that money in the water. Absolutely in like it would mean because maybe it would have turned into fish food Or, you know, constituted like some artificial barrier or something like that. Their proteins and nutrients and ink something. I mean, it would have been better. I mean, it is just Bin I mean, that money it has not and they, you know, and the thing about it too, it just goes along with the lies of the government. Why anyone believes anything that ever comes out of this government, you know? And now we’re seeing you know, not to jump totally jumps Baltics. But this save, like with the, uh, the impeachment hearings that are going on right now. Ah, guy like Bill Taylor. I knew him in Iraq and, 04 or five. I mean, I wouldn’t trust anything, he said, regardless of what he was saying. If what he said was Pro Trump, I wouldn’t trust it. If what he was saying was Anti Trump, I wouldn’t trust it. These are the kinds of people who have stood in front of the American public for decades now and said that each year the war is going well, this plan is gonna work. These people were working with or good people. When the exactly as you said Scott, they turn out to be child rapists. Uh, you know that the money is being well spent? Well, well taken care of that. You know, millions of Afghan children are going to school, you know, which turns out to be a lie. You know, I mean, like, on and on and on, You know, we we’ve ah, my favorites. That was in U S. A. I d you know, our development organization within the United States government, The agency for international development. Um, you know, I mean, for years they kept, they would they would say, Ah, that the life expectancy for Afghans have got has gone up 20 years or so or whatever, and it was complete B s. They literally had no data to support what they were saying, you know? I mean, and but they will keep saying it. And an administrator after administrator would say that in front of Congress Congress people were repeated. The secretary of state would say it, you know the president, United States would allude to it, and it was completely fabricated, completely made up. It was a why, you know, And if they all went along with it, it let alone the larger picture of that. Our young men and women are over there being killed, being named, coming home with, like, incredible cycle. Wait a second. I’m in on that previous point about life expectancy and all that, even if there’s a kernel of truth in that look at the actual situation. The American occupation began just as a massive famine was ending, which was, of course, part of the Civil War that was going on at the time. But It was also a major drought had come and people were dying by the thousands at that time. So it was a you know, of course, there’s been an improvement of the standard of living. It would have been probably an improvement if the Russians had come back, for God’s sake, at that point, you know, actually, I got into an argument with, uh because the Atlantic magazine Khyber printed it, and I sent them. You know, everything about this, you know, the U S i. D points to a study that was done, and six of the people of the six people in the study, three of them resigned in protest because the study was published because it was that had been done sewing correctly, you know? I mean, the study they put it was crazy, But what? I went back and was pointing loss information to the Atlantic. Ah, and of course, they have, like, any of these places. The New York Times opposed none of these people. Vanity fair, whoever they never they never issue a correction. They never report their own mistakes. They never want to contradict. You know, it’s it’s sickening, but, uh, actually, the period of time in the last 100 years when life expectancy actually went up for the Afghans was during the time the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan that seven million people they killed exact. That’s exactly what I say, and they killed a 1,000,000 people. But still, life expectancy somehow went up during that time, and that’s sounding like fudge numbers to me. Two minutes. But these But these at least with the numbers that are being reported by all the various world institutions, right? The World Bank, the U S. D. A. They right? So I mean, at least it was. This is what everyone had settled. See, A said that about the eighties under the Soviets, and that’s at least against interest. That sounds more like an admission on there. That’s exactly right. Inhofe, Hutu. I think I was like the World Bank is Well, Wone was another one where I was getting information from on this, and if they were saying the Communist Soviet Union had actually done you know it and whether or not that’s true, But the thing is that for for decades, and as you said folks who are listening to this, I mean they’re they’re tax money, at the very least, let alone families and friends who are going over there and, you know, being hurt and killed and then killing themselves a month number of people that we’ve killed them, who we’ve destroyed, the societies were destroyed. We destroyed. You know, you’re writing a book about this. We’ve destroyed how many countries in the last two decades, Scott, You know, I mean, like, it’s, uh and they keep going along with it. They keep, they keep, they keep getting away with it. Um, and then they get loud it as, uh, these various people, whether it’s Bill Taylor or, you know, you turn on CNN and hey, there’s there’s John Brennan or or Jim Clapper. You know, these guys who continually perjured themselves to Congress or Brendan’s case spied on Congress. And, ah, the American people are okay with oh, our Amash insane American people. But the American media is okay with continuing to put these people forward as exemplars of ah of dignified public service. And nothing could be farther from the truth. Yeah, boy. Especially clapper. You know, they always say Well, he perjured himself about the n s a spying on Americans, which for some reason, nobody cares about or something. They go well, yeah, that’s pretty bad. You know what he also perjured himself about with Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction when he was in charge of the satellite reconnaissance office and was saying, Oh, yeah, see that, You know, trough right there for goats to drink out of or whatever. Yeah, that’s where they send the anthrax down there when you know some garbage and then also try to cover up for his life with another lie. Vladimir Putin helped Saddam Hussein move all his chemical weapons to Syria. I mean, this guy should have been hanging by the end of 2000 and three long before he had a chance to perjure himself about the N S A. Or about Trump’s supposed ties to Vladimir Putin. Yeah, but he ended up being, you know, director of national Intelligence instead, you know, um, under under a Democratic president, you know, next week there is a big event in Washington D. C. Being held by Bring our troops home dot us and I was wondering if you are going to be involved in that at all. You know. You know what? I am glad you brought it up because I was supposed to be in California next week, and that is not happening. And Dan had gotten in touch with me, you know? I heard him on the I heard him on your show, and I had seen his op Ed and Danny McKnight is his name. And that Scott said bring our troops home is the organization. He’s a Afghan war veteran. Um, and yeah, I thought he was absolutely terrific, and he sent me an email, and I didn’t see it for, like, three weeks. Of course. Right. You know, for whatever reason, I skipped over it. I get a lot of this like you do, right. You get a lot of these e mails, and I think the subject line was like, bring our troops home. So I thought it was just from one of the various different peace groups or whoever that 70 emails all the time. So, you know. And then as I was clearing out, I realized my 1,000,000 box I realized Oh, shoot. This is an actual email. And so yeah, he had asked me to take part, and I had differ but declined because I was gonna be in California. But, you know, I’m glad you reminded me, because maybe I’ll try and get up there next week. At least attend it. Ah, but I think what he is doing is so important, and particularly to get members of Congress Ah, in the room and get them on the spot about what’s going on with this. You know, what he had said about talking with his senator was the same thing I heard over and over again. Half heard in Congress for the last decade with. Well, Matt, you know, I I hear what you’re saying, and I agree with you. But this is not the political room for me to do this or, you know, or, you know, or they say they agree with you and then they go out and they say something completely different. You know, I had a very interesting conversation about this with an agreement. Wone time was Michael Steele, who was the old, uh who, you know, 78 years ago, was the chair of the Republican National Committee and, ah, steel Tool. And he was always putting his foot in his mouth. he He wasn’t that I don’t think a very good share for that party. Um, you know, But ah, not that any of them. I mean, yeah, I ship. That’s good. That’s not go down that route about the Republican Party, but, uh but they, um, Steele said that the biggest what he ever the most er he ever got cold by members of Congress about was everything was this summer of 11 he said, Basically, look, Obama’s right. We need to be getting out of Afghanistan. And he said he told me he had, you know, 10 or 12 Congre House members and 45 senators call him Republicans, Call him and say, Hey, you’re right But you can’t say that, you know, and and that’s been the reality of our politics for the last two decades, with these wars where the Democrats were fine to be against the Iraq war as long as Bush was in office. But as soon as he left office and there is no political, there’s nothing political, no political capital, no no votes to gain from it, no demonizing of the opposition, the game for it. You know, the war’s became something that you know, occasionally it pops up. They passed this this resolution, Um ah t Force Trump to stop taking part in the war in Yemen. But as I heard you discuss on the, uh, one of your shows with someone they chose Thio go the route where Trump was able to veto. You know that that with the War Powers Act, you’re able to ah, you know, have a resolution that goes for that. The president can’t veto that. Basically, uh, you know, you know, the money going to the military stops and the military by law has to stop what they’re doing. But the democratic leadership, when they went forward with this resolution on the War Powers Act for Yemen, chose to give the president and out, you know, um you know, So it I think what Dan is doing with Dem McKnight is doing with his bring our troops home campaign, you know, is really it Wone it’s overdue. Ah, and I think as as you said in my mind, the left, you know, and I’m part of groups like Veterans for Peace and an about face which used to be Iraq veterans against the war. But we’re all left us. You know, we’re like base where me Most of us are socialists or whatever, you know. And we’re not going to get the support from the American public that a conservative group is going to get that a group of just regular guys who are yet now business owners or whatever they’re doing are going to get in particularly dance, going about it by trying to put members of Congress on the spot about it. In terms of what their constitutional duty is as well as their duty to the people. I I think what he is doing is really ah, really admirable. And yeah, I’m gonna now that you say and I’m glad you reminded me of it. I’ll try and get up there next week. Yeah, that’d be great. So a couple of things. I mean, first of all, you really need to read that Rothbardian sent you, man. But second, um, you know? Yeah, Mises argumentative. It makes it a better for you. I’m a libertarian socialist. Oh, I’m against Yeah, evidence that one of them Anarcho leftists. I’ll settle. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, So here’s the deal is and this is a big problem. I mean, it’s a bigger problem than it should be. Maybe, but it is Wone, right? Is that essentially you’ve seeded away all of your tough guy macho Afghanize Iraq war vet status that you had because now you’re liberal, which to a right winger means now you’re somewhat utopian Peace neck or now you’re a cry baby are now something you know. But as you’re saying, it’s the right wing veterans that you know, carry all of the, you know, that have the ability essentially to change the real conversation here. And that means broadly in the public trying to get the point across that Hey, the the rank and file Republican voters of America, those tea party types out there. They are really sick and tired of this, Not they like killing Muslims, but they’re sick and tired of seeing their nephews get killed over some Muslims. That’s that narrative in the popular imagination is what has to change more than any other thing. And then when it comes to dealing with the congressman, that’s the way it has to be approached. Is that look you say that I’m right, but you can’t say that. Well, Let me tell you something. You have to say that because I know you’re gonna anger your donors. But if you don’t say it, you’re gonna anger your voters. And this is one where you’re going tohave to choose the mass of the rank and file out there over the money bags. Because, you know, you can try to bribe us all you want, but you need the turnout toe win the election. And when it’s, you know, conservative as you say soldiers making this case to thes congressman, at least they’re believable when they put it that way. And so, if you’re a Republican Congressman, how do you get How could anyone possibly change your mind about this, right? They’d have to be a conservative voting war veteran who says that he represents a lot more just like him, and that this is what they absolutely demand and will not settle for less than so. I mean, no offense, but being a socialist in this case, you might as well wear tie dye and grow your hair out all along. Start taking puberty, blockers or whatever, because you’ve just given away your whole status as a war veteran to say that this is stuff has got to stop. And by the way, there are plenty of people preaching socialism in America that they don’t really need you on the margin for that. We need you for this. Yeah. You know, I I agree That that is Ah, um that is that is exactly Ah ah, the case with you know, And you could say that on the right, Um, if we could get more people who are doing primary challenges, uh, coming from that, um, you know, I mean, the tea party was very successful, you know, But the tea party had that nationalist, uh, you know, kind of ah, proto patriotic. You know, back to the room. You know, back to the roots of the revolution type of thing where, um they didn’t embrace, uh, the the dangers of the standing army, right? Actually, no Yugo back. No, this was like the Bolton esque perversion of the Ron Paulian tea party movement. Right? But this is the thing about this is the entire point, right? This is the key to what we’re talking about here. The populist right. In other words, Republican voters who are not members of country clubs, but who do vote Republican for mostly cultural reasons More than any other thing that these people, either they really like explosions and kick and Muslim but or they’re sick and tired of it. And the answer is, it’s both. But the but the real thing is, is which gets emphasized, which is the narrative in the popular imagination that dominates. And it needs to be that we were having fun. But now we’re not anymore. And we really are tired of it, you know? Yeah. And there’s, you know, and that there was Ah, I can’t remember. I think it is. M i t Ah, you know, I can’t remember who did. The studies of of the, uh, Ennis has been spoken about on your show before. A swell of the turnout in 2016. And that a lot of the lot in a lot of the counties that voted for Trump there was an antiwar vote and bat votes swung. Those counties Foer, Trump and these are like what you’re talking about. These are the communities that have born the brunt of this war, you know? I mean, these are these are these are the families that have had, ah, cousins or nephews or brothers returns and sisters return home either dead or not the same who have been told what the reality of the war is, you know? Or they have, you know, people down the street who have experienced it. And so I think there is that Bass who would vote for you know, that’s the thing is that, you know, on the left Ah, there’s there’s a lot of anti war sentiment on the left. But when it comes time to choosing who they’re gonna vote for, that anti war sentiment might rank 6th 7th 8th You know, in terms what the priorities. And that’s what that’s what That’s really important. Um, you know, You know, I learned this from Grover Norquist when I he worked with us. Uh uh. You know what I was doing? Like a lot of Afghan study group stuff. And we’re a lot in Congress and and a lot of media work. And we got Norquist on her side because we went in and saw him. And you know Grover Norquist. If you’re not familiar with them, big anti tax, anti government kind of guy have been very involved with the Reagan. Ah, with Reagan, his politics and eighties and such. And, uh, but Norquist. We got him involved because when said to him and this was like, 2010 we said, Do you know how much money the Afghan war is gonna cost this year? And he said no. And we said about $120 billion he fell out of his chair, you know, I mean, so, um, but he told me the story where in the eighties, the, uh, the issue of prayer in school was off the charts in terms of how it pulled, you know, 70 80% of all Americans were in favor of prayer in school. You know, Kid wants to pray at school that, um you know, and they ran candidates, Republicans ran candidates on that issue and then got killed, because when it comes down to it, who’s gonna go out and vote Foer that not your voting? Because, you know, you’re because your cousin lost his job, you know? And you know I mean, because, you know, you’re voting on the economy, growing taxes. You’re voting out. You know, now that you have your your morning on health care. You’re voting on whatever it is you’re voting on. It’s those things that are impacting you and, you know, like it or not, this war doesn’t impact most people, even though God, it’s close to, what 60% of your income taxes, they’re now going to the $1.2 trillion war machine. I mean, that thing, it’s gotta be explained. They got to be lead. They’ve got to be shown that actually, this is the root of everything wrong around here. It’s the root of all the problems in our economy. It’s the root of all the division, much of the division in our society. Andrei is at the root of the police state and the that’s right, you know, increasing lawlessness of our government under all administrations and all of these things. The empire is the republic killer, far more than democracy. It’s the empire that is destroying what’s left of our old rule of law here. And the thing is that, you know, you’re right, that, um, it doesn’t rank on the list of priorities. But if the connection can be made and if it’s conservative, bring them home, bring our troops home dot us types. War veterans, especially leading it. And if, as Trump noticed at his Minnesota rally recently that his voters started chanting Bring them home and they sounded like they meant it, then you know that really could make it, you know. And if Tulsi Gabbert could do any better in getting her narrative across in make foreign policy part of the argument of in the next year in this campaign, maybe by Election Day it really will matter that, like, who do you trust to bring the troops home and let that be what they fight about? You know, Yukos, The answer is neither fry whoever’s running. But yeah, I’m exactly that. Well, I mean, like, you know, and how much is like, say, say, Sanders. Actually, I I have no faith and warn being good on this, even though she is, you know, she came out when? Where she’s gonna take a lot of defense budget to help pay for Medicare. For all that. And I’m sorry. I just realized how late I am. I’m so sorry. I gotta go. Yeah, but you know what? Let’s talk more and soon. Yeah, absolutely, Man, I appreciate Scott you have a good one? Absolutely. You, too. That’s the great Matthew Ho. He really tried to stop. He did everything he could to try to stop Obama’s Afghan surge. Heroic efforts, Um and, uh, and he’s at the Center for International Policy and thank you very much again for your time, Matthew Appreciate. But you bet. All right, Shell. Thanks. Find me at Libertarian Institute Dot or GE at scott horton dot or ge antiwar dot com and reddit dot com slash scott Horton Show. Oh yeah, and read my book Fool’s Errand Timed and the War in Afghanistan at Fool’s errand dot us.[/expand]
More places to listen to The Scott Horton Show.
Scott Horton has done over 5,400 interviews with military leaders, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. Avoid being part of the mob that calls for innocent blood by learning from foreign-policy experts, and spread the message of peace to others.