The Real Reason the U.S. Funded the Mujahedin in the 1980s
I recently watched the interview with Hillary Clinton in which she states that the U.S. had to fund to the Mujahedin to help them overthrow the pro-Soviet, Afghan government in the 1980s because we were in a “struggle” with the Soviet Union and because this is what ultimately led to its collapse and disintegration. Viewing this interview was painful for me not only because of the half-truths and untruths she tells in it, but also because of the sickeningly slick P.R. job she delivers. It is utterly frightening because she is so good at lying, and because this kind of misinformation — the official story — was really all most Americans had to go on. The interview segment is short and can be accessed at the following Facebook link: https://fb.watch/7JMEus3bRh/
Most all Americans were able only to get the U.S. government’s side of the story, and were blocked from getting the truth and the big picture. This was a terrible injustice to them, being deprived of the truth about the history of the Soviet-Afghan War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. For one, there were many countries funding and aiding the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, including and most importantly, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Also, the U.S.S.R. had been in severe political and economic decline for many decades before the Reagan administration started funding the Mujahedin. Just as it has been in the U.S. for many years now, at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, all of the major social and economic indicators for Soviet citizens had been increasingly dismal for many years, including average income, lifespan, and height (yes, height, an indicator of the quality of one’s nutrition).
Looking at the big picture, it is clear that the main reasons the U.S.S.R. collapsed were the Soviet citizens’ resistance to the corruption and oppression of the totalitarian dictatorships installed in each of the separate Soviet “Republics,” and the inherent inefficiency of their centrally planned economies — which was composed of government-controlled monopolies throughout. Corruption and inefficiency had been on the rise for many years and were becoming more and more evident to the people of the Soviet Union as the higher-ups in government and the state-run, corporate monopolies were able to purchase luxurious dachas (summer residences) in the countryside and fur coats and other expensive consumer items while the lines the people had to stand in to purchase food and other necessities kept growing longer and longer, the shortages increased, and the quality of the goods decreased. The collapse of the Soviet Union was, in fact, yet another decline and fall of an empire, this time of the Russian/Soviet Empire, brought about by the increasing weight of its internal injustices and weaknesses. These facts have all been massively documented by the research of scholars and historians over the years leading up to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and those that followed it.
The fall of the Soviet empire did not come about because the U.S. (and other countries) succeeded in helping the Mujahedin kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan and take over the Afghan government. Nor did it happen because Reagan went to Berlin in 1987, waved his magic wand of U.S. omnipotence, and ordered Gorbachev, the leader of the U.S.S.R., to tear down the Berlin Wall. That was just a cheap P.R. stunt — an opportunistic theft of the credit for the victories that rightly belonged to the people of the U.S.S.R. who had been fighting for freedom from their oppressors for decades, often in the streets in mass uprisings (the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Prague Spring of 1968, for example). The people of the former Soviet Union, and only they, can claim the credit for the overthrow of the totalitarian dictatorships they were living under.
The Reagan administration, along with Pakistan and other countries, did succeed in helping the Mujahedin to oust the Soviet-backed, secular government of Afghanistan and install an Islamic dictatorship over the Afghan people. But this was not necessarily a positive historical event, in the big picture. Under the Soviet-backed, Afghan government, fanatical Islam was on the decline, education was on the rise, women had much more equal rights, and there was great economic progress made — going back all the way to the early 1900s when the ruler of Afghanistan first turned to the new Bolshevik, Russian government for help with its development.
Further, as with the Vietnam War, the U.S. role in the Afghan War was, in the big picture, unjust, unnecessary, and incredibly destructive. If the U.S. was not funding the Mujahedin in order to bring about the downfall of the Soviet Union, what was the real reason? Looking at the big picture, we can see that it was actually an imperialist war of aggression and for profit, and not a just war for the defense of the United States and the liberation of the Afghan people. If anything, our participation in the war resulted in the shackling of the Afghan people, or at least the tightening of their shackles. Also, it strengthened the fanatical, fundamentalist Islamists in many ways in their pursuit of future wars of conquest. This was something that certainly contributed to our greater insecurity. Looking at the big picture, we can see that the U.S.’s role in funding the Mujahedin was just one small front in a war being waged by the leaders of the U.S. and their assorted allies in the larger game of chess they were playing on the chess board of the world, and especially in the oil-rich Middle East — including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Somalia.
This is not to say that the Soviet Union and China were not engaged in their own imperialist wars, the various fronts in their own respective games of chess. They were also in the business of meddling in the governments of other countries, and sometimes even gobbling up whole countries. However, be this as it may, and though we were in a kind of struggle with the other two superpowers, it was not a struggle to defend the United States against creeping communism, as told in the official story. We did not need to defend the United States against this prospect. The Balance of Terror — the stalemate the superpowers were in because of the advent of nuclear weapons and the impossibility of winning a new world war without making the planet uninhabitable for humans — was defense enough. The struggle was actually a struggle by the greedy and power-mongering of the United States and its allies for greater international influence and economic gain against the greedy and power-mongering Soviets and Chinese and their respective allies. Though they packaged their P.R. campaigns relating to the support of the Mujahedin against the Soviets and the Afghan government as defense of the United States against the Soviet Union (the “Evil Empire), that was not the real reason. Just as the Vietnam War was never about defending the United States against creeping communism. Our own international and domestic intelligence and security resources were formidable during both wars and entirely capable of keeping communism far from our shores, without engaging in wars halfway across the world — wars that were unwinnable.
I have to wonder why the leaders of the United States seem to prefer seeing fanatical, fundamentalist leaders in such countries as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and so on, as opposed to more populist, secular leaders, albeit socialist leaning leaders. This seems counterintuitive, and dark, in many ways. It makes most sense that it is because the former are more likely to keep the target countries more poor and ineffective — and therefore easy to manipulate and exploit; while the latter are more likely to make the target countries richer and more effective — and therefore more difficult to manipulate and exploit. And if this is the case, then at what cost does U.S. conquest and domination come? Both to us and to them? Is it really the duty of the citizens of the United States to sacrifice our freedom, privacy, and prosperity to our leaders and the ultra-wealthy class so that they can be enabled to take away the freedom, privacy, and prosperity of the target countries? And if so, why?
This also brings up the fact that there has been an overall dumbing-down of the people of the United States during the past few decades. First of all, our media was allowed to be consolidated and merged, starting in the Reagan Administration, into six mega-corporations that control all our media — news, information, and entertainment — and the quality of programming decreased dramatically and has been on the decline ever since. Secondly, the all-important Fairness Doctrine was gotten rid of during the Reagan Administration. Thirdly, funding for college students and increased tuition costs have made going to college extremely expensive and have made it impossible or extremely burdensome for most American students to get a college education. It is apparent the U.S. Government is playing the same cards domestically as it is abroad: keep the people dumbed-down and it will be easier to steal from them and take their rights and freedoms away.
Appearances can be deceiving, especially when the deceivers are holding all the cards. The ultra-wealthy of the banking sector, the military-industrial complex, and the defense contractors are the only ones who have benefited from the wars in Afghanistan and other recent wars the U.S. has fought. The wars of aggression and imperialism have, in the big picture, only brought suffering and immense economic burdens to the average citizens of all three superpowers, and to the people of the countries whose governments the superpowers have meddled in. If we again look at the big picture, international cooperation and negotiation via such international organizations as the United Nations and nations’ respect for one another’s sovereignty and security would work much better for everyone. The world has gotten much smaller with the advent of recent technological breakthroughs in communication and transportation, and is getting smaller all the time. Communications have improved to the point where, we can cooperate and negotiate via the United Nations and other institutions efficiently and effectively. There really is no need for war, with the level of communications available and the Balance of Terror holding the three superpowers in check. The only real reasons for war today are greed and power-mongering.
In conclusion, what Hillary Clinton states in this interview is not true. Her basic rationale for the U.S. funding of the Mujahedin is far from the truth. She is also staging the same cheap P.R. stunt that Reagan staged in claiming for the United States the credit for the fall of the Soviet Union, and the implied conclusion that we should all be very proud of that great patriotic victory! That we should all be eager to wave our little flags at passing parades over it. What makes this kind of clever deceit even more unsettling is the ever so rational, benevolent, and sincere tone Clinton strikes in her delivery. In this particular interview, she’s almost as good as Reagan was at working the crowd and stirring up that good old, American, patriotic spirit. For those few moments, the insidious power of the charisma of leaders to deceive is crystal clear.