fbpx
CurrentMiddle East

What WWII Can Teach America About Its Defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq

America does not support the legitimate aspirations of people around the world to live freely when it is afraid of who they may choose to lead them or when doing so is not politically expedient.

[This article was originally published on July 5th, 2021, found here.]

President Biden recently announced his intention to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. It may have taken nearly twenty years, but America is finally ready to admit defeat and bring its troops home.

What began as an impressive display of military power has now turned into its longest war, one that history will remember as an embarrassing and mostly self-inflicted defeat. America also lost the war in Iraq in a remarkably similar fashion.

The best way to explain why the relatively easy conquests of Afghanistan and Iraq eventually turned into such unmitigated disasters is to compare the policies implemented to secure the conquests of each country with the policies used to secure Germany and Japan at the end of WWII.

Germany formally surrendered to the Allies on May 7, 1945, while Japan formally surrendered on September 2, 1945 [1]. Both nations remained under formal military occupation for the next ten [2] and seven years [3], respectively.

The policies implemented to secure America’s victories over the Axis powers cemented its post-WWII power by turning its most implacable foes into two of its closest allies. They also turned both nations into drivers of economic growth that helped to spread prosperity throughout Europe and Asia. The conquests of Afghanistan and Iraq did not lead to similar results.

The Taliban retreated from their home city of Kandahar on December 7, 2001 [4], signaling their defeat at the hands of American and allied Afghan forces. Bagdad fell to American forces on April 9, 2003 [5] leading to President Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” celebration aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln less than a month later [6].

The policies implemented to secure the conquests of Iraq and Afghanistan turned what began as impressive victories into stinging defeats that will have a destabilizing impact on the trajectory of the Islamic world for the foreseeable future and raise troubling questions regarding the inability of America’s leaders to use its powerful military to achieve their policy goals.

Germany and Japan

As the table below illustrates, the most obvious difference between the occupations of Germany and Japan versus Afghanistan and Iraq is that the US never provided enough troops to secure the latter two nations.

Country Size Population Troops during year 1 of occupation Ratio of soldiers to pop. in yr. 1 Troop levels in Year 2 Troop levels in Year 3
West Germany 249,000 sq. km.[7] 51 million[8] 1.6 million[9] 1 per 31.8 278,000[10] 100,000[11]
Japan 378,000 sq. km.[12] 77 million[13] 430,000[14] 1 per 179 200,000 120,000
Afghanistan 652,000 sq. km.[15] 21.6 million[16] 2,500[17] 1 per 8,640 9,700 13,100
Iraq 438,000 sq. km.[18] 25.1 million[19] 130,000[20] 1 per 193 143,000 141,000

Troop levels in West Germany in 1945 were large enough to provide 6.4 troops/sq. km.  or 1 soldier for every 31.8 German citizens. They dropped drastically within a year, but the US still maintained a large military presence for the first few years of its occupation. Similarly, there was 1 soldier for every 179 people in Japan in 1945 and a large, though reduced military presence for the first few years of the occupation.

These troop levels provided a stable security environment in both nations which allowed for the institution of sweeping political and social changes designed to create fully democratic governments. In Germany, the US dismantled the military, built democratic political institutions, and instituted legal reforms to make sure the Nazis could never take power again [21].

The US also dismantled Japan’s military, gave Japanese women the right to vote, instituted reforms designed to diffuse land ownership more evenly, reformed the educational system, and changed the role of the Emperor in overseeing Japan’s government [22].

These reforms largely explain why these occupations were so successful, but they would not have worked without first providing enough troops to create a security environment conducive to implementing them.

One of the most important issues America had to deal with in both Germany and Japan was how to treat its vanquished enemies. Though many Americans wanted to punish anyone associated with the Nazis and Japan’s elite, the US adopted a more practical approach.

It made sure to hold Nazis and Japanese officials guilty of serious crimes accountable for their actions. However, they also allowed lower-ranking Nazis to rejoin public life and respected Japanese sentiments by letting the Emperor remain as a figurehead [23].

This practical approach allowed for the inclusion of men into both post-war societies who may otherwise have taken up arms against American forces and helped prevent an insurgency from developing. Thus, America’s military posture and political policies were aligned and reinforced each other by working together to maintain security in each country.

America also provided generous financial aid to help rebuild both economies. It did so in two ways. First, its robust military presence alleviated both nations from the burden of having to pay for their own defense needs which allowed them to allocate their resources towards rebuilding their civilian government institutions and economies instead.

Second, the US provided a substantial amount of direct economic aid and made sure this aid was used efficiently. After adjusting for inflation, the Marshal Plan provided the equivalent of $182 billion to Europe between 1946-1952 [24]. Germany received the equivalent of $35 billion [25] while Japan received the equivalent of $18 [26] billion during this time.

This aid was structured to incentivize the recipient countries to open their economies to international trade and provide them with the materials and supplies needed to rebuild their industries. Most importantly, it was designed to make sure neither country would become permanently dependent on American generosity by allowing them to rebuild in a way that benefited local industry [27].

It was this combination of military, political, social, and economic policies and reforms all working together that laid the foundations for the successful consolidation of America’s victories over Germany and Japan. But the glue that held these policies together was the significant presence of American troops to provide security in the immediate aftermath of each conflict.

The policies used to consolidate the victories over Afghanistan and Iraq did not complement each other in a manner that could cement either conquest. Instead, they often undermined each other but the reason for this incoherence was primarily rooted in America’s low troop levels.

Afghanistan

The policies used to secure Afghanistan stand in stark contrast to the policies developed in Germany and Japan.

The US did not need a large force to conquer Afghanistan. Its strategy of embedding special forces troops with Afghan militias and supporting them with airpower was adequate to defeat the Taliban, but it was not designed to provide security in the vacuum created by the Taliban’s absence.

Despite being much bigger than either Japan or the parts of West Germany under American control, the US never deployed more than 13,100 troops to Afghanistan during the first three years of its occupation and it never provided more than 20,300 troops during the first 5 years of its occupation [28].

Even after accounting for its smaller population, such low troop levels could never have provided the security needed to build a stable government capable of effectively ruling Afghanistan. For example, Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Agency estimated it would take 250,000 troops to secure just the Pashtun-dominated Southern parts of the country [29].

The US tried to institute the same sort of sweeping political and social reforms in Afghanistan [30] as it did in Germany and Japan. But since it never provided enough troops to stabilize the country, it was never able to provide the security necessary to properly implement them.

In fact, its low troop levels crucially undermined [31] these reforms because they forced the US to work with Afghanistan’s warlords in a way that made building and empowering a new government capable of properly enacting them impossible.

Instead of assuming security responsibilities as it did in Germany and Japan, America pursued a dual strategy of building alliances with local warlords and militias to establish control over the country while it helped Afghanistan’s central government build a modern military. Neither strategy worked.

The alliances formed with these warlords, and the political compromises they entailed, gave them a disproportionate amount of political and military power in a way that directly undermined Afghanistan’s central government [32]. Consequently, the government created by the Bonn Agreement never developed the capacity to provide the security, government services, and economic development that would have allowed it to secure the victory against the Taliban.

By allying itself with Afghanistan’s tribal and sectarian warlords and militias, America empowered the very people who created the political, security, and socio-economic conditions that gave rise to the Taliban in the first place. Unfortunately, these men did not learn any lessons from their defeat at the hands of the Taliban during the 90’s.

Upon resuming power, they quickly developed a reputation for corruption, drug trafficking [33], and violently abusing the people they ruled over by robbing, murdering, torturing, and/or raping them [34]. America had no choice but to overlook these serious problems, including ignoring reports regarding the prevalence of child sex slaves [35] among its allies because it needed their manpower.

Efforts to build a modern military also suffered from serious flaws. Trying to build a modern military given Afghanistan’s weak state institutions, a mosaic of ethnic and tribal rivalries, a non-existent industrial base, and extremely low levels of socio-economic development was never a realistic goal.

Rather than recognize these simple facts, America’s leaders insisted on wasting resources trying to build a military that Afghanistan could not afford [36], detracted from the more important mission of building effective civilian government institutions, and was unable to defeat the Taliban.

America insisted on these strategies despite their obvious shortcomings because it refused to provide enough of its own troops to provide security. As a result, instead of formulating plans that could secure its victory by building a stable government, the US was singularly focused on dealing with the consequences of its inadequate troop levels which forced it to compromise on the political reforms that would have allowed it to consolidate its victory.

It compounded these mistakes with its unwillingness to compromise with those Taliban that tried to surrender. In contrast to the practical approach adopted in Germany and Japan, America did not develop a mechanism to integrate its enemies back into Afghan society, giving them no choice but to resist its presence [37].

Through a combination of arrogance and short-sightedness, America did its best to swell the ranks of the Taliban while refusing to provide enough troops to deal with the threat its policies were creating. These factors worked together to create the conditions that led to the Taliban’s resurgence.

By the time the US realized its mistake and sent more troops, it was too little, too late. Based on the ISI’s estimates, the 100,000 troops [38] sent to deal with the insurgency nine years after its conquest never came close to the amount that would have been necessary to improve security in the country. Even if the US had sent more troops, the decisive moment had passed, and it is unlikely even a massive troop surge would have defeated the Taliban.

The insurgency had already taken hold in the security vacuum created by America’s minimal troop deployments and the rapaciousness of Afghanistan’s warlords, who had now accumulated enough power to prevent the central government from significantly curtailing their damaging behavior.

America’s economic assistance to Afghanistan also suffered from serious problems. On paper, the US has given Afghanistan around $130 billion dollars since 2001 [39]. The problem is that an estimated 40% of this aid disappeared into the hands of corrupt government officials and their cronies [40]. Yet another problem is that roughly half of it was used to build Afghanistan’s military instead of its civilian political institutions or economy [41].

Based on these numbers, 90% of the money provided to Afghanistan over the past 20 years has been used to line the pockets of corrupt government officials or pay for its ineffective military.

Those funds that were used for economic development were often used inefficiently in a manner that did not account for the needs of the Afghan people [42]. As such, they did little to spur economic growth that could benefit a wide swath of Afghan society or contribute to the country’s stability.

To the extent that this aid was siphoned off by America’s allies, it exacerbated the conflict by further enriching Afghanistan’s warlords and corrupt elite while undermining its state institutions. In short, most of the money given to Afghanistan was criminally wasted and much of it was wasted in a way that helped the Taliban win [43].

The US was never able to develop a combination of effective military, social, political, and economic policies that could stabilize Afghanistan like it did in Germany and Japan. By failing to capitalize on its initial victory by providing an effective plan to consolidate its conquest, the US set in motion the varied factors that led to its defeat.

In the same way that the large troop levels in Germany and Japan were the foundation of its successful reforms, attempts to reform Afghanistan failed precisely because they lacked similar support and were undermined by the policies developed to compensate for its low troop levels.

American leaders were reluctant to send large numbers of troops to Afghanistan because of its history of violently ejecting invaders. Many were acutely aware of the Soviet Union’s inability to pacify its restless tribes and apprehensive about exposing American troops to similar guerrilla attacks.

These concerns, though valid, missed a crucial point. The Red Army’s occupation of Afghanistan was excessively violent and led to the death of roughly a million Afghan civilians in just ten years [44]. Its forces deliberately attacked and destroyed entire villages and its soldiers often murdered, raped, and robbed Afghan civilians, driving millions out of their homes [45].

The Soviet military’s brutal conduct forced most Afghan’s to fiercely resist its occupation.  Though far from perfect, the conduct of American forces would never have reached the systematic level of barbarity shown by the Soviets, particularly since the Taliban were scattered and weak during the first few years of its occupation.

The occupation of Japan supports this argument. Many of the sentiments that dictated troop levels in Afghanistan were shared by US leaders planning the invasion of Japan. These concerns were so great they ultimately led to the use of atomic weapons to secure Japan’s surrender.

Despite these concerns and the fact that Japan’s mountainous, heavily forested islands are ideal for guerrilla operations, America still stationed 430,000 troops in Japan during the first year of its occupation. Since these troop deployments were part of a comprehensive reconstruction plan, they did not lead to violent Japanese resistance and were quickly reduced once security was established.

The key difference between Afghanistan and Germany or Japan is that it is comprised of several different ethnic and tribal groups whereas the latter two nations are relatively homogenous, and it has considerably lower levels of socio-economic development.

Stabilizing and modernizing Afghanistan to the degree necessary to prevent the Taliban’s resurgence was never going to be an easy job. Done properly, it would have required a massive commitment on the part of the US and even then, it may have failed.

Unfortunately, we will never know if providing enough resources would have worked. What is clear is that the opposite approach failed miserably.

Iraq

The broad strokes of the story in Iraq are similar to events in Afghanistan but differ in some key details. The primary one being that there was no logical reason to invade Iraq.

The fact that the US invaded Iraq even though it had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction shows exactly how broken America’s policy formulation process is when it comes to matters of war and national security.

Once the ludicrous justifications are discarded, the only short-term logic one can discern is that the war was immensely profitable for the American companies awarded billions in contracts to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure and military [46].

Since attempting to explain the logic behind the invasion is an exercise in futility, it is more useful to focus on its impact. The net effect of unnecessarily opening a second front before consolidating the peace in Afghanistan was to ensure that neither theater could receive the resources necessary to achieve victory.

The net effect of invading another Muslim country for no logical reason without any regard for the suffering and devastation this caused millions of innocent Iraqis [47] was that it highlighted the hypocrisy and callousness of America to the entire Muslim world. This undermined America’s legitimate security concerns in the aftermath of 9/11 and made addressing those concerns in a meaningful way that much harder.

Since Iraq was not attacked in pursuit of any strategic interests, the invasion was not designed with any in mind. As such, the US never had a plan for consolidating its conquest or how to use the invasion for its benefit within the context of the War on Terror. This becomes painfully obvious when examining the policies enacted to secure America’s victory.

Troop levels in Iraq were sufficient to defeat the token resistance offered by Iraq’s military. However, they were recklessly low with respect to being able to provide security in the aftermath of the Iraqi Army’s defeat.

A comparison of troop levels in the table above shows that after accounting for population, troop levels in Iraq were not far below those in Japan. The raw numbers are misleading because they do not account for two key differences.

One, Iraq is comprised of three main competing ethnic/sectarian groups. And two, Iraq’s infrastructure and populace had not been destroyed/subdued to nearly the same degree as either Germany or Japan.

These differences explain why Army leaders planning the invasion thought they would need 500,000 troops [48] to secure the country despite its relatively small population. They also explain why the 130,000-140,000 troops Donald Rumsfeld gave them were not enough. As with Afghanistan, American leaders seemed unable to distinguish between conquering and providing security and never provided enough troops to accomplish the latter.

America’s low troop levels limited its ability to implement reforms that could turn Iraq into a stable, democratic society. But part of the reason it refused to provide enough troops was that, aside from holding elections, it had no plan to modernize or genuinely democratize Iraq.

As such, it never attempted to develop a coordinated set of military, economic, social, and political policies that could consolidate its victory. In yet another parallel to Afghanistan, its low troop levels dictated much of its strategy. Since it had neither the desire nor the troop levels to support widespread political and social reforms, it helped create a new government in which power was apportioned to keep the peace between Iraq’s Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’ites.

In doing so, it created a government that merely reinforced Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian divisions. By refusing to implement reforms that could eventually lead to the creation of a stable, democratic ally the US trapped itself in an unwinnable situation.

In a repeat of the arrogant decision-making seen in Afghanistan, the US refused to acknowledge its untenable situation by compromising with elements from the former regime. Instead, it took yet another harsh approach and disbanded the Ba’ath party while barring many of its members from further employment.

Since being a member of the party was necessary to obtain employment in many public positions, this immediately destroyed Iraq’s ability to deliver important government services. It also put many former members of Iraq’s vast national security apparatus on the street, fueling the insurgency [49].

These mistakes ensured America could not institute the sort of deep-rooted reforms that would have been necessary to create a government capable of keeping Iraq united. Of course, doing so may have been impossible, but America’s lack of commitment prevented it from even trying. Instead, it opted to create a government that would always be weak and unstable.

The economic assistance provided to Iraq followed the same pattern as Afghanistan. A lot of money was wasted on corrupt government officials or building a military that was lucrative for American defense contractors but did little to meet Iraq’s security needs [50].

Due to these inefficiencies and misplaced priorities, extraordinarily little of the vast sums sent to Iraq led to meaningful economic growth or improved the nature and quality of government services in a manner that could help America consolidate its victory.

America formally withdrew its forces from Iraq after roughly eight years [51] but left behind an ineffective and corrupt government that is riven by sectarian divisions [52]. The instability created by its invasion gave rise to ISIS, a threat Iraq’s government proved too weak to protect itself from without direct American and Iranian intervention.

The only thing holding Iraq together now is that its neighbors refuse to allow the Kurds to have their own country, but it will likely fragment within the next few decades.

The Big Picture

Instead of turning Afghanistan and Iraq into allies that could help stabilize the wider Islamic world, America’s poorly managed occupations set off a chain reaction that plunged much of it into chaos.

America’s actions may have degraded Al Qaeda’s ability to attack it in the short term, but they also strengthened the appeal and power of similar groups in a manner that will pose a threat to its security for the foreseeable future.

The small military footprint demanded by American leaders combined with their reluctance to engage in nation-building prevented the US from securing its victories at the decisive moments it defeated the Taliban and Iraqi army.

Instead of securing a lasting peace like the ones achieved with Germany and Japan, America found itself trapped in the very quagmires it was hoping to avoid.

Deciphering why American leaders made such catastrophically bad decisions is beyond the scope of this discussion. The completely avoidable defeats suffered in Afghanistan and Iraq would not have been possible without a serious breakdown in the policy formulation process at several levels and are consistent with a pattern of poor decision making and policy implementation dating back to the Vietnam War.

A myriad of factors such as the excessive political influence of the various commercial entities that pushed for these policies, the way that ideology and imperial hubris often informed the uncompromising attitudes behind them, and even good old fashioned ethnic stereotypes and simplistic tropes about Muslims all worked together to create the unbelievably destructive and short-sighted policies that led to America’s defeat.

These dynamics also help illustrate why its broader relationship with the Muslim world has been so problematic. In the same way that its alliances with Afghanistan’s warlords led to its defeat, America’s alliances with the Muslim world’s dictators ensured it would never win the War on Terror.

To understand why it is important to understand the main cause of the Muslim world’s instability and weakness. The prevalence of authoritarian despots throughout the Islamic world is the reason groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda exist.

Most Muslim governments are controlled by people who have not been democratically elected and use their power to violently maintain their rule. Their primary goal is not to govern but to steal.

That is why Hosni Mubarak stole nearly $700 billion [53] from his country and that is why the Saudi royal family is worth $1.4 trillion [54]! The Muslim world’s dictators are so blinded by greed they cannot stop stealing from their people and murdering those who challenge them. Their refusal to share power with the masses they govern has led to institutional rot, widespread violence, and economic stagnation of the sort that often leads to the development of extreme ideologies.

America responded to 9/11 by strengthening its alliances with the dictators primarily responsible for allowing the region’s radical groups to thrive.

This ensured that its tactics were completely divorced from its values and guaranteed its defeat. American intelligence officers shipped (renditioned [55]) prisoners to allies so they could be tortured without stopping to think about how such actions enabled these allies to torture their own political dissidents. American defense companies sold (and continue to sell) weapons to dictators who murder their own people [56].

The author will never forget the shame he felt watching videos of American-made F-16s fly over the crowds in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. Despite what the realists would have you believe, morality matters. Honor matters. And America compromised both by siding with the Muslim world’s dictators.

The double standards and hypocrisy inherent in these actions made it impossible to win. America does not support the legitimate aspirations of people around the world to live freely when it is afraid of who they may choose to lead them or when doing so is not politically expedient. Its willingness to compromise on these values led to its defeat.

Wars often force uncomfortable alliances. America allied itself to some of the most brutal men in history to defeat the Axis powers. The difference is that neither Stalin nor Mao was an underlying cause of WWII.

The unholy alliances formed with the thugs ruling the Muslim world led to defeat because they made addressing the underlying causes of the region’s many problems impossible. By supporting these authoritarian governments, America helped entrench the political systems that are the foundational cause of the Muslim world’s many problems.

Conclusion

America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is part of a wider pattern of disengagement from the region. The contours and timing may be uncertain, but it is only a question of time before America substantially reduces its military commitment to the Muslim world.

Its troops and finances are exhausted, it no longer needs its oil as desperately, and its leaders are now focused on China. America’s inevitable withdrawal makes it even more important to develop policies to make sure it is never attacked again. Otherwise, the continual stream of extremists created by the repression of its supposed allies will always be a threat.

Rather than playing a never-ending game of whack a mole, it is time to devise realistic policies that can finally stabilize and bring prosperity to the region. America must use its soft power to incentivize Muslim governments to develop inclusive and democratic political institutions. It may be messy and will most certainly not be a panacea for everything that ails the Muslim world, but helping Muslims create democratic governments is the only real path to stabilizing the region.

Doing so will require a fundamental shift in American policies. Though President Biden has indicated a desire to make American policies match its democratic values, the administration’s current course is not encouraging as it appears to merely be returning to pre-Trump norms.

America’s policies towards the Muslim world were guided by short-sighted ideas that sought to rationalize its inhumane policies long before Trump took office. Many of the Obama administration’s actions, such as its arms sales, prolific use of drones in Pakistan, and tacit support for Egypt’s military coup, were equally inconsistent with American values and highlight the degree to which short-sighted agendas have always shaped its policies towards Muslim societies.

Until this changes, American policies will continue to destabilize the region and fuel further conflict.


References

[1] Allen, Thomas and Polmar, Norman, “The radio broadcast that ended WWII,” The Atlantic, August 7, 2015. 70 Years After Hiroshima: How Japan’s Emperor Announced the End of World War II – The Atlantic

[2] Glass, Andrew, “Germany surrenders May 7, 1945,” Politico, May 7, 2018. Nazi Germany surrenders, May 7, 1945 – POLITICOBack ButtonSearch IconFilter Icon

[3] “Occupation of Japan,” Encyclopedia Britannica, February 5, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/event/occupation-of-Japan

[4] “A historical timeline of Afghanistan,” PBS News Hour, December 31, 2014. A Historical Timeline of Afghanistan | PBS NewsHour

[5] “Key dates in the Iraq War,” CNN, December 18, 2011. Key dates in the Iraq war – CNN

[6] “Bush declares victory in Iraq,” BBC News, May 2, 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2989459.stm

[7] According to the CIA world factbook, Germany is roughly 357,000 sq. km. while the article “How Kohl and Gorbachev sealed the deal on German reunification,” DW, November 14, 2010 indicates E. Germany was roughly 108,000 sq. km. How Kohl and Gorbachev sealed the deal on German reunification | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 14.07.2010

[8] “Population in the former territories of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic from 1950 to 2016,” Statistica, Accessed April 20, 2021. • Population of East and West Germany 1950-2016 | Statista

[9] Dobb Dobbins, James, John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel M. Swanger, and Anga R. Timilsina, “America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq,” (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2003), at 8-9. https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1753/MR1753.ch2.pdf

[10] Zimmerman, Hubert, “The improbable permanence of commitment,” Mit Press Journal, 2009. https://watermark.silverchair.com/jcws.2009.11.1.3.pdf

[11] Zimmerman, Hubert, “The improbable permanence of commitment,” Mit Press Journal, 2009. https://watermark.silverchair.com/jcws.2009.11.1.3.pdf

[12] “Japan,” CIA World factbook, accessed April 20, 2021. Japan – The World Factbook (cia.gov)

[13] “Population of Japan from 1800 – 20202,” Statistica, accessed April 20, 2021. • Population of Japan 1800-2020 | Statista

[14] Weintraub, Stanley, “American Proconsul: How Douglas MacArthur Shaped Postwar Japan, HistoryNethttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2989459.stm

[15]“Afghanistan,” CIA World factbook, accessed April 20, 2021. Afghanistan – The World Factbook (cia.gov)

[16] “Afghanistan,” Population Pyramid, accessed April 20, 2021. Population of Afghanistan 2001 – PopulationPyramid.net

[17] Associated Press. “A timeline of U.S. Troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001.” Militarytimes.com. July 6, 2016. A timeline of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001 (militarytimes.com)

[18] “Iraq,” CIA World factbook, accessed April 20, 2021. Iraq – The World Factbook (cia.gov)

[19] “Iraq – Population,” Nations Encyclopedia, accessed April 20, 2021. Population – Iraq – growth, annual (nationsencyclopedia.com)

[20] Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues (fas.org)

[21] Dobb Dobbins, James, John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel M. Swanger, and Anga R. Timilsina, “America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq,” (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2003), at 8-9. https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1753/MR1753.ch2.pdf

[22] “Occupation of Japan,” Encyclopedia Britannica, February 5, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/event/occupation-of-Japan

[23] Weintraub, Stanley, “American Proconsul: How Douglas MacArthur Shaped Postwar Japan,” HistoryNethttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2989459.stm and Dobb Dobbins, James, John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel M. Swanger, and Anga R. Timilsina, “America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq,” (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2003).

[24] Christy, Patrick, “America’s Proud History of Post-war Aid, US News & World Report, June 6, 2014. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2014/06/06/the-lessons-from-us-aid-after-world-war-ii

[25] “US spends more rebuilding Iraq, Afghanistan than Post WWII Germany,” Face the Facts USA George Washington University, January 18, 2013. The U.S. has spent more reconstructing Iraq and Afghanistan than it did on Germany after World War II (facethefactsusa.org)

[26] Christy, Patrick, “America’s Proud History of Post-war Aid,” US News & World Report, June 6, 2014. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2014/06/06/the-lessons-from-us-aid-after-world-war-ii

[27] Stern, Susan, “Marshal Plan: 1947-97 A German View,” MarshalFoundation.org, July 9, 2006. https://www.marshallfoundation.org/library/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2014/05/Marshall_Plan_1947-1997_A_German_View.pdf

[28] Associated Press. “A timeline of U.S. Troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001.” Militarytimes.com. July 6, 2016. A timeline of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001 (militarytimes.com)

[29] Coll, Steve, Directorate S (Penguin Books, 2018), 89.

[30] Kumar, Radha, “A Roadmap for Afghanistan,” Council on Foreign Relations, December 12, 2001. https://www.cfr.org/report/roadmap-afghanistan

[31] Ahmed, Samina, “Warlords, Drugs, Democracy,” International Crisis Group, May 1, 2004. Warlords, Drugs, Democracy | Crisis Group

[32] Vendrell, Francesc, “What Went Wrong After Bonn,” Middle East Institute, April 18, 2012. https://www.mei.edu/publications/what-went-wrong-after-bonn

[33] Ahmed, Samina, “Warlords, Drugs, Democracy,” International Crisis Group, May 1, 2004. Warlords, Drugs, Democracy | Crisis Group

[34] “Afghanistan: Warlords Implicated in New Abuses,” Human Rights Watch, July 29, 2003. Afghanistan: Warlords Implicated in New Abuses | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

[35] Goldstein, Joseph, “U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies,” New York Times, September 15, 2020.

[36] Groll, Elias, “The United States has outspent the Marshal Plan to rebuild Afghanistan,” ForeignPolicy.com. July 30, 2014. The United States Has Outspent the Marshall Plan to Rebuild Afghanistan – Foreign Policy

[37] Coll, Steve, Directorate S, (Penguin Books 2018), at 140-44.

[38] Associated Press. “A timeline of U.S. Troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001.” Militarytimes.com. July 6, 2016. A timeline of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001 (militarytimes.com)

[39] Mashal, Mujib, “Afghanistan Needs Billions in Aid Even After a Peace Deal, World Bank Says,” The New York Times, December 5, 2019.

[40] “US Spending in Afghanistan Fueled Rampant Corruption Reports Say,” The World, December 11, 2019. US spending in Afghanistan fueled rampant corruption, reports say | The World from PRX (pri.org)

[41] “Cost of War,” Watson Institute Brown University, updated January 2020. Foreign Assistance Budget | Costs of War (brown.edu)

[42] Groll, Elias, “The United States has outspent the Marshal Plan to rebuild Afghanistan,” ForeignPolicy.com. July 30, 2014. The United States Has Outspent the Marshall Plan to Rebuild Afghanistan – Foreign Policy

[43] Aikins, Matthieu, “The Bidding War,” The New Yorker, February 28,2016. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/07/the-man-who-made-millions-off-the-afghan-war; Snow, Shawn, “US Weapons Complicate Afghan War,” Military Times, July 25, 2017. US weapons complicate Afghan war (militarytimes.com)

[44] By comparison, American forces killed 40,000 civilians over a twenty-year period. See Gibbons-Neff, Thomas, “Afghans wonder ‘What about us?’ as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw,” New York Times, April 14, 2021. Afghans Wonder ‘What About Me?’ as US Troops Prepare to Withdraw – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

[45] “Doomed: Why the Soviets failed to conquer Afghanistan,” The National Review, October 9, 2020. Doomed: Why the Soviets Failed to Conquer Afghanistan | The National Interest

[46] “Whistleblower exposes $7 billion no-bid Defense Department contracts,” CBS News, June 30, 2019. Whistleblower exposes $7 billion no-bid Defense Department contract – CBS News

[47] Benjamin, Medea and Davies, Nicolas, “The staggering death toll in Iraq,” Salon, March 19, 2018. The staggering death toll in Iraq | Salon.com

[48] Freedman, Lawrence, The Future of War: A History, (New York: Hachette Book Group, 2019), at 193.

[49] Al-Shibeeb, Dina, “Where is Iraq’s Baath Party today?” Al Arabiya News, August 21, 2015. Where is Iraq’s Baath party today? | Al Arabiya English;

[50] “Much of $60 Billion from US to rebuild Iraq wasted, special auditor’s final report to Congress shows,” CBS News, March 6, 2013. Much of $60B from U.S. to rebuild Iraq wasted, special auditor’s final report to Congress shows – CBS News

[51] “Key dates in the Iraq War,” CNN, December 18, 2011. Key dates in the Iraq war – CNN

[52] Cordesman, Anthony, “Iraq as a failed state,” CSIS, November 12, 2019. Iraq as a Failed State | Center for Strategic and International Studies (csis.org)

[53] O’Connor, Clare, “Egyptian estimate of Mubarak’s wealth soars to $700 Billion,” Forbes.com, April 11, 2011. Egyptian Estimate  Of Mubarak’s Wealth Soars To $700 Billion (forbes.com).

[54] Umoh, Ruth, “This royal family’s wealth could be worth more than $1 trillion,” csnbc.com, August 18, 2018. This royal family’s wealth could be more than $1 trillion (cnbc.com).

[55] Mayer, Jane, “Outsourcing Torture,” The New Yorker, February 6, 2005. Outsourcing the Torture of Suspected Terrorists | The New Yorker

[56] Hartung, William, “The US is Addicted to Weapons Sales to the Middle East,” PopularResistance.org, November 23, 2019. The US Is Addicted To Weapons Sales To The Middle East – PopularResistance.Org

Advertise on TMV

Keep Reading

Subscribe on YouTube

Advertise on TMV

Menu