Rethink Afghanistan

2009, Military and War  -   16 Comments
Ratings: 7.88/10 from 40 users.

The United States military embedded itself in Afghanistan in response to the sinister threat of terrorism. Rethink Afghanistan examines this conflict nearly 15 years removed from the attacks of September 11, 2011 which inspired it. In the process, it asks a series of urgent and history-altering questions; primarily, what are the realistic odds of achieving any measure of success in the region, and at what cost?

The film contends that comprehending Afghanistan's complexities and nuances is essential in defining the role of the United States, and their chances of carrying out meaningful operations in the region. The first point of contention rests upon the resiliency of the country to previous invasion attempts. This is evidenced by the failed British infiltration in the 1800s to the thwarted Soviet invasion of the 1980s. According to many of the experts interviewed in the film, the United States could only benefit from a careful examination of these historical pitfalls.

The commitment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan represented a bold move in the war against terror in the Middle East, but most Americans have been ill informed regarding costs, purpose and exit strategy. The film seeks to rectify this deficiency of perception by providing insightful analysis from a team of distinguished interview subjects, including scholars of the Middle East and counter-terrorism consultants. These subjects testify that the current War on Terror incurs up to three or four times the cost of any U.S.-led conflict in history.

But the film reminds us that the war is not only an equation of dollars and cents. The human cost of dead and wounded citizens and soldiers is an even greater source of despair, and has the potential to irrevocably mar the reputation of the United States around the world.

Is such an effort unavoidable in trying to put a stop to the scourge of global terror? Or does just the mere presence of invasive troops only serve as a precursor to greater hostilities in the region? Rethink Afghanistan is a valuable resource for understanding a defining conflict in modern day warfare, and for grasping the ramifications such a conflict may inflict around the world for many years to come.

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16 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Peter M Mullen

    It is truly amazing to see how primitive religious practices, and beliefs in every culture distort reality, perpetuate ignorance, backwardness, and violent blood feuds, between tribes of (the other). It promotes excuses, and delusions that cause cruel, inhumane, and counterproductive decisions. It's true in the Middle East. It's true in Afghanistan, and true in the United States, If we look at any (political map of loyalties) by geographic region. Educational achievement per capita is most often the measure of success, and political persuasion within populations who naturally cluster together. The levels of education among Afghan women, and Pakistani women, is a cosmic tragedy, and abomination of medieval cruelty. It is therefore beyond my understanding why the wealthiest country in the world doesn't fathom the idea of building bridges, not walls, schools not bombs, hospitals, and clean safe modern, efficient housing for people so poor they are reduced to living like live stock. We have our own problems with primitive religious ignorance, and related barbaric, inhumane results in the US. The "Chump" corporate coup de tat is a perfect example. let's hope the forces of the military industrial complex are unsuccessful at persuading him to enter more adventures of backward squander of life and treasures

  2. Kevin

    In the description...2001, not 2011?

  3. Bryan

    Murad - Have you actually watched the documentary? Much of what you say is directly spotlighted in the film. Regarding the atrocities done by certain individuals or groups of cretins in uniform, I am truly sorry. It is a sin and a shame these things happen. Sadly, these same numbers could easily come from many large American cities on any given weekend during a summer heatwave. Not excusing it, just letting you know such devils are everywhere.

  4. Anugoon

    Nobody here is talking about the event that started all actions from the US since 2003.
    THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY: A farce, and the worst mass crime ever, executed by Dick Chetney and people from our own Government and Military.
    Yes..I am talking about 9/11.
    My question is:
    Why Americans still in denial about what happened in 9/11? Nothing will change in the country if this terrible crime still unsolved and the criminals no punished...and it is getting worst. Those people still in control and richer than ever to manipulate any US President to do what they have in mind to protect their interest. War and Crimes. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH PEOPLE! AWAKE!

  5. Catherine Szabo

    What are they saying? No oversight, no accountability....waste and theft of millions upon millions of our dollars...this is the American way of waging war....and no one in government is doing anything about it. Where did our common sense go?

  6. Leslie

    This is a travesty. Shame on us is an understatement. Moreover, this was filmed 6 years ago. And we're still there, both to the detriment to them and us. Bless the Italians and their hospitals.

  7. Catherine Szabo

    All very intelligent and insightful commentary; however, no one in our government is smart enough to know and understand because they have gotten into the bad habit of lying and deceiving for such a long time; no matter how much we try, a liar cannot see the truth.

  8. Hugh Jones

    The United States declared independence in order to attack west of the Mississippi, which the British had forbidden and in order to maintain slavery which the British were slowly moving to end. The present is simply a continuation of the basic tenets of America....and I write from the first foreign city you outrageously invaded and burned to the ground.

  9. chris tidman

    People with power, or people who think they have power are dangerous animals.

  10. DigiWongaDude

    @Randolph, nicely done - I like the fruit tree analogy, suggesting (perhaps) that there is a bad apple among us. In any organisation bad apples are necessarily rooted out, less they 'infect' others. What stops the planet rooting out it's bad apples? (Rhetorical question).

    Identifying bad fruit?
    Bad apples have existed throughout the ages... they tend to consume, be consumed or (left to their own devices) consume themselves from within, paving the way for new bad fruit to assert perceived power.

    Self preservation through dominance, secrecy and covert means (with the intention of not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing). Empire, under the guise of exceptionalism. Effective though these things may prove to be internally, they are clearly warning signs that things are not looking peachy (excuse the pun); the makings of a 'planetary bad apple'.

    The bad fruit could (in theory) be prosecuted at the ICC, but only for us to see the ICC immediately destroyed in the process, as Noam Chomsky has put it, by boycott. What good is it then? The fruit tree is inherently, potentially defenceless - by design. So how about an international consensus to create some new institution, where NO nation is above can flout the law with impunity? Try getting that 'consensus' this late in the game: it can't happen with such global power disparity. The horse, it would seem, left the barn long ago.

    Does the bad apple know what it has become?
    Irrelevant - when the mantra "admit nothing, deny everything, make counter accusations" is used to defend the indefensible, and it constantly portrays itself as exceptional.

    How do we tell/convince/ask a gorilla in the playground to play nicely? We don't. We admit nothing, deny everything and make counter accusations.

  11. Randolph

    Vince - with their mentality the people who direct the government have no sense of belonging to a global community on an equitable basis together with the other peoples of the world, no sense of historical and cultural dependence on the other people of the world, and no sense of dependence on the ecosystem that supports their own existence. Think about that - if a fruit of a tree were to destroy its own roots, how long would that survive in an evolutionary sense?
    Such people only start feeling good when they have power and control and use that to take whatever they can for themselves, from wherever they want, whenever they want, however they want.Their hearts are petrified (in the original sense of the word). They have only cold, selfish logic; and they employ PR spin doctors to issue fake concerns about the death, destruction, suffering that 'mysteriously' follows wherever they act.

    In order to weaken potential resistance and to weaken the abilities of others to coexist at a functional and pleasant level, their strategy includes encouraging divisions and conflicts globally, making profits from their own companies that sell weapons to the conflicting sides and from their own companies that rebuild the infrastructures that their militaries have destroyed (think: Carlisle Group and the Bushes et al.; Haliburton, KBR and Cheney and Rimsfeld, etc.), getting the people of their own countries to buy weapons (through taxes) in order to spread and maintain and try to control all of the conflicts, getting financial control over everybody that then owes them money for weapons and rebuilding projects. and then as the new "owners" plundering their new assets to misery, ruination, destruction.

    By the way, understand that 3% of the Earth's human population has become accustomed to, unhealthily addicted to consuming 25% of the Earth's natural resources; and most of that 3% support the people who enable their addiction.

  12. vince

    I dont Understand our government (USA) why the hell does it want to change every country to its beliefs ? spend trillions to attack countries then turn around and give them trillions to rebuild. then bring all the friggin refugee's to america.. I feel that the government should help its own people , people born in the US, and leave all the other countries be who they want to be. leave their culture to them..

  13. Randolph

    Every neo-liberal-con, every pawn and enabler of such neo-liberal-cons, every nationalist-minded follower of corporate media should have to watch this excellent film. What the film shows has all been fastidiously excluded from corporate media reports from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.
    When people would see images and here reports of the effects of what they have been duped into supporting; what indescribably hellish suffering and loss that has resulted in - then their support for it would rapidly vaporize.
    That is why western military-industrial-government complexes have carefully suppressed such reporting and images from the corporate media. Hence you never even heard of this film since it was released in 2009, and it's now late 2015 - even though Robert Greenwald, the film maker, is famous for many previous excellent political documentaries.

  14. Truth first

    If America remains committed to spending a trillion dollars a year on the military then the military must have something to do. Invading poor and relatively powerless countries are the countries America like to devastate. Vietnam and SE Asia come to mind. Americans killed almost 3 million people there who never threaten or attacked America.
    America is a criminal terrorist empire.

  15. Yolo

    Doesnt matter, someone still sold a shit ton of weapons somewhere, thats sadly what counts

  16. Murad

    Wow! Another shameless AmeriKKKan propaganda! Who is the terrorist really?!! The U.S is built on genocide and massacre of Indigenous people whose land they stole--Europeans with bloody hands who continue to invade other people's countries to loot plunder and ravage their resources, a country that has committed the worst acts of terror in history --hiroshima - nagasaki---you should be quiet!
    US drones murder Afghan civilian men, women and children. American grounds forces do it up close and personal.

    US inflicted death, torture and other atrocities reflect daily life. Ordinary Afghans suffer most. They struggle to survive. American aggression is one of history’s greatest crimes.

    War criminals remain unpunished. Accountability is denied. Conflict persists. It’s Washington’s longest war. It’s longer than WW I and II combined. It shows no signs of ending.

    Trillions of dollars go mass slaughter and destruction. They’re spent for unchallenged global dominance.

    Vital homeland needs go begging. Targeted countries are ravaged and destroyed. Imperial lawlessness operates this way.

    Its appetite is insatiable. It ignores rule of law principles. It does whatever it wants. It does it where, when, by what means, and under whatever pretexts it contrives.

    It does so unapologetically. It targets one country at a time or in multiples. It wages direct and proxy wars. It does so without justification. It lies claiming otherwise.

    Atrocities are virtually de rigueur. All US wars are dirty. In March 2012, 20 US forces murdered 16 Afghan men, women, and nine children aged two to 12.

    Children were massacred while they slept. Two women were raped before soldiers killed them. Pentagon officials and mainstream media whitewashed what happened.