Sure, go ahead, blame President Biden. Blame George W. Bush, blame President Obama, blame the former guy … there’s plenty of blame to spread around. Blame the military advisors who advised Bush and Obama (the former guy took advise from nobody, believing he actually had a functional brain). Blame your Aunt Mabel for all I care. The bottom line is that there was only one winner in the entire U.S.-Afghanistan fiasco: private military contractors.
If you purchased $10,000 of stock evenly divided among America’s top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001 — the day President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and faithfully reinvested all dividends, it would now be worth $97,295. Not a bad return on investment, eh? Defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan War. Those top five biggest defense contractors?
- Boeing – $8.2 billion profit in 2017
- Lockheed Martin – $2 billion profit in 2017
- Raytheon – $2 billion profit in 2017
- Northrop Grumman – $2 billion profit in 2017
- General Dynamics – $2.9 billion profit in 2017
People’s lives don’t really matter to the CEOs of these companies whose eyes only light up when they see $$$$$$$$$$. Not Afghani lives, not U.S. or British lives, only profit matters.
It is right and proper that we leave Afghanistan – we never should have gone there in the first place and for damn sure shouldn’t have stayed 20 years, but … all those lovely profits! How the withdrawal came about and how it was transacted will be questioned for many hears henceforth and fingers will be pointed, blame will be dispersed, and at the end of the day, nothing will have changed. The U.S. will not have learned a lesson from this, but will continue to display its extreme arrogance in believing that they have all the best solutions and eventually, perhaps sooner than later, there will be another Afghanistan.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing every single defense contractor in bankruptcy by the end of next year and the U.S. defense budget for new military hardware reduced to zero. I would far rather my tax dollars be spent helping people with such things as education, food, shelter, job training, than spent on killing machines. However, mine is a humanitarian viewpoint, or one of a snowflake liberal as I’m often told, who cares more about people and animals than I care about profit and power.