Chris Hedges makes an excellent point.
If you look at the big picture, every country in the region is the way it is today because of decades of American imperialism and meddling. This is particularly true of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, Syria and Libya. It is also our so-called allies in the region – Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Gulf states – who have done the most to breed and export terrorism. It was Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with American support who created the Taliban out of Afghan refugees in Pakistan in the 1980s.
Every militant or terrorist group in the region has at some point been armed and backed by a foreign intelligence agency. This was true of al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban. We supported Osama bin Laden and the mujahideen against the Soviets. We supported Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. We’ve been on again and off again allies with the Taliban several times before and during the American occupation. We’ve even been tacit allies with the Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq against ISIS.
Suppose we had washed our hands of the entire region over 50 years ago and had never meddled in any of these countries to destabilize them. Could it be any worse than it is today? From a humanitarian standpoint, a national security standpoint, a military standpoint and a financial standpoint, what would the region be like today if we had chosen to do nothing? Would we be stronger or weaker?
Note: The real purpose of the endless war and occupation of Afghanistan was “nation building” in the Beltway where all the money was transfered and spent and which has become far wealthier since 9/11.