Sunday Reading: Victims of Eternal Wars


In 2012, Dexter Filkins published a file The reporter’s insight is loose About the situation in Afghanistan and what we can expect when America withdraws its army from the country. Filkins describes the complex nature of the ongoing confrontations between the Afghan government, militias fighting over areas, and the Taliban. As he was talking with a variety of Afghans, he heard a troubling rumble. In the words of a local resident in Kabul, “The Americans failed to build a single sustainable enterprise here. All they did was make a small group of people very wealthy. Now they are ready to go.”

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This week, we bring you a selection of pieces that highlight the sweeping consequences (and casualties) of our “eternal wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. in a “The shattered dream of Afghan peacePublished in 2019, Luke Mogelson examines how, eighteen years after the US invasion, most Afghans live in poverty, corruption is rampant, and more than one hundred and fifty thousand Afghans have been killed.Other Afghan WomenAnand Gopal writes about the impact of the killings on some of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable citizens – and on their attitudes toward the Taliban. in a “betrayalSince 2007, George Packer has been speaking about the changing situation on the ground for Iraqi interpreters assisting US forces. “The arc from hope to betrayal that runs through the Iraq war is no more vital than the lives of these Iraqis,” Packer writes. America’s failure to understand, trust, and protect its close friends in Iraq is a small drama containing a history greater than defeat. Finally, inSoldiers Stories, “A group of conscripted men and women give accounts of their wartime experiences.” It’s the backpack that makes the journey difficult. No fun kidding amongst the crew. No jokes from home. There are no wise tales about the origin of the meat being served in the dining hall, only the noise of flight–the screeching of engines, the whirring of blades in the air, the crackling sound over the radio and the echo of your own thoughts about the boy in the bag in the back.”

David Remnick

Street in West Kabul

after America

Will civil war hit Afghanistan when the United States leaves?

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A woman carrying her child while they stand behind the drapery.

The shattered dream of Afghan peace

Trump turned peace talks upside down. Civilian casualties continue to rise. After eighteen years of war, Afghans are suffering more than ever.

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An Iraqi translator wears a mask to hide his identity


The Iraqis who trusted America the most.

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Three women walking on a dirt road towards the mountains

Other Afghan Women

In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.

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Illustration of soldiers sitting and cleaning their shoes

Soldiers Stories

Letters, emails, daily entries, and articles from Americans serving in Iraq.

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