Afghanistan and the weaponized immigrant life cycle

Damn, the tarmac videos from America’s retreat from Kabul are gnarly. The chaotic rush by locals for transport planes, with US Marines shooting into the crowd. The people climbing ropes to grab the last spots on departing jets. People huddling in cargo holds with nothing but their clothes. The groups of men clinging to the landing gear predictably falling to their deaths moments later after the planes take off It’s brutal. Can’t help but think of the falling man photos of 9/11 — the event that got this whole rotten war and occupation started in the first place.

But that’s what happens when the humanitarian interventionist overlords leave. The locals — allies, collaborators, whatever you want to call them — are left behind and left to scramble and fend for themselves.

The people who were able to get spots on these planes are the lucky ones. Because of chance or connections or pure daring and perseverance, they were able to get whisked away to safety by the Americans. I’m glad they were able to get out. But if history is any guide, it’s certain that once they’re living in the heart of the empire many of them will be turned into weaponized immigrants. The empire used them in Afghanistan and it will be happy to make use of them again in America — to agitate for more humanitarian interventionism on behalf of their people or some other people. It doesn’t matter. The cycle will continue. Nothing has changed.

—Yasha Levine