Our national leaders' rationale for investing so much in that awful 11-year war in Afghanistan was that, by slogging through it, we would leave behind a stable, popular government to assure peace and prosperity for all.
So, now that America has begun withdrawing from Afghanistan, what are we actually leaving behind?
Answer: We've leaving a despised, rampantly corrupt oligarchy that is, as one Afghan businessman calls it, "an illegitimate and irresponsible government."
To put faces to it, look no further than the family of Hamid Karzai, the incompetent, impossibly vain, and dishonest president of Afghanistan.
Karzai's brothers, for example, have amassed astonishing fortunes during his tenure from insider deals, narcotics trafficking, and siphoning off untold millions of U.S. dollars that were supposed to build a stable government.
Despite their stashes of ill-gotten wealth, however, the Brothers Karzai are not much of a brotherhood, for they're roiled with jealousies, business rivalries, and murderous intrigues.
For example, Mahmoud Karzai was developing a massive private housing project on 10,000 acres of land said to have been seized from the government when brother Shah Wali Karzai suddenly pulled off his own seizure. Early this year, he secretly "transferred" $55 million from Mahmoud's corporation to one of his own.
Meanwhile, another very rich brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was killed last year, resulting in one of his aides being imprisoned, though he's still not been charged with any crime.
The aide is not being held by regular authorities, but by the personal security guards of Shah Wali — who seems to think the aide knows where Ahmed's fortune is stashed.
Our country sacrificed lives, treasury, and moral standing for this?
America's "leaders" of the past decade owe us — especially our troops — an abject apology.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.