Have We Won in Afghanistan? VICE Podcast 004

Have We Won in Afghanistan? VICE Podcast 004

[MUSIC PLAYING] EDDY MORETTI: Hi. I’m Eddy Moretti. Welcome to the Vice podcast. I’m sitting here with
Ben Anderson. Hi, Ben. BEN ANDERSON: How you doing? EDDY MORETTI: Let’s talk about
the documentary that you just produced for Vice. Well, it was a continuation of
a documentary that you had already done in a much shorter
form for the BBC. It’s called “This is What
Winning Looks Like,” and it’s you going to Afghanistan. And so tell us the origin
of this documentary. I know you’ve been there
for many years. BEN ANDERSON: I’ve been
traveling to Helmand, where the war is fiercest, for
the last six years. And one town in particular
called Sangin is where more British soldiers lost their
lives than anywhere else. So it’s famous in Britain. It’s just been handed over,
pretty much, to the Afghan Army and police. So I wanted to go and see
what that looked like. And I had a pretty good idea
what it would look like because I’ve seen the Afghan
Army and police in action in the past. But it was even worse
than I thought. EDDY MORETTI: So you went
in embedded or– how did you get your access? BEN ANDERSON: Through the
Marines, but then I went out with the Afghan police
and Army from there. But you can’t really go out
with the Afghan Army and police anymore. You have to stay with the
US Marines all the time. And they live completely
separately. So I could only go out for a day
at a time because of the insider attacks. They’re completely separate. And whenever the US Marines go
onto the Afghan side of the base or go to an Afghan base,
they cock their weapons just in case there’s an
insider attack. EDDY MORETTI: Right. So go through this like a
laundry list of stuff that you found while you were there. BEN ANDERSON: Without
exaggeration, I found evidence that the police were kidnapping
civilians for money or as part of a prisoner
exchange, murdering people. There were a number of drug
addicts among them. A number of them didn’t
even exist. They were just names on a
payroll for extra income. They were abducting and
raping young children. EDDY MORETTI: Mainly
young boys. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, and
sometimes murdering them when they tried to escape. So even with my very low
expectations of the police, in particular, I was amazed at
how bad it was, and how nothing was really being done
to tackle this, either. Because it’s now an Afghan-led
operation there, so it’s an Afghan problem. And the 500 infantry Marines
have pulled back to the main base, which they almost
never leave. They just spend their
days lifting weights and watching DVDs. Just two very small teams of
18 Marines go out every few days to advise the Afghans. EDDY MORETTI: Why isn’t anyone
else reporting on this? Or are they? BEN ANDERSON: There’s a few
writers, a couple of writers. EDDY MORETTI: In England,
primarily? BEN ANDERSON: There’s a couple
of American writers I can think of, Matt Aikins, Luke
Mogelson, who are brilliant. But very few apart from that,
and mainstream media and TV in particular. EDDY MORETTI: Why? If it’s as bad as you say it
is over there, why wouldn’t evidence or reporting on the
situation leak out more often? BEN ANDERSON: It feels very
important to me, so I think it should be front page
news regularly. EDDY MORETTI: But why do
you think it isn’t? BEN ANDERSON: A lot of the
reporters I spoke to after I did this film said, oh yeah, we
knew about all this stuff. And I thought, well, why haven’t
you reported it, then? And maybe they’re worried that
if they report it, then they won’t get access to the
military again. And certainly, it’s harmed my
chance of getting access to the British military because
they’re very scared that they’ll reveal the same thing
in areas where they are. EDDY MORETTI: So you’ve been
in-country with the British forces before. What year was that in? BEN ANDERSON: 2007. EDDY MORETTI: And
what was that? And what did you
report on then? BEN ANDERSON: The same thing. The fighting was just much worse
than we were being told. The Afghans were nowhere
near ready. They were fighting for land and
having to give it up that night because they didn’t
have the manpower. But that’s what first
got me addicted. And then after that, I started
going out with the US Marines, and I’ve got to say, the US
Marines, they really respect freedom of the press and your
right to go out there and report on it without
restrictions. And I often found that because
especially TV reporters– photographers are great. Newspaper reporters
tend to be great. TV reporters tend to go for a
day or two and then leave. So if you’re willing to go
there, take the same risks as the Marines, spend weeks on end
with them, sleeping where they sleep, eating what they
eat, facing the same dangers they face, they really
respect that. And they’re just relieved that
someone’s finally turned up to show how rough it is for them. EDDY MORETTI: So who gave you
permission, then, to go and stay with the Marines? BEN ANDERSON: The Marines
themselves. EDDY MORETTI: Right. So you petitioned them
independently that I want to go and do this documentary. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: Did you run into,
or have you in your years in Afghanistan, run into
other documentary filmmakers, independent ones? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. With the Marines, yeah, and
there’s been a few. And they all say
the same thing. US Marines are great to go out
with and will let you film everything. A lot of other people, US Army,
Navy, British forces, there’s heavy restrictions, and
it’s very difficult to get access to the real stuff that
you know is going on. EDDY MORETTI: Right. So a portion of this video
ended up on the BBC a few months ago. When was that? BEN ANDERSON: Early March. EDDY MORETTI: Early March. And it was a shorter program. But what was the reaction to it
in your country, in the UK? But also the Marines that you
did spend time with, did they see that piece over here? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. The officials were very unhappy
with it and said you betrayed the trust of the
Marines you were with. EDDY MORETTI: Oh shit. The Americans. BEN ANDERSON: The officials. Yeah, yeah. But the Marines themselves– EDDY MORETTI: The people that
gave you the permission, let’s say, to go in. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: So they
were pissed off. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. The Marines themselves were
happy that someone was just A, listening to them, and
B, showing what they were dealing with. EDDY MORETTI: So that kind
of comes partly from how sympathetic they come off in the
documentary, at least the long version that you’ve
created for us. There’s at least one Marine
in there who’s incredibly persistent, and his name is– BEN ANDERSON: Major
Bill Steuber. EDDY MORETTI: Major
Bill Steuber. And tell us what it was
like finding him, and how candid he was. And what were the kind of
conversations like off camera? BEN ANDERSON: I think he
was very honest anyway. But they were unlucky
to get me. Because I turned up and within
the first day or two said, I’ve been to this place three
or four times before. I’ve seen this, this,
and this happening. So they couldn’t really
bullshit me even if they wanted to. But I don’t think Major Steuben
wanted to bullshit me. He’s one of those people
who just couldn’t lie. And also, all the stuff he was
seeing, child abuse, murder, kidnapping, he was reporting
up every day. But nothing was being done. I think he was relieved
just that someone was listening to him. EDDY MORETTI: He liked you. Because he talked
a lot on camera. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: Do you think he
got in trouble for talking? BEN ANDERSON: I don’t
think so. The Marines seem to be allowed
to have their opinion more than elsewhere in
the military. I think he’s going to retire. I think this was really
bad for him. So if he was a really
career-minded Marine, maybe this would have done
a lot of damage. I don’t know. Certainly, you look at the
statements the generals are making, and they’re very
much on message. They’re saying all
the right things. EDDY MORETTI: Yes. Explain that a little bit so
people understand someone like Steuber, what his kind of tour
duty in Afghanistan looks like and how long he’s in there. And then there’s a great
sequence in your documentary where American officials come
to get briefed, and some British come to get briefed. And the briefing is completely
whitewashed, and Steuber is not allowed to speak at all
and not even asked. So maybe those two things,
what is typical for an American soldier? What’s their experience like
over, let’s just say the last two or three years and
not go back to the beginning of the war? BEN ANDERSON: The US Marines do
more intense tours than US soldiers, US Army. So they tend to six-month tours,
whereas the US Army tend to do 12-month tours. But in that six months, a
months is taken from the handover, where you’re
in the main base. You’re talking to the guy
you’re taking over from. So you’ve actually got five
months in a location to try and sort things out. And in the book I say, imagine
taking an Indian who doesn’t speak English and dropping him
in the middle of Chicago and saying, by the way, your buddy
killed some civilians by mistake before you got here. And within five months, you have
to introduce an entirely new system of governance and
work out who to trust and who not to trust. And you don’t speak
the language. How will they get on? I mean, they’ve got no chance,
no chance whatsoever. And these are guys who
are trained to fight. They’re not trained to be
engineers, social workers, judges, policemen. So it’s an impossible task. EDDY MORETTI: Right. And that scene where they come
to get briefed, you described, I think maybe in conversations
with me elsewhere, sort of like the lack of incentive that
anyone has, really, to say anything. Can you explain the level of
diligence in those briefings by the officials that walk in? Are they kind of there to sort
of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, everything’s OK. I’ll go back to Congress and
say everything’s good. Or do they genuinely believe
that it’s kind of OK, and we can leave the country in 2014? BEN ANDERSON: I always used to
think that when you hear these incredibly upbeat statements,
that they’re just saying what they have to say, but they
actually know what’s really going on. Having seen that briefing,
now I’m not so sure. Because the briefing was
nothing but good news. I mean, three boys
were shot dead. Three boys who had been abducted
and were being raped by police commanders,
had been shot dead. Wasn’t mentioned. Wasn’t mentioned at all. So I think it was a PR op. It was a photo op. And they wanted to go to Sangin,
the most dangerous town in Afghanistan, and say,
there must be progress if the ambassadors can visit
the once– their exact words were “the once
insurgent stronghold of Sangin,” as if we’ve now pushed
the insurgents out, which we haven’t. And that alone was enough to say
there has been progress. And they didn’t want to hear
about all the bad things that were going on. Or maybe it wasn’t even them. It was that someone below them
didn’t want to tell them about all the bad things that had
been going on, which is probably the more likely. EDDY MORETTI: So from your point
of view then, given your contact with different American
troops and forces, is this like the example of a
country that basically has, in fact, written off this war
and is really kind of done with it? BEN ANDERSON: Absolutely,
yeah. I mean, you have to remember
some of the statements that were made at the beginning of
this war about liberating women, sending little
girls to school, the Taliban are finished. When now, we would gladly do a
peace deal with the Taliban where they would be given
seats in government. These are people who we were
told all about how they throw acid in girls’ faces,
ban [INAUDIBLE]. So we would gladly now do
a peace deal with them. If George Bush would have said
in 2001, after 11 or 12 years of fighting, perhaps 22,000,
23,000 lives lost, maybe 80,000, 90,000 people have
lost legs and arms, $600 billion spent, the best we can
hope for is a peace deal with the Taliban, people would have
thought he was insane. But that’s the situation. EDDY MORETTI: That’s
where we are now. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. And everyone says, the Afghan
Army have improved. They might be ready to take on
the Taliban on their own. The Afghan Army have improved. But half of the security
forces are the police. EDDY MORETTI: Yeah, so describe
that to people because I don’t think they
understand what is the division and what is
the readiness of each of those forces. BEN ANDERSON: There’s roughly
200,000 Afghan Army, some of whom are almost capable of
operating on their own. It depends who you believe. If you listen to the Pentagon,
one battalion out of I think it’s 26 can operate
independently. If you listen to other
people, it’s five or six could operate. EDDY MORETTI: What was your
experience with the Afghan soldiers that you saw? BEN ANDERSON: They were trying
to do a good job. They were good guys,
unlike the police. They weren’t predatory
like the police were. But as soon as they saw four
suspected Taliban, who the Marines said to them were just
men without weapons, but in the wrong area at the wrong
time, they opened up with everything they had, grenades,
rockets, hundreds of bullets, and just sprayed from the
hip in all directions. EDDY MORETTI: Not disciplined
and– BEN ANDERSON: No. And that was one of the best
units I’ve ever seen, and the US Marines, they
had ever seen. EDDY MORETTI: So 200,000
soldiers and then how many police? BEN ANDERSON: 150,000 police. And on the record, the people
who train the police have said to me, most of the crime in
southern Afghanistan is committed by the police. I mean, they’re hated and
feared by the local population, and for
good reason. EDDY MORETTI: And how
does that map to the rest of the country? What about in the rest
of the country? BEN ANDERSON: The police? EDDY MORETTI: Yeah,
the police. BEN ANDERSON: I took part in
a debate in London recently where someone stood up
and said, oh, you’ve just gone to Sangin. It’s the worst town
in Afghanistan. Other places, there’s been loads
of progress elsewhere. And there has been progress
in some other places. But then a Dutch soldier in the
back stood up and said, well, I’ve been in the northeast
for the last six years doing intelligence,
supposedly the safe bit of Afghanistan. And the police are no different
whatsoever there. EDDY MORETTI: Really? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: So you were
vindicated in the room by someone who was in the north? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: So you’ve been
going to Afghanistan for six years, right? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: So describe to us
where you think we’re at, or where the country is at,
as we prepare to leave. Like, what’s going
to happen next? BEN ANDERSON: Well, people
keep on saying– EDDY MORETTI: Because
you know it all. BEN ANDERSON: They keep on
talking about end game. For us, the war is over. Almost all of our troops
are pulled back to the main bases, for us. For the Afghans, it’s entering
possibly the worst stage so far. Everyone says, maybe there’s
going to be a civil war when we leave. There’s already a civil war. There’s 310 Afghan police
and soldiers getting killed every month. Far, far worse losses than
Britain and America ever suffered there. And civilian casualties keep
rising on top of that as well. And this is why we’re
still there. We can still bail the Afghans
out with all the surveillance and air support that
we’ve got. That’s going to be gone. EDDY MORETTI: So describe– so by your account, the Afghan
police forces are kind of hopelessly corrupt
or inept or both. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, both. EDDY MORETTI: So who’s
attacking them? Who are they fighting? What’s the dynamic there? It is just really kind of
hardened Taliban that are attacking them? Or is the whole country
kind of pitching in to fight these people? Other warlords? Like, who’s– if it is kind of proto-civil
war, describe it. BEN ANDERSON: Well, the problem
is everyone, myself included, is kind of lazy in
saying every member of the opposition is Taliban. That probably describes,
I don’t know, 40 different groups. In the south, you certainly get
the impression that a lot of the people are just locals. EDDY MORETTI: To Americans,
it’s just Taliban. Right? If you’re not in an Afghan
uniform, and you’re not a farmer, you’re Taliban. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. But most of the people we’re
fighting are farmers. They’re just farmers who want us
and the corrupt government out of their backyards. Are they being directed by
Mullah Omar in Pakistan? I don’t think so. EDDY MORETTI: So what does
Taliban leadership look like in Afghanistan right now? Who’s the leader, and are
there directives? BEN ANDERSON: Well, that’s
what I’m saying. There are three or
four different groups based in Pakistan. They don’t seem to be directing
the guys that we’re fighting against in southern
Afghanistan. EDDY MORETTI: So who are
we even potentially– BEN ANDERSON: It’s just
a Pashtun nationalist insurgency. And depending on how
you do a deal with everyone at the same time– EDDY MORETTI: So explain that. What’s the Pashtun nationalist
insurgency? BEN ANDERSON: When we first
finished bombing Afghanistan, and the Taliban were bombed out
of power, we were in quite a rush to get to Iraq. So we handed power to basically
the Northern Alliance, the historical
enemies of the Taliban. And to this day– EDDY MORETTI: They’re Pashtun. BEN ANDERSON: No, no, no. EDDY MORETTI: No. BEN ANDERSON: No, they’re
Hazaras and Tajiks, all the northern ethnic groups. Taliban are– not all Pashtuns
are Taliban, but most Taliban are Pashtun. EDDY MORETTI: Karzai is– BEN ANDERSON: He’s Pashtun. That’s why he was chosen,
because he’s uniquely, he’s a Pashtun who can also deal
with everybody else. EDDY MORETTI: He’s a Pashtun
who’s not Taliban. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah EDDY MORETTI: One of the few. BEN ANDERSON: I mean, the
problem is that officially, the Army has got something like
40% Pashtuns in it, but not southern Pashtuns. So it’s a conflict between the
northern groups and the southern Pashtuns. And it’s just a southern
resistance against a corrupt– I mean, I filmed the Afghan
Army, who compared to the police are the good guys,
driving into town with pictures of Massoud and Dostum
on their windshields. The local people won’t see that
as their national army coming to save and
protect them. They’ll see it as
their historical enemies coming for vengeance. And we could have created a
national army and a national police force back in 2001, 2002,
but showed no interest. George Bush said, I don’t
do nation building. EDDY MORETTI: So where does
Karzai fit in to all of this? Because the reports over the
last few years, at least over here, have been that he’s
probably stoned a lot and smoking pot, but definitely
he’s corrupt. And just a few days ago, there
was a report in the “Times” about him taking CIA money. BEN ANDERSON: Bags of– EDDY MORETTI: Literally
bags of money. BEN ANDERSON: Which he says go
to pay for rehabilitation and to pay off warlords and
pay for scholarships for some of his men. Which may or may not be true. EDDY MORETTI: What does the
country think of Karzai? BEN ANDERSON: He doesn’t
seem to be as unpopular as you’d think. His family are spectacularly
corrupt. His brothers, one brother
had the exclusive Toyota contract– get a contract
for importing Toyota. Wali Karzai in Kandahar
was famously corrupt. But the headlines he’s getting
recently, where he’s making statements about how he might
join the Taliban or the Americans are in league
with the Taliban– I think to be a successful
leader in Afghanistan, with the ethnic divisions that exist,
you have to not look like you’re a foreign puppet. So I think all of those
statements are for his domestic audience. And I think the American senior
officials who deal with him realize that, which is why
the statements he’s making aren’t having the bad
effect you might think they would have. EDDY MORETTI: But you’ve been
there for a long time. Do you think Karzai has been,
to the extent that he can, effectively rebuilding
that country? Or is there another– BEN ANDERSON: How can
Karzai do it? At the minute, they’re supposed
to be paying for half of their country’s national
budget, and they can’t do it. That’s not including the
military, by the way. We’re still paying the
police and army salaries and equipment. So half of the expenditure apart
from the military, they can’t do it. EDDY MORETTI: But
I presume that– well, I don’t know. Maybe tell me I’m
a stupid idiot. But I presume part of the job of
him rebuilding the country is not just resources and
training, but it’s him projecting himself as the right
leader and loved and accepted by all and the kind
of person that can give a fledgling army and a police
force some great role model and example to follow. Does he even crisscross
the country and go and speak to people? Does he just sit in Kabul? Is he completely protected? Is he– you know. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. The old joke that all the
foreign reporters certainly make is that he’s the mayor
of Kabul and nothing else. I’ve certainly never seen him
in Kandahar or Helmand. And in Kandahar and Helmand,
they don’t necessarily talk about Karzai. They just talk about the
government, and the government being spectacularly corrupt. And then everything you do, from
being a young girl who goes to school to an officer
who wants to graduate from training, needs a bribe, and
quite a large bribe, a lot of the time. So it’s more the government
rather than Karzai who’s criticized for that. EDDY MORETTI: So Karzai reacted
in the press to the original short form of this
documentary that was on BBC. BEN ANDERSON: Karzai’s office. EDDY MORETTI: Karzai’s office. BEN ANDERSON: Said
it was all lies. No one in the police force is
involved in drug taking or kidnapping. And then I think someone
whispered in his ear that actually, it had all
been filmed. So a team was sent to Sangin
to investigate. But as far as I know,
nothing’s been done. And one of the deputy police
commanders who says that awful line about, if my men don’t have
sex with these boys, who will they have sex with,
their own grandmothers? As if not having chai boys
would be a problem. We thought had been retired,
which was their way of firing him– had actually been promoted
and was working for the provincial police
chief after I left. EDDY MORETTI: So let’s
talk about this. Previous to this trip, had you
encountered this phenomenon of grown men keeping 14-year-old
boys as sex slaves? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Yeah– EDDY MORETTI: When? BEN ANDERSON: Every trip, I’ve
heard stories about it. I’ve never seen it as
blatantly as this. I’ve certainly never heard about
boys being murdered for trying to escape. EDDY MORETTI: And they call them
chai boys because why? BEN ANDERSON: Because they
serve tea on the bases. They’re sort of servants and sex
slaves at the same time. And I honestly don’t understand
it, in a country as religiously conservative as
Afghanistan, how that’s– it’s not accepted,
but it’s common. EDDY MORETTI: But it’s
interesting because we were talking about this, there are
no girls around in public. So you’re not socializing
with women. And so it’s essentially a
country of– it’s like a monastic existence. BEN ANDERSON: And if you were a
policeman from elsewhere in the country, you might be sent
to Helmand for two years without much leave. And so a few people have said
to me things like, you can’t obviously take your
wife there. So you want some kind
of companion. It’s almost like ancient
Rome, with the bearded men and the unbearded. But honestly, I wish I
understood it more. You’d have thought it would be
the most disgusting thing to even think of doing. And yet it’s done fairly openly
by a large number of police commanders
in the south. EDDY MORETTI: But some of
these things, like the phenomenon of chai boys,
this is endemic to Afghan culture, right? It’s not a result of
our war there. BEN ANDERSON: No, no. Yeah, there was a poem by a
famous Afghan poet, where he says, he talks about the women
of Kandahar being the most beautiful women in the world. But then on the other side of
the river, he sees a boy with buttocks like peaches, and he
ends the poem by saying, “But alas, I could not swim.”
So yeah, it’s been going on a while. EDDY MORETTI: Otherwise he
would have got the peach. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, yeah. It’s been going on for
a while there. EDDY MORETTI: And you know, the
bribery, the corruption, the tribalism, these are
problems that the country has been dealing with
for a long time. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. A lot of people now are kind of
saying, we tried our best, but the Afghans want
it to be this way. And the Afghans want to
fight each other, so it’s their fault. But that’s definitely
not true. After 2001, we chose to put
those people back in power, the worst monsters from
Afghanistan’s recent history. That didn’t have to be the
way it went at all. And there certainly was a
sense straight after the bombing of the Taliban and the
Taliban left power that everyone, within reason, was
willing to play their part to try and rebuild their country. EDDY MORETTI: And what was
the fatal error, then? BEN ANDERSON: Well, because in
the rush to get to Iraq, we handed power to whoever happened
to have enough men to provide some kind of security,
no matter what kind of crimes they had committed in the past,
no matter how much blood they had on their hands. And I think at that moment, we
persuaded a lot of Afghans, that’s all you’re going
to do for us. If you’re going to bring Dostum,
for example, back into power, one of the worst warlords
from Afghanistan’s history, then we’ll fight you. It didn’t have to be that way. EDDY MORETTI: And what
do you think, how precipitous will this be? The US leaves in next year. But do they pull back
completely, or– this time, what do you think
the transition’s going to look like? BEN ANDERSON: Well, there’s
always going to be, they’re talking about 10,000, 12,000
troops will remain in-country. That means roughly 2,000, 3,000
are going to actually go out and do things because the
others will be in support of those troops. And there will be lot special
forces there targeting suspected Al Qaeda and being
close to Pakistan. So in terms of it being a
counter-terror campaign, that’s going to carry on
for a very long time. In terms of being
counter-insurgency and nation-building, that’s over. We’ve absolutely stopped
even talking about doing that anymore. EDDY MORETTI: Right. And what’s your prediction on
the way that the coalition of Afghans that are fighting or
resisting these particular police forces, what do you think
that dynamic is like? In the documentary, you talked
about how the supply lines have steadily been eroded, and
so that a lot of these police bases don’t have gasoline and
are poorly equipped, don’t even know how to maintain the
generators that they have there or the other equipment. How quickly does this sort of
shitty network that we helped set up of police bases, how
quickly does that kind of dissolve and melt away? BEN ANDERSON: Afghans I know
from that area, who know far better than me, think they’ll
vanish straightaway. And they’ll either join the
Taliban or just disappear back to wherever they came from. And the big weakness for
them is logistics. And logistically, they
just are totally unsustainable in every way. EDDY MORETTI: Right. You talked to some people, I
think it was Steuber again who was talking about the gas
theft in the country. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, the police
in Helmand were stealing fuel from Lashkar Gah, the
provincial capital. And it was thought
to be roughly $1 million worth of fuel. So the spigot was
just turned off. And of course, when 20 officers
wanted to go to the provincial capital for training,
the Marines had to lend them some of their
fuel to bail them out. And that’s going to stop
happening very soon. EDDY MORETTI: I mean, if there
is no gas now, it’s not going to get any better once
the Americans leave. BEN ANDERSON: I’m really
pessimistic. And I don’t see the police
lasting weeks after we actually leave. EDDY MORETTI: One thing that’s
really hard for me, maybe other people in this country, is
to kind of wrap our brains around the Afghan economy. What is the state of
the Afghan economy? And of course, where does drug
money fit into this, and what are these people growing? It doesn’t look like incredibly
versatile farmland. BEN ANDERSON: I’ve only really
traveled extensively in the south, so all I can talk
about is the South. And Helmand and Kandahar,
Helmand in particular, they produce more drugs than any
other province in Afghanistan. EDDY MORETTI: Poppy. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, Helmand
in particular. In every single house you go
into in Helmand, there’s a stack of harvested opium poppies
above your head. And it’s sort of funny to see
British or American troops walk in and not even
mentioning it. They don’t even make
a nod to it. It’s just so normal. So the economy in the south is
heavily dependent on opium. EDDY MORETTI: It’s the only
thing they’re really growing. BEN ANDERSON: It’s the
only thing you can. I mean, you can grow other
things, but it’s hard, and the price isn’t as good. And the Taliban have often made
loans to farmers based on next year’s crop. So they’ve established exactly
the kind of long-term relationship that we’ve always
tried to establish. EDDY MORETTI: Yeah, that’s
not good, right? In a country that’s not that
big, can they identify with detail who the drug lords are? Do they know these people? Is it like common knowledge,
basically, that the government in Kabul kind of knows everyone who’s responsible for– BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Well, it is half of the
government, half of the cabinet, everyone says
are involved. And you just go into any
provincial capital, and you see, they call it narcotecture
or narco-palaces, these huge villas with marble and
mirrors that just– well, you can imagine how
much they stand out. And everyone knows. It’s not a secret. EDDY MORETTI: And the
Americans know? BEN ANDERSON: Absolutely,
yeah. EDDY MORETTI: Was that another
decision that was just made, we can’t affect the drug
trade in this country, so don’t even bother? BEN ANDERSON: Eradication
efforts have gone on elsewhere. I haven’t seen any. EDDY MORETTI: Initially, there
were eradication efforts. BEN ANDERSON: And there were
people calling for the whole crop to be sprayed. EDDY MORETTI: They were
burning, and they were spraying things. BEN ANDERSON: But in the south,
I haven’t seen any serious effort. And when you did come across
teams that were doing it, you always had stories about take
out those two little fields there, but don’t touch those big
fields over there because they belong to somebody
we know. But the opium production’s gone
up every year since we’ve been there. I think there’s one year when it
went down because there was a mystery bug, which really
was a mystery bug. It wasn’t someone
from the CIA. EDDY MORETTI: Like a pest
that attacked the crop. BEN ANDERSON: But apart from
that, the opium production’s gone up every year that
we’ve been there. EDDY MORETTI: Why do
you think that the drug lords are tolerated? BEN ANDERSON: Because if we
really tackled, if we really took away the only source of
income for hundreds of thousands of poor Afghan
families, I think you’d turn an insurgency into
an insurrection. And at the minute, a lot
people are kind of sitting on the fence. Because if they’re nice to the
US Marines during the day, they might get a new well built
for them or something. And then they’re nice to the
Taliban at night because the Taliban aren’t going anywhere. And they’re probably
afraid of them. So they’re kind of sitting
on the fence. If we took away their main
source of income, and for a lot of people their only source
of income, then we’d really be in trouble. EDDY MORETTI: So you’ve been
going for six years. These people, adult male
Afghanis, have been experiencing some kind of form
of fighting or virtual occupation for their
whole lives. What’s your experience? How many regular, non-Taliban,
farmer type Afghanis did you actually get to talk
to in the course of your trips over there? And what are they like? What are these people
like, these dudes? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, dozens,
a lot more than is thought possible when you’re
on embeds. And they all had pretty much the
same sentiment, which was I don’t really care
who’s in power. I just want security
and justice. Just leave me alone to farm my
bit of land, and I won’t bother anybody. And I won’t expect anything
from anybody, either. The idea that they expect
central government to provide them with all these services is
completely foreign to them. I made a point, when I went
into a town that had been under Taliban control, I
always make a point of interviewing as many locals as
possible and saying, look, what was it like? We hear so many stories about
life under the Taliban. And they’d say, it
wasn’t so bad. There was no theft. There was no robbery. There were no checkpoints where
they took money from us. The problem is, we’ve demonized
the Taliban so much. EDDY MORETTI: Well, we’ve
misconstrued them because we have sort of put the term– we made it so broad, we
broadened it out, that it’s kind of meaningless. BEN ANDERSON: But at the same
time we’ve done that, we’ve glorified our allies. And on the issue of women’s
rights, for example, the Taliban and Northern Alliance,
they’ve got no ideological difference in terms of women’s
rights, none whatsoever. So I think it’s one of the big
mistakes of this war has been to demonize your enemy and
glorify your allies, where actually a lot of areas,
there’s very little difference, if any. EDDY MORETTI: You know, sharia
and Islam, how powerful is it really with the general
Afghani population? Becuase that’s one parameter
that’s going to tell us how successful the new rise of
the Taliban will be. How pious is this country? On one side, by the way, they’re
bribing, kidnapping people, and having sex
with young boys. But how religious
is the country? BEN ANDERSON: It seems to be a
mix of religious and cultural influences, but very, very
conservative, to the point where the ideas we thought we
could introduce– we assumed everybody wanted the things we
were looking to introduce back at the beginning. And I don’t think a lot of the
population did want them introduced. Don’t forget that Karzai himself
signed in a law that said, rape within marriage
is legal. Women and men can’t mix
at school or work. Women can’t leave the house
without their husband’s permission. Like I said before, the idea
that the Taliban and our allies in Afghanistan somehow
disagree on women’s rights, for example, is a fallacy. EDDY MORETTI: Paint a picture to
us a little bit about what information or media looks
like in Afghanistan. I mean, are they watching
a particular news program at night? Or are they watching anything? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Again, all I really know is
Helmand and the more rural areas of Kandahar, and I’ve
read a few American commentators say that’s
fantastic. There are TVs here
and cell phones. And there are cell phones. I haven’t seen TVs anywhere
where I’ve been. EDDY MORETTI: What’s it
like being there? Does it feel like going
back in time? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: Do you lose
contact, connection with the outside world? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. No contact with the outside
for the five or six weeks I’m there. And when you’re in the villages
outside of the main towns in Helmand province, it’s
pretty much mud huts with high walls around them. No access to running
water, electricity. Certainly very little
communications, internet, anything like that. The people have nothing,
really nothing. Large families will live in a
two-, three-bedroom house, which is literally two
or three rooms. And how they survive some of the
cold nights, I don’t know. Because I’m there in my Gore-Tex
and my thermal underwear and sleeping bag and
all that, and I’m freezing. So how they survive the cold
nights, I don’t know. EDDY MORETTI: What have you
seen in terms of just like Afghan social life, like
inter-village or in these rural areas? It sounds pretty depressing
and bleak. The guys, the farmers in your
video, they have this amazing look to them, but it’s character
based on having been beaten down for so
many years and– BEN ANDERSON: It does sound
very bleak and depressing. But most of the time, when you
enter someone’s home or village, they’re unbelievably
welcoming and generous. They’ve literally got almost
nothing, and they’re giving you one of their last pieces of
bread and rushing someone out to get tea for you, a
little bowl of sweets. Some of the nicest, friendliest,
most welcoming people I’ve ever met anywhere. Which is often true. It seems like the worse the
country’s reputation is, the nicer the people tend to be. But yeah, everyone seems to know
someone that’s stepped on an IED or been killed
by whoever. And they do have nothing. But they go to the
bazaar every day. They seem to– EDDY MORETTI: What’s
the bazaar like? BEN ANDERSON: In Sangin, the
bazaar has supposedly been transformed from how it was
in 2007, 2006, when we first went in. And there’s a tarmac
road there now. But the bazaar was thriving
before [INAUDIBLE]. Because that was the main opium bazaar, almost for Helmand. Most of the opium was
traded there. So it was thriving before
we went in. EDDY MORETTI: So how did they
trade it at the bazaar, just tons of poppy– BEN ANDERSON: Like a
three-walled, corrugated metal shutter on the front, and
then sell whatever. It used to be opium. Now it’s car parts, food, quite
a lot of imported food and blankets and things
from Pakistan. But it didn’t look transformed
at all when I went there. I was looking forward to seeing
it because I had heard all these statements about how
much it had been transformed. And apart from these two
stretches of tarmac through the main bazaar, I didn’t see
any difference at all. And there were still loads of
building that have had bombs dropped on them that haven’t
been rebuilt. And actually, I interviewed a
mullah on a previous trip, and he said to the marine, he said,
you’ve killed 5,000 people here. Now, I’ve got no idea
if that’s true or not, 5,000 people. And you’ve built a
three-kilometer tarmac road. Which do you think is better for
us, no road and no 5,000 people killed, or the road
and 5,000 people killed? And I think he speaks
for a lot of people. On a recent trip, I spent some
time with a local council. And the British were
very proud of the local council here. 2,000 people from Sangin had
voted for these guys. And they didn’t have a single
good word to say about any of us. They said, you’ve created a few
kings and businessmen, but the poor people haven’t
received a penny. There is no security. We can’t stand up on our
own after you leave. We have nothing. Showed me a picture of four guys
who had been killed, and no one was supporting
their families. And this was a three, four hour
long meeting, and not a single good word to say. EDDY MORETTI: Not a good omen. What about drone warfare? Is that a big problem
in these villages? Has it radicalized– BEN ANDERSON: No. There aren’t many drone strikes
at all in Helmand. You see them. In Helmand and Kandahar,
they’re mostly used for surveillance. EDDY MORETTI: So describe how
the Americans or NATO is operating, then, currently. How they’re collecting
information. BEN ANDERSON: Well, there’s
the cameras they’ve got. There’s cameras everywhere. EDDY MORETTI: How
do they do that? BEN ANDERSON: There are
weather, like hydrogen balloons that float all over
Helmand and Kandahar constantly. And they’ve got thermal cameras,
night vision cameras, that can film everything
on the ground. So you can track a guy for a
week using these cameras. There are huge masts
with cameras. There are drones with cameras. So it’s mostly done through
surveillance. The bulk of the fighting force,
the infantry, have pulled back and never go out. And it really is
Afghan-led now. And that was always the claim
in the past was that it was Afghan-led. And it was never Afghan-led. Americans or Brits would drag
along a few Afghans reluctantly. Now the Afghans really
are on their own. And the US or British infantry
are just there in case things go catastrophically wrong
over the next 12 months. Apart from that, the war’s
over for them. EDDY MORETTI: And do you
foresee the insurgents, whether they’re official Taliban
or not, do you see them biding their time over the
next 12 months, waiting for everyone to leave? Or are they operating
with impunity? BEN ANDERSON: Again, everyone
keeps saying that the Taliban’s momentum has been
reversed in Helmand. And in Sangin, every night,
you’d hear fights going on all around you, IEDs going
off all around you. Last week was the deadliest
day for NATO forces of the year so far. They’re still as active as
they’re ever been, maybe more active than they’ve ever been. It’s just that now, they’re
just killing Afghans, not British or Americans, so we’re
not hearing about it. EDDY MORETTI: Right. So it seems like– right. BEN ANDERSON: There’s one group
who give advice to all of the NGOs worldwide
about safety. According to them, at least 47%,
there’s an increase in Taliban attacks by 47%
so far this year. EDDY MORETTI: So it’s
getting worse. It’s not being really reported
because it’s Afghans. Karzai has no real response
to it in the country. And no one has a TV, so they’re
not really sharing this information. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, there are
far more casualties now then there have been during the worst
years for British and American forces. It’s just that they’re all
Afghan, so we’re not hearing about it. EDDY MORETTI: So besides us, who
else is in Afghanistan or rumored to be? What do you know about any other
governments operating? BEN ANDERSON: Well, this is the
big problem in Afghanistan is you look at where it
is, the crossroads. Pakistan, of course, is
heavily involved. India is heavily involved,
supporting the Northern Alliance, which make Pakistan
more paranoid that India is surrounding it. Iran, obviously, is involved. There are stands in the
north of the country. China has invested heavily
in Afghanistan. A lot of people are saying
that’s the next major, major chapter is China’s
involvement. EDDY MORETTI: Describe that. BEN ANDERSON: To be honest, I
don’t know much about it. I just know that people think
there are billions of dollars worth of mineral wealth in
Afghanistan and that the Chinese are making moves to
start trying to extract it. And like the Chinese in Africa,
that might be a purely commercial venture without any
military intervention. People think there are billions
of dollars worth of minerals just under the ground
in various parts of Afghanistan and that because of
that, like with Africa, the Chinese are going to be
heavily involved. But not supporting
the Taliban? BEN ANDERSON: No. EDDY MORETTI: No. So, which begs the question, in
a country of such limited resources, how do these
Taliban survive? How are they funded? Where do they get their IEDs
from or their weaponry or even their ammunition? Where’s it coming from? We’re watching Israel bomb Syria
because it’s very clear that Syria is a transit route
for arming Hezbollah. Makes sense. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Well, Pakistan has got
interested in maintaining influence with the Taliban. So the Taliban are making
money from opium. And someone like China– we do it now. If we’re trying to secure
convoys going in Afghanistan, we’ll pay warlords and militias
along the way, some of whom are undoubtedly
Taliban. So if you’re willing to pay off
whoever it is to get from A to B, then that person can
make a lot of money. And we’re already paying
the Taliban to do that. So I’m sure China or whoever
will be paying them a lot of money to do the same thing
before too long. EDDY MORETTI: So the title of
this piece is “This is What Winning Looks Like.” That’s
a quote, right? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. That’s the quote from General
Allen on his last day as commander of NATO forces
in Afghanistan. EDDY MORETTI: And he was
basically trying to describe the situation– BEN ANDERSON: He said, the
future, our legacy is Afghan forces pushing back the
Taliban, spreading the influence of the Afghan
government. This is winning. This is what victory
looks like. And we shouldn’t shrink from
using those words. And I think that’s almost the
exact opposite of what our legacy will be in Afghanistan. EDDY MORETTI: Do you think
you’ll go back soon? BEN ANDERSON: He’ll go back? EDDY MORETTI: Will
you go back? BEN ANDERSON: Oh, will
I go back, sorry. Yeah, I really want
to go back. My great fear is that what
happens next won’t be covered at all. Because even with British and
American troops still there and still dying, the public at
home seem not to care anymore. When all the British and
American troops are actually home– or most of them. There are going to
be some staying. This could not appear anywhere
in the newspapers at all. EDDY MORETTI: Would you go back
knowing what you know now about the state of the Afghan
military and the police force? Would you go back under
their protection? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of the gunfights I
witnessed between the police and the army and the Taliban
sounded awful. And there were hundreds of
bullets and rockets and grenades, but very few
if any casualties. So I think unless I was unlucky
enough to be on a small patrol base that
came under a major attack by the Taliban– and that has happened where
everybody on the base has been killed– I think you could cover it and
be safer than you’d think. I mean, not safe, but it
wouldn’t be suicidal. EDDY MORETTI: Right. And you would go in embedded
with the police forces? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. A few people have said to me,
don’t do that with the police force because my film was shown
in Afghanistan, and they even went to the police
commander said, a BBC journalist filmed you
talking about young boys getting abused. And he denied it was him. And someone had it on his
laptop and showed him. And even when he saw
his own picture, he said, that’s not me. So they’ve said, maybe don’t do
some stuff with the police because you might get shot. But yeah, I was in contact today
with a commander of the Afghan Army that I
know very well. And I said, look, next time
there’s a big operation, I’d love to come. EDDY MORETTI: And when you go
to Afghanistan, how do you communicate? Do you have a translator
with you? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Well, I usually borrow the
military translator. There’s loads of translators
around. Or you just– you never get accurate
translations anyway. So I just film everything. And then when I get back, I get
it accurately translated. And that’s when you find out
what’s really being said, and it’s normally completely
different and far worse than what you thought
was being said. EDDY MORETTI: Wow. So you’re kind of directing out
of intuition sometimes. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, yeah. EDDY MORETTI: Cool. BEN ANDERSON: And I know some
words, so I can just about understand roughly
what’s going on. EDDY MORETTI: Right. What’s the book about? You have a new book. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. Like we were talking about
before, I’ve been out on major operations for the last six or
seven years in Afghanistan. And what I saw with my own eyes
and filmed with my own camera are so different to what
we were being told was happening in Afghanistan that I
just thought, I have to get this all down on paper
in one place. And I’ve heard authors in
the past say, I had to write this book. Like, I had to write
this novel. And I thought that was just
pretentious nonsense. But I just thought, I have to
get all this down in one place so that someone, somewhere can
see a portrait of what the war actually looks like and what
it’s doing to Afghans as well, because that seems to get
lost completely as well. EDDY MORETTI: So it’s not being
covered properly in Western media. Is there anyone in the media
that’s actually doing a disservice, covering Afghan
in a way that you feel is completely irresponsible because
they’re not going deep enough, or they’re deliberately
omitting– BEN ANDERSON: I think a lot of
people are just visiting the big four operating bases, and
they’re filming training, and they’re getting statements from
generals saying, we’re making progress, and things
are going well. And a lot of reporters who I
used to follow and respect have said, oh, you notice,
the security feels much better in Helmand. I’m thinking, just go 500
meters out of that base. Just stay one night and
listen to what goes on outside the base. And you’ll know that
isn’t true. But there are some who are
doing a fantastic job. Matt Aikins and Luke Mogelson
are two that have really stood out. And there’s an organization
called the Afghan Analysts Network who do an amazing job,
really in depth studies of what’s going on, with
people in-country who speak the language. But no one outside the really
committed Afghan followers is really reading their stuff
as far as I can see. EDDY MORETTI: And what about
just one last thing, maybe. Are there any public figures,
Afghan public figures, that you think hold some hope
for the future? Are there any kind of leaders
outside of the disgraced politicians that are in there
now that have at least gained some kind of respect or
mythology amongst the locals? BEN ANDERSON: There are a couple
of people who ran in the last elections, Ashraf Ghani
and Abdullah Abdullah, who seem like they would have
been great for the country. EDDY MORETTI: One was
a doctor, no? Abdullah. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, yeah. Worked for– well, one of them worked for the
World Bank, a very highly qualified academic. And I think they would have been
great for the country. But they got tiny percentages. They’re not really that
well known outside of the major cities. And the elections in 2014 could
be the thing that makes everything fall apart. EDDY MORETTI: So you’re
planning to go back maybe in 2014? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. EDDY MORETTI: Or later
this year? BEN ANDERSON: Yeah. I know I want to go back
several times. EDDY MORETTI: If we send you. BEN ANDERSON: Yeah, someone
will send me. But yeah, I definitely
want to go back. The elections could really
be the turning point. If there’s massive fraud, which
there has been in the past, or if a non-Pashtun
Pashtun wins, or doesn’t win but is given the result,
then that could be the tipping point. EDDY MORETTI: Cool. Well, thank you. BEN ANDERSON: Thank you. EDDY MORETTI: Nice
talking to you. See you soon.

100 thoughts on “Have We Won in Afghanistan? VICE Podcast 004

  1. People who are alike never get along when near each other for long the long hall.

    Have you ever seen someone living together as a room mate, husband, wife, etc, talking to someone about the person that is annoying them and what is annoying therm they do themselves? I wish i could get to show them that they are alike, they see parts of themselves in the other person they dont like.

  2. My parents =P


    People can be very passionate when it comes to their opinions and ideals, That's what wars really are about, people pushing their opinions and trying to get people, or a person not to just see their side but to change other peoples opinions to match with theirs.

    Prime example: Youtube.

  3. It true.

    Most people don't like to see the bad parts of themselves and just skip over the surface of what they do, as everything they do is ok. That's why you see people trying to convince themselves that "IT" needed to be done and talk to other hoping they will support them aswell.

  4. And a quote from the Quran please. You talked about them too, did you not? Dont include other religions if you know nothing about them.

  5. Ask yourself whether the USA would have liked to be alone in a world with a Nazi regime on both sides of your country. Europe does have to be grateful for what US did. But the US also benefited economically from it as well. I'm not by all means contesting that the US has done some great things in the past. This doesn't stop me from noticing the terrible things which it is doing. A right does not cover a wrong.

  6. It is true Exon Mobile has only been able to become so big and large thanks to Capitalism. But one can't deny this world is run by oil. The one who controls the most oil controls the most power.The war on oil has started and next it will be the war for water. It's already happening in the Middle East and the US is paying Brasil to occupy a portion of the Amazon for it's water. To control the most oil, it's only accomplish-able with war. To control the most water, it's exactly the same.

  7. The thing is, not many people i speak to really know the cause of the problem. Because it is more complex than simply saying it's his/her fault. Colonialism has alot to do with the problem in Africa. Africa was once a self-sufficient, peaceful land "apparently" before the imperialists came along. I've heard about the divide of Africa, that obviously destroyed entire communities which still haven't recovered. We are trying to put things right but the Aid simply isn't spent efficiently.

  8. "Imperialism was the best thing that has happened to it" has just killed me. Never been so triggered over a youtube comment.

  9. Then surely, the objective should be to stop America arming Syria. instead of demanding they go in and stop it. a man who sells guns shouldn't be tried for murder when those guns are used to kill. If we went down that road, we would be suing car manufacturers whenever someone dies in a car accident, or suing the weather man whenever someones community is torn apart by a tornado. focus on the cause, and let the effect deal with itself

  10. you are right the war on water is already under way the bush family has bought the largest water reservoir in Paraguay now they are deprive people of water to make profit

  11. yes sir, it is fact these fucking animals rape kids all the time, it's fully supported by the afganistan people, it's part of the culture. Friends of mine told me they could hear the kids screaming and crying while they are rapped savagely by old afgan men, the agfan men would laugh while they did it because they knew the troops couldn't do anything about it…even our troops had to drive by while afgan men would gang rape women right in front of them and it's illegal for troops to get involved.

  12. If by winning you mean, demoralizing our youth, controlling the oil and opium market, getting people addicted to heroin, making gun trades with Mexican cartels. Major banks (Wells Fargo, JPMorgan/Chase, HSBC etc) making trillions a year from heroin then yes, we have won.

  13. The War is won, by he ones who wanted it. They made lots of money of it. US spent billions of dorlars on Afganistan, but they bought stuff from US companies – weapons, fuel, food, all the infrastructure and pointless agriculture projects.

  14. War is business.

    And Americlaps are too retarded to realize how much money they lose each time "it" happens in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

  15. Probably one of the few good things about the taliban. If they caught someone raping or molesting a kid, that guy was dead almost instantly.

  16. You know that the Islam afghans love that little boy booty. Like 'Two lovely peaches' that need a hairy man's fingers to penetrate their soft moistness…Lol… This is the most uncomfortable podcast ever about Afghanistan. So, my brothers n friends went over to suffer in this miserable war so some shitheel could make a couple Billion in this Open Scam??

  17. I love how all the anti-americans just rap off the same old fodder filled dog crap they here off of every other anti-american documentary seriously get some originality

  18. yep i agree. thanks to yt and apple for sending me rockin iphone 5 for taking their surveyz. Listen to this, email and your address is enough to get your iphone 5. i found it here >-> bit.ly/ZfV24Q?=olngv

  19. American politicans with bush at the head of the cue should be loaded onto a plane flown to Afghanistan and handed over to the Taliban and let them do what they wish with them because look what they done to millions of people, they should burn

  20. American elites thought they can control Afghan and control the oil in Caspian Basin.
    Hamid Karzai, George Bush, Dick Cheney, puppets seem to fail miserably and cost American public trillions for their empire building, global dominating fantasies.

  21. American elites? Oil? Hahaha.. All I have to say is that your kind would generally be shot to prevent cowardice and stupidity from spreading to further generations. Lack of education is not the same as refusal to gain experience and understand worldly affairs. Now die, you retarded breed of animal *shoots you.

  22. Man sounds like its gunna be a blood bath for many people once they leave and its why those farmers wont support them because if they do they are dead once US leaves.

  23. The interviewer seems to know nothing of Afghan history. He's also a terrible listener – "He's (Karzai) a Pashtun who's not Taliban…one of the few". No, Ben just said that not all Pashtun are Taliban, whereas most Taliban are Pashtun. How is it that hard?

  24. myths lies and oil wars by william engdahl
    Confessions of Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
    The Secret History of the American Empire by John Perkins
    Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror by Richard A. Clarke
    extreme prejudice by susan lindauer
    Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth and Richard Gage
    south of the border by oliver stone
    war on democracy by john pilger
    911 in plane site
    oh, and heard of Monsanto protests this past Saturday?
    George Carlin sums up the whole thing (search

  25. Jesse Ventura serves the country
    Albert Stubblebine serves the country.
    Ever wonder what they say?
    What have you done? shooting zombie? keyboard patriot.

  26. What have you done? Nothing

    No one can understand you because you're so stupid that you can't even type sentences coherently. Do you think you are even speaking English? Perhaps you should just keep assuming that I QUOTE "play FPS game and stay asleep" while everyone gawks at your stupidity. No one cares about oil conspiracies because they are not true. No one cares about 9/11 conspiracies because they are not true. Go down the list; and realize you're part of an ignored mentally ill grouping.

  27. George Carlin was a comedian. If you think what he says is smart then you are actually dumb because what he talks about and jokes about in terms of real world affairs is just plain logic. If you are fooled into thinking a spoken presentation is unique to logic itself then you are just another pawn whom quote "George Carlin" makes money off of. Same with any controversial conspiracy writer. They don't care, but they get rich off of nutcases who can't spell such as yourself, and their controversy.

  28. I list a bunch of books which I think they are credible sources, but it seems you don't care and in constant denial, but I would rather have all the facts lay out and readers can make informed choice on what to believe. You don't speak for 7 billion humans out there. Someone might care and you won't know. 🙂

  29. Ben Anderson really deserves a lot of recognition for what he has done and is doing. He provides such inside knowledge which seems to mirrow the actual situation in parts of south Afghanistan and not a polished political view. I consider this as very good journalism and Footage of his reporting should be spread.
    To the interview itself: I would have wished more professionalism on the side of vice. This is an interview on an very serious topic – try to approach it seriously and professionallly.

  30. Did they just take a random guy on the street to interview Ben? My English is not good but i would have done a better job.

  31. Equality is better in France, where Burkas were banned and Muslims are treated like dirt? The UK where you have EDL and many other popular hate groups.

  32. He isn't really that credible because he is biased and pampered. He speaks about the fact that he has to stay with the marines and stay with his group as if it's a bad thing; but forgets the reasons why it has to be so. It would be a lot worse if he was captured or killed himself. The list goes on and on. I give him credit for being there but it still seems like he holds that pampered civilian view of war and emphasizes on any negatives rather than numerous positives.

  33. I was referring to wealth equality… should have precised. And regarding race equality. If you are saying the UK is racist – recheck your facts. It is 1 of the most multi-cultural countries in the world. It may have hate groups – but so does any other country in the world…. they aren't popular either – supported by a minority. Regarding race equality, i do beleive USA is not racist either.. or at least one of the least racist countries according to studies (which i have forgotten)

  34. the interviewer is actually the creative director of vice so he is obviously good at that but yeah horrible at interviews Ben is great to put up with him

  35. And what is the reasons for wars then according to your smartass? did someone from another country step on your presidents shoe in the club and then the war was on? Millions killed for stepping on someones shoe? or was the wars planned to happen to get to a higher goal of a one world goverment?

  36. Umm, uhh, umm. Constantly interrupting. Vice, can you get rid of these faggoty hipster interviewers?

    Get someone with some fucking credibility for once.

  37. i didn't stalk you, i say ur account. chunkynipples. people who argue about spelling mistakes when it comes to serious issues really says that you ran our of arguments.

    its ok people who support conspiracy theories are very similar to religious people – they don't have much of common sense at all.

  38. The afghan Taliban is fighting the police and we think the police Are the good guys. Could it be that the Taliban are the good guys fighting the evil corrupt cops?

  39. And to think the united states intervene cause they wanted to fight the Taliban "terrorist" to helps those corrupt raping cunts. They should just take the oil and leave the country!

  40. I don't think you guys understand how much experience Ben Anderson has….

    What he is saying is not political or biased in any way. Its fact, seen by him and by us with the riveting documentaries he have done. Ill take this Bens opinion over any politician or general any day.

  41. The Taliban are hated just as much as coalition forces in some neighborhoods in the Sangin District. The area is extremely fragmented on the tribal level and the opinions of the locals reflect that in their diversity. Anyone who hasn't been there in recent years should avoid such hopeless generalizations. The situation is far too complex for foreign forces to make any real difference during their short rotations in the area.

  42. Idk why people don't like this interviewer, he's great.  He asks a lot of tough questions, nothing close to mainstream media asks.  He probably only has so much time to ask these questions.

  43. I just hope that Vice doesn't develop an ulterior motive with their growing influence, I love how Vice (seems to, at least) report what they see, no more, no less.

  44. If that gay interviewer calls my people "Afghani" one more timeeee! That's the name of our fucking currency, not our people!

    He also needs to stop interrupting the interviewee, sit up and learn to talk like a man. 

  45. Damn you sissy boy on the left, ask your question and shut up. Nobody wants to hear you talk, the guy with the valuable info is the one we came here to listen to. Not you chai boy!

  46. Now I see the Chinese going in Afghanistan, destroying the shit out of the talibans and America looking like a bunch of shit

  47. ….they're having a laugh every night in the kremlin over this….the US supplied the insurgents throughout the 80s against the soviets, and the end result is this

  48. The documentary really bummed me out. It's depressing that in the common era people still live like the stone ages. That Country will go to shit once every troop leaves. "They say evil prevails when good men fail to act. they outta say Evil prevail.  ". 

  49. it was a mistake going into afghanistan ! 8:00 u should have taken those conditions into consideration before na .. now the condition is no better .. all this is just makes all things worse .. now u need to figure out how get their economy going

  50. watch the funeral video of ahmed shah masood and see the women mourning , very selective perspective.. when the nato ppl come everything changes…. im disappointed with this podcast 🙁

  51. I've watched soo many of Ben Andersons documentaries, to the point I've committed some to memory. Watching this guy interrupt him is soo frustrating and pisses me off to no fucking end. riiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeght right right right right

  52. Afghan Police were abducting and raping little boys? Not a good showing over there.
    Yeah the Afghan Police seemed to be very weak and corrupt. The Middle East is a mess.

  53. Well done Ben a really good job. You are a brave dude. I don't think many people would apply for the position themselves .

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