Surprising no one, recent revelations demonstrate that not only is Afghanistan a hopeless wreck but our glorious foreign policy elite has been lying about it for going on two decades. Remember, these people are our betters, our moral superiors, the people we should genuflect to and obey because of their wisdom and insights and credentials. And they are lying garbage people. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous impeachment foolishness, maybe our country could focus on this endless disaster – and one that is still killing our best and our bravest.
Here’s the bottom line. Donald Trump’s instincts were right when he looked at this Seventh Century wasteland and asked (I’m paraphrasing), “What the hell are we doing still being here?”
We need to get out of Afghanistan yesterday. The 4K Trump’s supposed to be pulling out soon should be the down payment. Bring our troops all home.
The Taliban rules the countryside. The drug warlords are laughing at us. Our corrupt “allies” are raking in our cash, with trillions of our dollars spraying out of a massive spigot that the beneficiaries don’t want to cut off. But worse, our troops are dying in drips and drabs. Hell, a year ago one of my friends got shot there by somebody pretending to be our ally right up until the moment that turd decided to blast the infidels with a weapon we probably bought him. I do not presume to speak for my friend and I have no idea where he stands on the politics – like all our great soldiers, he’ll go where ordered and do his utmost – but I’m retired and I know where I stand.
I stand for lancing this festering boil of a war. End it. After nearly 20 years, it’s not worth one more American limb or life.
Were we defeated? Not in any meaningful sense. We just have nothing to gain by fighting it anymore. We came to kill al-Qaeda. We killed heaps of those scumbags. But somehow that mission morphed into making Afghanistan a place that didn’t suck. That’s crazy. It’s always sucked and it always will suck and its suckiness is not our problem.
We didn’t “win,” in the sense that we did not crush all opposition. To say we cannot win in Afghanistan is wrong. Of course we can win. What we cannot do is summon up the will to do what it would take to win. Perhaps we do not want to – and there are plenty of good reasons not to do the hard and horrendous things necessary to pacify that backwater hellhole. But we could, if we wanted to. We have the combat power. What we do not have is the will – and again, maybe we don’t want to have the will to do it. We beat Germany and Japan by, in large part, annihilating their cities. But both were existential threats to our country. Afghanistan, if it provides a refuge for jihadi degenerates again, is a threat, but hardly an existential threat.
Winning in Afghanistan means exponentially more blood and treasure. We would need to flood the country with troops, and flood it with even more money. It would take hundreds of thousands of soldiers, which we could send. But would we want to? Do we want that butcher’s bill?
As for money, well, the reports make clear that we have flooded that country with cash for two decades and all we have to show for it are rich grifters and…more rich grifters, American and Afghani. That’s it. We could have set those trillions of bucks on fire and at least we would not have had to bury a few thousand of our troops.
And to pacify the countryside means putting aside the counterinsurgency fad that’s led to two decades of treading water in a sea of American blood. Julius Caesar understood how to pacify a country. So did Curtis LeMay. You go in and wipe out your enemies. You kill them in massive quantities until they beg you to surrender. And you destroy their territory, leaving it a wasteland. We did that in World War II, not coincidentally the last war we unequivocally won.
But would we do that here? Do we want to shed that amount of blood? Let’s not dance around it – we don’t want to, as a country. We have no stomach for the kind of meat grinder warfare we used to practice, at least not in this scenario. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe the objective of a pacified Afghanistan is not worth the moral cost of victory. But there’s no need to even think about it because there is not going to be a consensus in our country to do what we would have to do to win. We’re not going for Dresden II: Pashtun Boogaloo. So let’s stop this bloody Groundhog Day of a war, after countless funerals, countless dollars, and countless years.
If a war is not important enough to win, then it’s sure as hell not important enough to not win for years and years and years.
So, what happens to our allies? Some of our “allies” are apparently less allies than parasites. They’ll be fine, and if they aren’t, too bad. The ones who truly stood with us, who fought beside our men and shed blood with them, we should take care of. That might mean arming them. That might mean bringing them here. But it does not mean running on this miserable rat wheel forever.
“But,” warn those who want to stay, “if we abandon our allies what message does that send?” Well, it sends the message that if we prop you up for two decades and you still can’t hack it, yeah, you’re on your own. That is not a bad message to send.
It’s their country. If they want to fight for it, that’s their choice. And if they don’t, that’s also their choice. But after 20 years, it’s not our problem anymore. The fact that we’ve been stupid enough to waste blood and bucks on Afghanistan for two decades – when the reason we came there in the first place was to exact vengeance on terrorists, not remake its entire primitive society – does not somehow morally obligate us to keep doing so forever.
“The terrorists might come back” is another argument. That’s true. But then we can come back too – in the form of drones or bombers or special ops guys, and we can kill them. If the Taliban takes over, that’s bad. But then the Taliban has taken over. It would have something to lose.
Might terrorists threaten us from there again even though we would hold the local warlord responsible? Maybe. But right now, Afghans are actively trying to kill Americans who are, conveniently, right there. How are we worse off removing the enemy’s targets across an ocean?
A lot of people have an interest in this fiasco continuing. The foreigners our fecklessness have made rich. The contractors cashing in on Uncle Sam’s cash. Even our military has an interest in continuing it. It’s not some sort of evil delight in war, but professionals tend to want to use their skills. Afghanistan is a mission, and our military – because it is mostly composed of aggressive achievers, except in the JAG Corps – likes having a mission. But the military works for us, and we should tell it, “Nope. Thanks, but you’re done. Pack up and redeploy.”
Some others warn, “Well, China will go in if we go out.” Oh no, that would be awful.
There is one more argument. There are folks who worry that leaving will render our sacrifices meaningless. But that’s not so. The courage and sacrifice of our warriors under unbelievable conditions was not in vain. Those who served in Afghanistan have a right to be proud; we should be proud of them. They were never defeated. They are leaving not because they were forced out but because we called them home. They should leave with their heads held high as the heroes they are.
And it’s precisely because they are heroes that we owe them this tough decision to finally end this war.