“Stop this war.”
These were the last words of Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan, who died in 2010. Having seen what a failure the Afghan War was, and that it was not winnable, Holbrooke urged Obama to end this war.
Sadly, Obama, like LBJ during the Vietnam War, is not willing to end it, and the foreign policy establishment in Washington is urging him not to end it. Neocons and neocon-leaning Senators and Congressmen such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham are also opposed to ending it and want the US military to say in Afghanistan forever. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich are also opposed, and Romney’s foreign policy advisory team is crawling with neocons who engineered the Afghan and Iraqi fiascos in the first place and who advocate nationbuilding.
Although Romney has, himself, sensibly said in the first NH presidential debate of this season that Afghanistan must eventually take care of itself, he was later obviously pressured by his advisors to dial back that comment. He is now refusing to publicly agree to a withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Ron Paul supports withdrawal from Afghanistan, but he is such a kook and is so weak on other foreign and defense issues that he will never get elected.
So Republicans are wasting their golden opportunity to defeat Obama by a landslide by refusing to promise to end this war quickly.
When the 1952 Republican presidential nominee, Dwight Eisenhower, pledged to end the Korean War, he was elected by a landslide, and six months after his inauguration, an armistice was signed in Korea.
The American people rewarded him for keeping his word with another landslide victory. Eisenhower was the first two-term Republican president since William McKinley, who was assasinated at the beginning of his second term.
In 1968, Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon pledged to end the Vietnam War and the draft. He won the election. By November 1972, almost all troops were back home. By March 1973, the remaining troops were withdrawn and the draft was ended.
Romney could easily win the 2012 election by a landslide if he would just promise to end the war within his first year as President. But so far, he has not done that.
Why is the US still bogged down in Afghanistan?
The US should’ve withdrawn from there in 2002, after ther Battle of Tora Bora, when the country was pacified and the Taleban, as well as AQ, crippled. Had the US then withdrawn its troops, it wouldn’t have been facing the quagmire it is facing today. Unfortunately, liberal neocons in the Bush Administration convinced President Bush to keep American troops there and to start a nationbuilding adventure, a Wilsonian grand scheme whereby the US would turn Afghanistan – a primitive, backward country that still lives in the Stone Age – into a Jeffersonian democracy. But that grand scheme has failed, and it’s time to end it. So why won’t Republicans do it?
That landlocked country is irrelevant, so it doesn’t matter who runs it. And on close inspection, the corrupt Karzai government is not any better than the Taleban, and doesn’t really control Afghanistan anyway. (Afghanistan has never had a strong central government.)
AQ has been crippled, and although it remains a threat, it no longer treats Afghanistan as a priority and has relocated to other countries: Yemen and Somalia. And AQ taking over Yemen or Somalia would be much more dangerous than it or the Taleban reconquering Afghanistan.
No American interests are at stake in Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter from America’s standpoint who will rule that country – Karzai, the Taleban, or someone else. And if AQ is to be based somewhere, I would much rather see it based in Afghanistan – a landlocked, irrelevant, worthless country where it is difficult to do anything – than in Yemen or Somalia, let alone Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Germany.
And how does Karzai, his government, the Afghan parliament, and the Afghan people show his gratitude to the US? Consider.
After a recent incident of a few American soldiers burning Qurans (which allegedly contained information terrorists have been passing on to each other), the Afghans went uppity. 35-38 US troops have been killed, including 2 just in the last 2 days, mostly by Afghan soldiers and civilians. Massive demonstrations happened. Karzai admonished the US. In the Afghan parliament, MP Abdul Satter Khawasi has said, “Americans are invaders, and jihad against Americans is an obligation.” He urged mullahs to “urge the people … to wage war against Americans.”
So the US has spent, and continues to spend,a large amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan, continues to defend the Karzai government and the Afghan people from the Taleban, and this is how they repay the US? This is what America gets in return for its effort?
As Pat Buchanan (with whom I seldom agree) rightly asks:
“In what other war would we have tolerated this from an elected leader of a government we had sent an army of 100,000 to protect?
After fighting for 10 years, investing $500 billion, and losing nearly 2,000 dead and many more wounded and maimed to save Afghanistan from a Taliban future, America is issuing apologies to the regime and people we are fighting and dying to defend?
Two pertinent questions needs to be put.
While keeping Afghanistan free of the Taliban is a desirable goal, what vital U.S. interest would be imperiled should the Taliban take over again, now that al-Qaida is largely gone?
What price in blood and billions should we expend on what appears a dubious enterprise at best — creating a pro-American democracy in a country that seems mired in some distant century?”
The answers are that no vital interest of the US would be imperiled, and no further amount of blood or dollars should be spent on that unneeded war.
As one RedState commenter rightly says:
“Remember not that long ago the military confiscated hundreds of American Bibles that were sent to our troops, and burned them in order to not offend the Afghans?
I’ve been more of the mind to just bring our troops home from Afghan since the president had the ROE re-written which put our troops more at risk, and the enemies were given the advantages. I even more so want our troops to come out ASAP, but not before bombing the crap out of the taliban strongholds. Karzi is using the US as his bank for his economy, he is holding us hostage, while giving nothing back in return. We are paying for Afghan roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and homes. We are sending them food aid, and farm aid. We are training their soldiers that are turning around and killing our own troops. I’m sure our intelligence knows where the enemy strongholds are. Just level those areas into dust and come home. Cut off every dollar in aid of every sort to that country. Let Putin support the entire Afghan country and all their needs. I doubt Russia can afford it. Karzi has been meeting with Putin anyway. Iran is also involved in the anti-American sentiment in the country also. We cannot win the hearts and minds of those that hate us.”
All US troops (except Marine Embassy Guards) should be withdrawn from Afghanistan with their equipment ASAP… but not before Taleban bastions are bombed to hell and Taleban & AQ leaders, including Mullah Omar, are killed. For that to be possible, the current restrictive ROE must be abolished. After this is accomplished, alll US troops except MEGs should be withdrawn from Afghanistan ASAP. All of this should be accomplished by the end of the next fiscal year.