Declare Victory in Afghanistan and Get the Hell Out Now!
Please consider Ha Ha Ha to the Pacifists by warmonger Christopher Hitchens, written November 13, 2001.
I began to notice a few weeks ago that my enemies in the "peace" movement had decided to borrow from this tattered style book. The mantra, especially in the letters to this newspaper, was: "Afghanistan, where the world's richest country rains bombs on the world's poorest country."
Poor fools. They should never have tried to beat me at this game. What about, "Afghanistan, where the world's most open society confronts the world's most closed one"? "Where American women pilots kill the men who enslave women." "Where the world's most indiscriminate bombers are bombed by the world's most accurate ones." "Where the largest number of poor people applaud the bombing of their own regime." I could go on. (I think number four may need a little work.) But there are some suggested contrasts for the "doves" to paste into their scrapbook.
Well, ha ha ha, and yah, boo. It was obvious from the very start that the United States had no alternative but to do what it has done. It was also obvious that defeat was impossible. The Taliban will soon be history. Al-Qaida will take longer. There will be other mutants to fight.
Afghanistan Buries Another Empire
I picked up that post by Hitchens from The American Conservative article Afghanistan Buries Another Empire by Matt Purple written a few days ago.
It’s easy to forget, but the United States by the end of 2001 thought it had won in Afghanistan. The CIA had undertaken an unofficial policy of war against Osama bin Laden back in 1998, and after 9/11, their agents were able to draw upon that planning to move quickly against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The bombing began in October; Northern Alliance fighters were inside Kabul by mid-November. Osama bin Laden fled, possibly to Tora Bora and eventually to Pakistan. A new age was declared in Central Asia.
Today, we might ask how much longer history is supposed to take. Make a running chronological leap over the invasion of Afghanistan, past Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, above Arab Spring revolutions come and gone, landing and skidding into the present day, and you find the Taliban not only not defeated but in their strongest position in 20 years. The group now claims to control 70 percent of Afghanistan’s territory; a more cautious estimate by an Afghan news service puts it at 52 percent. Taliban fighters have seized highways and supply lines into Kabul. They’ve been inching towards the vital city of Kandahar.
The prospect of a resurgent Taliban has prompted some to argue that America should stop withdrawing troops. Under the peace deal ratified at the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, the remaining 2,500 U.S. forces in Afghanistan are supposed to be out by May 1, though this was also contingent on the Taliban halting their offensive, which hasn’t happened. Still, it’s not like anything else we’ve tried has worked either, starting with Barack Obama’s troop surge in 2009. No amount of boots or dollars or willpower has achieved more than a lull in the violence. Yet we refuse to acknowledge as much.
Why Are We Still There?
Purple gives three reasons, the first being "honor".
But there is no honor in being stupid. That's a lesson we failed to learn from Vietnam.
His second reason is "autopilot".
I recall that message from 7th grade. One of my teachers explained "I do not think we should have gone to Vietnam but we can't leave now."
We Can't Leave Now
That thought was pervasive in 1967.
Nixon campaigned on "Peace with Honor". How many remember that?
I assure you that we left with "no honor". And after we left, North Vietnam overran Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.
The Vietnam War ended April 30, 1975.
Let's not sugarcoat this. The US lost the Vietnam War.
Purple says "The third reason is the least common and also the most delusional: ideology. There remains a small clutch of thinkers who still cling to the old 2001 dream, who really do think that it is America’s vocation to spread liberal democracy around the world."
Not a Small Clutch of Thinkers
It's not a "small clutch of thinkers" it's a vast clutch of warmongers.
They are everywhere you look Left and Right: Hillary, John McCain, Trump, Obama, Bush.
McCain sang "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" to the tune of the song Barbara Ann, first performed by the Regents then the Beach Boys.
New York Times
The New York Times, an otherwise bastion of extreme liberalism published a post John Bolton To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran
Q: Why might Iran want a nuclear bomb?
A: To protect itself from warmongering fools in the US on both sides of the political aisle.
Obama's One Achievement Undone By Trump
Obama's drone policy was an absolute nightmare. His only significant achievement in eight years was a nuclear treaty with Iran.
Our own military said Iran was honoring the terms of the agreement.
Trump insisted he could get a better deal. Bolton, McCain, Trump all thought the way to a better deal with Iran was to threaten to bomb them, a tactic 100% guaranteed to make Iran yearn for its own bomb.
Industrial Military Complex
Purple did not discuss reason #4, the Industrial Military Complex. The weapons industry is forever seeking more weapons and more wars.
It funnels money to candidates who are "strong on defense". But "defense" has nothing to do with it.
The industry now demands perpetual war. Not even 20 years in Afghanistan is enough. The complex wants a new front, in Iran.
Illegal and Immoral War in Iraq
Bush launched an illegal and immoral war on Iraq. It was founded on a lie, just as the Vietnam Was was founded on a lie.
Hillary and McCain were among the big war supporters. They were mostly two peas in a pod. Take away abortion and a policy here or there for political expediency as opposed to genuine beliefs and they belonged on the same ticket.
Declare Victory and Get Out
On December 19, 2012, Foreign Policy discussed “Declare Victory and Get Out”
In 1966, in the middle of the Vietnam War, the late Senator George Aiken of Vermont famously recommended that the United States simply "declare victory and get out." With the benefit of hindsight, that seems like pretty good advice. Today, it is more or less what the Obama administration is trying to do in Afghanistan.
The president has already made it clear that he intends to withdraw virtually all U.S. troops by the end of 2014. But because Americans don’t like to admit defeat and no administration likes to acknowledge mistakes, they have to pretend that their Afghan policy has been a great success. In particular, the administration would like us (and the world) to believe that their decision to escalate the war in 2009 was a game-changer that broke the back of the Taliban and enabled us to build an independent Afghan security force that will carry on the fight after we’ve left. As we head for the exits, therefore, get ready for a lot of upbeat stories and well-orchestrated spin.
I actually thought Trump would get out of Afghanistan. He didn't. Nor did he get out of Syria.
Sorry, cutting troops doesn't count. Even advisors are a no-no. Vietnam started with advisors.
Threatening to bomb Iran is not a negation tactic, it's major idiocy. So are advisors and so is arming Saudi Arabia.
The longer we stay, the more American troops will die. More deaths do not honor the dead.
Given that it is so difficult to declare the war won, the sane thing is to not enter these messes in the first place. Unfortunately, we are still there, 20 years and counting.
The sane course now is the course Bush should have taken, Obama should have taken, Trump should have taken, and Biden should take: "Declare Victory and Get the Hell Out".
Did Trump "Try" to Leave?