Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Leave Afghanistan now

President Obama in his speech in Phoenix last week before the VFW annual conference said the conflict in Afghanistan was “fundamental” to U.S. security.

He said that by fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, American soldiers were protecting “Americans here at home.”

Neither statement is true.

Obama campaigned on Iraq being the “bad” war and Afghanistan the “good” war. Since taking office he has taken steps to reduce the U.S. military presence in Iraq and increase it in Afghanistan.

He’s right on the first and wrong on the second.

Iraq was a colossal intelligence, strategic and diplomatic failure. That no American was impeached or prosecuted for what journalist Tom Ricks aptly described in his book as a fiasco is an outrage.

Obama is now committing the same errors the Bush administration committed. He has no real plan for Afghanistan other than loose affirmations that we intend to “stabilize” the Afghani government and “rebuild” the country and that we are to “defeat” the Taliban.

Didn’t we do that already?

This is Vietnam-Iraq mission creep all over again.

The Taliban have no ICBMs, no nuclear bombs, no chemical or biological weapons, no aircraft carriers, no fighters, no bombers, no tanks, no armored personnel carriers, no military infrastructure of any kind capable of killing any American not in Afghanistan.

How is it they’re a threat to our security and freedom?

To argue that they might acquire those militaristic accoutrement and therefore may someday be a threat to our security and freedom is the same fallacious reasoning that put Bush and crew into the fiasco soup in Iraq. Afghan warlords are far more concerned with running their fiefdoms and killing other warlords than they are the Great Satan America. The terrorists who attacked us were Saudi Arabians recruited and trained by Saudi Arabians hiding out in Afghanistan.

Our conflict is with the Saudi Arabian Muslim extremists. They’re the ones we need to kill, not the mud-hut dwelling Afghanis.

If the argument is that if we don’t repair and stabilize the country it will become a failed state again that fosters terrorism, well, when or if that happens, we’ll have to kill us some terrorists and Taliban again. It will be cheaper to go back and blow the country up every decade or so than to stay there and try to create something the people don’t want. In the meantime, we need to be vigilant against terrorism and take steps to protect ourselves from terror attacks (like protecting the ports, which we’ve yet to do some eight years post 9/11.). That will be a much more effective military strategy and a lot cheaper than the dark hole we’re falling into now.


Besides, there are failed states fostering terrorism all across the globe. Are we to invade, stabilize and rebuild every one of them? Plus, we have more to fear from our supposed allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia than we do Afghanistan. Who do you think gave North Korea the technology and instruction to build a nuclear bomb? Pakistan. Who do you think funds worldwide terrorism? Saudi Arabia (using our oil money and Europe’s. How’s that for sad irony).

The idea that we can rebuild and stabilize Afghanistan is a fantasy.

USA Today columnist Ralph Peters last week had an excellent column explaining that Afghanistan as a nation state can be found more in the eyes of wishful-thinking Americans than in the eyes of Afghanis. They’re more beholden to their tribal and village leaders than any idea of a Kabul-led government. Plus, Hamid Karzai, who appears to have won re-election (or is at least headed to a runoff), oversees a government more akin to a corrupt narco-regime than any benevolent democracy.

This is who we’re spending billions to defend? Heroin dealers?

Mr. President, if you want to go to war, go to war. Call up the reserves, reinstate the draft, convert the nation’s industry to war materials production, put a million or more men and women into Afghanistan (and western Pakistan, perhaps), kill all the Taliban, wipe out the poppy fields, build roads and bridges and schools and police stations, find and kill bin Laden, declare victory and leave.

It will cost just as much as what you’re doing now but only take a year rather than the multi-year, no-real-definable-goals effort that you’ve committed us to. You’d be using the Powell Doctrine rather than defying it like you are now.

If you’re not willing to do that, then get the hell out of there and leave Afghanistan to the Afghanis.

Search site | Terms of service