Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

10 years is long enough, end the war in Afghanistan

Patriots fired the last shot of the American Revolution in 1781, six years after the first shot in 1775. The war officially lasted eight years because it took two years to negotiate a peace treaty.

America’s next war with Britain, the War of 1812, lasted barely two years. We smacked the Mexicans around in a little less than two years. We fought with ourselves for four years in the Civil War. We beat up the Spanish in less than a year. We spent less than two years in Europe helping end World War I and we spent four years saving the world from fascism by defeating the German and Japanese in World War II.

We spent two and half years fighting the North Koreans and Chinese to a stalemate and the North Vietnamese ran us out of South Vietnam in a little more than eight years.

We beat Saddam Hussein the first time in 100 hours and again 13 years later in three weeks, then screwed up the occupation and spent the next seven years working to get out of Iraq.

But here we are 10 years to the day since we invaded Afghanistan and American troops are still fighting and dying for reasons long since made moot. The generals tasked with fighting the war say we’ll be there at least another two years, though President Obama has said he wants to bring the troops home by the end of next year.

No matter which, it’s too long. Bring them home now. End the war.

Afghanistan didn’t attack America on Sept. 11, the radical Islamic fundamentalist terrorists its Taliban overlords harbored there did, so Afghanistan felt the fury of 300 million enraged Americans.

We drove out the Taliban by December but let Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants escape to Pakistan. Most of the Taliban also escaped to Pakistan.

But Pakistan was a supposed ally and had nuclear weapons, so we didn’t invade Pakistan. We instead set about nation building, trying to strengthen the fledgling Afghan government so it could stand up against a Taliban insurgency and prevent the country from falling back into chaos and becoming a safe haven for terrorists again.

Then we embarked on our misadventure in Iraq and forgot about Afghanistan.

The Taliban didn’t. Using bases in Pakistan it regained control of parts of the country and so our new president took troops out of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan even though the real problem was Pakistan. But Pakistan has nukes.

So our troops fight and die in Afghanistan while the Taliban sneak back and forth across the border, all so we can prop up a corrupt Afghan government more inclined to take bribes from drug dealers than fight radical Islam.

More than 1,700 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan and we’ve spent more than $500 billion fighting there. We’ve accomplished our mission. Bin Laden is dead as are most of the other al Qaeda leaders. The Taliban is Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s problem, let them solve it.

Ten years is long enough. Bring the troops home.

End the war in Afghanistan.

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