Afghanistan: Where should we go from here?
For the purposes of this discussion, forget the personalities involved. Forget how we got here. Forget who is to blame. Here we are, today, Friday, May 20, 2017, still deeply involved in Afghanistan. It is what it is. What should our strategy be going forward? Should we… remain engaged? Bolt now and fast? Something in between?
Personally, I believe it is time for us to get out. Completely.
This is a relatively new opinion for me. I have always thought that nobody wins in Afghanistan, but at the same time we had to go in after 9/11. We did, for the most part and as much as possible, achieve our objective of addressing Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s terrorism. There’s not much more we can do in that regard.
I’ve never been a fan of “nation building”. If the country is open, sure, but it’s naive… if not downright arrogant… to think we can foist western-style democracy on cultures that have no interest. Especially in a place such as Afghanistan. Their culture is wholly different from ours. They have no interest in democracy. To their minds we are intruding in their day-to-day lives and they now just want to be left alone. Some thoughts why we should leave (in no particular order)…
- Roughly half of the police and troops we train… defect. Taking with them the training and weapons we supply.
- It’s not in their culture. They have no experience with western-style government, hence it doesn’t occur to them to fight for it.
- We “abandoned” Vietnam in much the same way I am advocating now, and it worked out just fine. Today Vietnam is a relatively thriving country without our direct nation building.
- We simply do not have the intestinal fortitude… the guts… to do what it takes to win.
- We cannot “win the heats and minds” of people we don’t understand and who do not understand us.
- Some will say that I am too unemotional, and/or do not appreciate that we have upended their lives, but you cannot save people who do not want to be saved.
If it were me, I’d make a deal with the opposition: Leave us alone and we’ll be out within a year. Then I’d truly leave them alone and let them rebuild their own country to their own standards.