Afghanistan Is Even Worse Than Iraq
If you are determined to not win a war – and are willing to sacrifice America’s human and financial resources in vain — I guess there comes a time you can legitimately argue to unceremoniously retreat. At least it stops the continuing loss of blood and money for no apparent reason.
It is too late to proffer the argument that the United States should never have been in Afghanistan. Although we seemed to have had purpose and resolve at the onset.
In the wake of the 9/11 attack on the United States by al Qaeda terrorists — who were shielded and supported by the Taliban government in Kabul – our purpose was to drive out the Taliban and take down the al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan – to annihilate them or at least take away their base of operation.
Some argue that we succeeded early on and should have left Afghanistan at that point. But we had not really succeeded. That is because the Taliban remained a potent force with ambitions to – and the possibility of – retaking power. That is happening in real time at this moment. It likely means that al Qaeda and even ISIS will again have a safe harbor from which to engage in international terrorism. With the United States and NATO nations being the primary targets.
In retrospect, it is difficult to understand how America could have been engaged in warfare for soooo long without any intent or strategy of actually winning – defeating the Taliban. To some extent, America ceased fighting in Afghanistan several years ago. That was when American forces stayed behind the battle lines to serve as tactical support and advisors. You may not have noticed, but American troops have not been in the line of fire for several years. There have been occasional attacks on American assets, but few and far between.
In some ways, what we have done in Afghanistan mirrors the United States’ failed policy in Iraq.
There was a sense of initial success. You can recall President Bush standing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declaring victory. In a very short time, American forces took Baghdad and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Rather than remain in Iraq to oversee the transition from Hussein to a more stable and more US-friendly government in Baghdad, President Obama pulled out the American military. And what happened? Unfriendly elements took over. ISIS rose like a monster in a horror movie. At one point, they even formed a terrorist caliphate.
While President Trump directed the American military to take down that caliphate, it did not end the anti-American influences in Iraq. To this day, it is arguable that Iran and Russia have more influence in Iraq than does the United States.
In real time, we are seeing that movie again in Afghanistan. As America retreats, the Taliban are spreading their hegemony over more of Afghanistan. At the time of this writing, they are said to be in control of 80 percent of the nation. And they are continuing to expand their dominance.
Some are expressing hope that the current Afghanistan government will at least be able to maintain control of Kabul. In his recent speech defending the unilateral retreat from Afghanistan, Biden claims confidence that the current government will be able to fend off the Taliban. He may be the only person in the world to believe that – and if he does, he is delusional.
We are already seeing the nature of the Taliban.
They have commenced an ISIS-like wave of brutal killings – especially targeting those who assisted the United States. Biden says he is concerned about their welfare, but he had no plan to rescue them – and with 90 percent of American troops out of Afghanistan, it is too late.
This is sadly consistent with American policy when our military is in retreat. We left behind our Hmong allies in Vietnam, abandoned the Kurds on the Turkish border and walk away from the anti-Bashar al Asaad forces in Syria. In each case human catastrophes followed.
It is not only an internal humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. With the Taliban in charge, a new threat of international terrorism will have a launch pad. Thanks to American impotence, the forces of terrorism are again on the rise – and it will not be long before we see the results here at home.
So, there ‘tis.