Our Dear Leader announced this week that we would not be leaving Afghanistan as planned at the end of 2016. We will continue to have several thousand troops there for the foreseeable future, beyond the end of the Obama administration in January 2017.
Will someone remind me how we got into Afghanistan in the first place?
Oh yes, that’s right: after 11 September, we believed that the Taliban, the Afghan leadership, was harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. So we partnered with the ‘Northern Alliance’ and routed the Taliban. We then fumbled around in the mountains for a few weeks, but never found Osama there.
OK, the Taliban’s out. What did we expect would happen next?
Did we believe the Afghan people were pining for limited republican government like we like to believe we have ourselves? Building that would have been a major, major project that could not have been done on the cheap.
So we installed something resembling a government, not even a very good government, and the Taliban was able to recover as a militant force.
It’s now 14 years later, Osama is dead, and al-Qaeda are now our friends because they’re attacking Syrian President Assad.
What do we expect to achieve with our continued efforts there? For my part, I have no clue.
The USSR went into Afghanistan in 1979 to support an allied government, as an exercise in geopolitical gamesmanship. They left in 1989, having accomplished pretty much nothing. Meanwhile, the USSR itself was much weakened, and fell apart two years later.
Do we believe that we can do better? If so, what?
My mother used to say, ‘Don’t throw good money after bad.’
It may be time to pull the plug.