Monday, December 17, 2012

Give up, get out, come home

  • The American Revolutionary War was fought from 1775 to 1783 (eight years).
  • The War of 1812 lasted about two years.
  • The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 (four years).
  • World War One (a.k.a. "The Great War" and "The War to End All Wars") lasted from 1914 to 1918 (also four years).
  • WW2 was fought from 1939 to 1945 (six years).
  • The Korean War was fought from 1950 to 1953 (three years).
  • American troops fought in The Vietnam War from 1965 to 1973 (eight years).
  • The Iraq War (I can call it that) lasted for seven years.
  • The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001. We are now beyond eleven years. 
What's the point? What have we gained? What will we gain? What can we gain?

Does anyone honestly believe that if Western troops stay in Afghanistan for five more years or fifty more years, the Taliban won't still be oppressing, abusing and murdering the Afghan people?

According to today's New York Times, "The United States has spent a decade and $39 billion to recruit, train and equip a 350,000-member Afghan security force, including the army and police, that is supposed to defend the country when the Americans leave. President George W. Bush gave the effort short shrift when he shifted focus to Iraq. But even after President Obama’s considerable investment, the Pentagon says that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently, without air or other military support from the United States and NATO."

Morality is probably on the American side. Time, sadly, is probably on the Taliban side. Some wars just can't be won without bombing the country "back into the Stone Age."

The USA gave up on Vietnam after eight years. The Russians gave up on Afghanistan after nine years. The British gave up on Afghanistan after two years (1839-1841).

I feel extreme sorrow for the good people of Afghanistan, but short of a massive effort to resettle them elsewhere -- especially the vulnerable girls and women -- I see no solution.

It's time to bring American troops home. 

Read the Pentagon report. Among other things, it says, "The insurgency’s safe havens in Pakistan, the limited institutional capacity of the Afghan government, and endemic corruption remain the greatest risks to long-term stability and sustainable security in Afghanistan."  

(photo by Fabrizio Bensch)


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