When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains
and the women come out to cut up what remains,
jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your God like a soldier…
“The Young British Soldier’” Rudyard Kipling
This excerpt from Kipling’s poem was published in 1890, 129 years ago. The soldiers of many nations have found themselves in that, or a similar, plight in Afghanistan before, and since. We find ourselves—America—having been fighting in Afghanistan for some 20 years, costing us more than 2000 dead, more than 20,000 wounded, and nearly 2000 civilian contractors killed. President Trump is considering removing our troops entirely from that medieval hellhole. Should he? The invaluable Kurt Schlichter comments.
Surprising no one, recent revelations demonstrate that not only is Afghanistan a hopeless wreck but our glorious foreign policy elite has been lying about it for going on two decades. Remember, these people are our betters, our moral superiors, the people we should genuflect to and obey because of their wisdom and insights and credentials. And they are lying garbage people. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous impeachment foolishness, maybe our country could focus on this endless disaster – and one that is still killing our best and our bravest.
Schlichter is referring to the Washington Post’s revelation that we have been lied to for decades about that conflict. One must always take anything the media, particularly the Post, says with a block of salt, but there can be no denying that while we have not lost that war, we have not won, and will not win for reasons practical, ethical and political. By all means that the WaPo link.
Here’s the bottom line. Donald Trump’s instincts were right when he looked at this Seventh Century wasteland and asked (I’m paraphrasing), ‘What the hell are we doing still being here?’
Indeed his instincts are, right and it’s possible he’ll do something about it, if the permanent Deep State foreign policy “experts” like Lt. Col. Vindman allow him to exercise his constitutional powers.
I stand for lancing this festering boil of a war. End it. After nearly 20 years, it’s not worth one more American limb or life.
Were we defeated? Not in any meaningful sense. We just have nothing to gain by fighting it anymore. We came to kill al-Qaeda. We killed heaps of those scumbags. But somehow that mission morphed into making Afghanistan a place that didn’t suck. That’s crazy. It’s always sucked and it always will suck and its suckiness is not our problem.
We didn’t ‘win,’ in the sense that we did not crush all opposition. To say we cannot win in Afghanistan is wrong. Of course we can win. What we cannot do is summon up the will to do what it would take to win. Perhaps we do not want to – and there are plenty of good reasons not to do the hard and horrendous things necessary to pacify that backwater hellhole. But we could, if we wanted to. We have the combat power. What we do not have is the will – and again, maybe we don’t want to have the will to do it. We beat Germany and Japan by, in large part, annihilating their cities. But both were existential threats to our country. Afghanistan, if it provides a refuge for jihadi degenerates again, is a threat, but hardly an existential threat.
We should engage in war only when it’s in our interests. Our interests may include honoring treaties like that with NATO, of course. We should also engage only when the mission is clear, and we know with no equivocation what “winning” that particular war means. When our objectives are achieved, we go home. This is probably the most difficult: we don’t go to war unless we are willing to do what is necessary—whatever is necessary—to win. We use overwhelming force, utterly destroy our enemy, ensure that it will be generations, if not centuries, before they will ever have the will, or the ability, to take us on again, and when we’ve done that, go home. We do not sacrifice the limbs and lives of our soldiers with insane rules of engagement to appease the tender sensibilities of leftist military lawyers, and craven politicians who hate the military and most Americans. If we go to war, we fight to win, which means killing all of our enemies and destroying everything they need to fight against us. War war, not D/S/C social justice war.
And to pacify the countryside means putting aside the counterinsurgency fad that’s led to two decades of treading water in a sea of American blood. Julius Caesar understood how to pacify a country. So did Curtis LeMay. You go in and wipe out your enemies. You kill them in massive quantities until they beg you to surrender. And you destroy their territory, leaving it a wasteland. We did that in World War II, not coincidentally the last war we unequivocally won.
But would we do that here? Do we want to shed that amount of blood? Let’s not dance around it – we don’t want to, as a country. We have no stomach for the kind of meat grinder warfare we used to practice, at least not in this scenario. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe the objective of a pacified Afghanistan is not worth the moral cost of victory. But there’s no need to even think about it because there is not going to be a consensus in our country to do what we would have to do to win. We’re not going for Dresden II: Pashtun Boogaloo. So let’s stop this bloody Groundhog Day of a war, after countless funerals, countless dollars, and countless years.
Absent killing most Afghans, pacification would require innumerable American boots on the ground–forever. It’s time to acknowledge Afghanistan is not worth it. They’ve had two decades and boatloads of American cash, and they still want nothing more than to murder each other and infidels. Surely, there are Afghans that want peace, that want the chance to live in a civilized country, and there are Afghans who deserve that chance, people who have stood with us at great risk, who deserve our gratitude and protection. If we are allowed to properly vet them, to ensure they’re not Islamist sleepers anxious for the chance to murder infidels in America, let’s bring them here. Let’s reward those that have earned a place in America rather than those that feel entitled just because.
The Afghanis have had more than a fair chance to run their own country. They’re have more than a chance to get their act together and bring their benighted country out of the 7thcentury, and they’ve failed, miserably.
‘But,’ warn those who want to stay, ‘if we abandon our allies what message does that send?’ Well, it sends the message that if we prop you up for two decades and you still can’t hack it, yeah, you’re on your own. That is not a bad message to send.
It’s a necessary message to send. If not, what more must we do? How much more American blood and treasure is, ethically and practically, required?
It’s their country. If they want to fight for it, that’s their choice. And if they don’t, that’s also their choice. But after 20 years, it’s not our problem anymore. The fact that we’ve been stupid enough to waste blood and bucks on Afghanistan for two decades – when the reason we came there in the first place was to exact vengeance on terrorists, not remake its entire primitive society – does not somehow morally obligate us to keep doing so forever.
But what about the terrorists? If we leave, they’ll just take over the country again! They’ll use our absence to plan attacks against us! Terrorists can’t plan and train anywhere else in the world? They’re not doing it right now in Iran and elsewhere? If necessary, we can use any one of many weapons to destroy terrorist training camps. We can bomb them, use cruise missiles, drones, even Special Forces teams. We leave with the understanding we reserve the right to obliterate anyone that so much as looks crosswise at us in the future, and we follow through when necessary.
One of American’s failings is to think everyone thinks like us, wants what we want, and wishes others well. Just because foreigners like McDonald’s, wear American fashions and watch American movies does not, for a moment, mean they share our values and wish to emulate us. There is no conflict, in the minds of many foreigners, with having American material wealth, particularly weapons, and using it to kill, in agonizing and barbaric ways, everyone that does not share their barbaric beliefs. For many Afghanis, perhaps most, their very faith requires them to slaughter us, and they’re not going to change their minds. They see our kindness and sacrifice as weakness.
So let us withdraw, having done our best to civilize people who don’t want to be civilized, who see civilization as decadent, weak, and foolish. And let us prepare for the day when they force us to demonstrate what war really means when America fights it to win, and then, let’s minimize our casualties while obliterating them in the most ruthless, briefest time possible
Particularly in light of recent developments in the Middle East, it’s time, President Trump.