Winning in Afghanistan
The USA is currently in two overt wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who knows how many covert wars like Pakistan. We’ve seen what it takes to get into a war, but no one knows what it takes to get out, these days.
Wars aren’t what they were 60 years ago when we had well defined enemies or opponents, when the only acceptable reasons for going to war were for self-defense or to defend our allies. . These days the opponents are fluid, such as with Saddam Husein. He was, at one moment our ally helping keep pressure on Iran. The next day, he’s a ruthless villain that we must rid the world of.
One day, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are our greatest wedges getting the Soviet Union out of the middle east, and the next day, well, you know.
Without well defined opponents and well defined borders and without armies and soldiers, it’s really hard to apply the word “War”.
Even harder than applying the word “War”, is applying words like “finish” or “win” or “succeed”. Let’s consider what, exactly, it means to win a war like these. To know if we won we need to know what our purposes were for going to war. If we take Bush and the Republicans at their word, we are in Afghanistan because 1) they invaded us and are a risk (a lie), 2) we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here (sheer foolishness), 3) they’re really really really bad people and we need to kill them, 4) who knows whatever foolishness has been offered?
Looking at #1, they didn’t invade us. Read the 9/11 Commission Report and you will see that Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11. Osama bin Laden may have helped fund it but al Qaeds is not and was not the government of Afghanistan. Still, if we use this as a reason to invade, then we’ve already toppled the government and it’s time for us to get out. Since we’re still in there, it’s obvious that this is not the reason we’re there.
Looking at #2, we’re much stronger and much better off fighting them over here, in our courts. If people see that the criminals are being dealt with fairly we will make fewer enemies. By killing them over there, we are creating a perpetual supply of warriors intent on hurting America. The more we kill, the more there will be to take their place.
#3 is the only real reason we’re there. Well, that and because Bush needed a war in order to be a war president. Yes, there are many small groups of people who hate America. By killing more innocent bystanders, though, we are making more people intent on destroying us.
If you have one country bombing you into submission and another helping you rebuild your country, which one will you despise and which one will you appreciate and defend? The answer is obvious. Killing people over in Afghanistan is not helping, but is hurting our cause.
If this is really why we’re there, then war was not the solution. We need to find a way to change their hatred of us into appreciation. Now is the time to help rebuild their country. Remember how we helped rebuild Japan and much of Europe after WW II? The hatred of America dissolved when we quit killing them and started helping them.
Since it’s obvious that we’re done with the military invasion, the next question has to be, how do we get out of there, now?
We can’t just pack up and leave or all the hatred of America will just expand as they suffer, unaided, from the effects of our invasion. It should be quite obvious that we need to provide enough security to allow for a peaceful transition into self-governance, but no more. We need to help them build a respectable court system so the murderers can be brought to justice.
In conclusion, we’ve already “won” in Afghanistan. Now it’s time for us to fix the mess we created over there.
How about #4? What other excuses have you heard for our being over there killing the Afghan people?