Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause?

This post was viewed 16,049 times.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars Votes: 4.73 Stars!
Share Pat's Columns!

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“We are there and we are committed” was the regular retort of Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the war in Vietnam.

Whatever you may think of our decision to go in, Rusk was saying, if we walk away, the United States loses the first war in its history, with all that means for Southeast Asia and America’s position in the world.

We face a similar moment of decision.

Wednesday, a truck bomb exploded near the diplomatic quarter of Kabul, killing 90 and wounding 460. So terrible was the atrocity that the Taliban denied complicity. It is believed to have been the work of the Haqqani network.

This “horrific and shameful attack demonstrates these terrorists’ compete disregard for human life and their nihilistic opposition to the dream of a peaceful future for Afghanistan,” said Hugo Llordens, a U.S. diplomat in Kabul.

The message the truck bombers sent to the Afghan people? Not even in the heart of this capital can your government keep civilian workers and its own employees safe.

Message to America: After investing hundreds of billions and 2,000 U.S. lives in the 15 years since 9/11, we are further from victory than we have ever been.

President Obama, believing Afghanistan was the right war, and Iraq the wrong war, ramped up the U.S. presence in 2011 to 100,000 troops. His plan: Cripple the Taliban, train the Afghan army and security forces, stabilize the government, and withdraw American forces by the end of his second term.

Obama fell short, leaving President Trump with 8,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and Kabul’s control more tenuous than ever. The Taliban hold more territory and are active in more provinces than they have been since being driven from power in 2001. And Afghan forces are suffering casualties at the highest rate of the war.

Stated starkly, the war in Afghanistan is slowly being lost.

Have something to say about this column?
Visit Pat's FaceBook page and post your comments….

Indeed, Trump has inherited what seems to be an unwinnable war, if he is not prepared to send a new U.S. army to block the Taliban from taking power. And it is hard to believe that the American people would approve of any large reintroduction of U.S. forces.

The U.S. commander there, Gen. John Nicholson, has requested at least 3,000 more U.S. troops to train the Afghan army and stabilize the country while seeking a negotiated end to the war.

Trump’s conundrum: 3,000 or 5,000 more U.S. troops can at best help the Afghan security forces sustain the present stalemate.

But if we could not defeat the Taliban with 100,000 U.S. troops in country in 2011, we are not going to defeat a stronger Taliban with a U.S. force one-seventh of that size. And if a guerrilla army does not lose, it wins.

Yet it is hard to see how Trump can refuse to send more troops. If he says we have invested enough blood and treasure, the handwriting will be on the wall. Reports that both Russia and Iran are already talking to the Taliban suggest that they see a Taliban takeover as inevitable.

Should Trump announce any timetable for withdrawal, it would send shock waves through the Afghan government, army and society.

Any awareness that their great superpower ally was departing, now or soon, or refusing to invest more after 15 years, would be a psychological blow from which President Ashraf Ghani’s government might not recover.

What would a Taliban victory mean?

The Afghan people, especially those who cast their lot with us, could undergo something like what befell the South Vietnamese and Cambodians in 1975. It would be a defeat for us almost as far-reaching as was the defeat for the Soviet Union, when the Red Army was forced to pull out after a decade of war in the 1980s.

For the USSR, that Afghan defeat proved a near-fatal blow.

And if we pulled up stakes and departed, the exodus from Afghanistan would be huge and we would face a moral crisis of how many refugees we would accept, and how many we would leave behind to their fate.

Fifteen years ago, some of us argued that an attempt to remake Afghanistan and Iraq in our image was utopian folly, almost certain, given the history and culture of the entire region, to fail.

Yet we plunged in.

In 2001, it was Afghanistan. In 2003, we invaded and occupied Iraq. Then we attacked Libya and ousted Gadhafi. Then we intervened in Syria. Then we backed the Saudi war to crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Given the trillions sunk and lost, and the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, dead, how have we benefited ourselves, or these peoples?

As Rusk said, “We are there and we are committed.”

And the inevitable departure of the United States from the Middle East, which is coming, just as the British, French and Soviet empires had to depart, will likely do lasting damage to the American soul.

Do You Appreciate Reading Our Emails and Website?
Let us know how we are doing – Send us a Thank You Via Paypal!

Share Pat's Columns!
Kevin L. Barrett, Carlos Sam, Reece Matthew, Patricia Canon, Robby Rieger, JJ Roman, Gölök Zoltán Buday, Kevin Miller, Doug Atkins, Ulf Hammar, Stevie Corleone, Ken Guthrie, John Reiner, Ian Goddard, Jean-Marie Mario Berg, Robert Christian, Tommy Montgomery, Richard Donovan, Joe Brooks, Robert Michaels, Sergio Villalta, Stuart Lyons, Enrique Vargas, Mitsuo Nakai, Jerry Adams, Marc Elrod, William Jaehnig, Steven Cole, Miguel Schroth, Miller Stephens, Duane Wood, Michael Luther, Charles Parker, Mary Marty, Bill Booth, Eugene Girin, Carolyn Hoyt, Antonio Freire, Alex Milojkovic, Brian O'Leary, Wm Eric Thomas, Laszlo Veres, Daniel O' Connell, William Guess, Jessica Carstens, Charles Thompson, David Buchanan, Marc Robinson, Melora Nelson, Nik Pejovic, Demetrius Demopoulos, Dwain Cox, Paul Blackwood, Elaine Callahan, John Butler, Erik O'Dalaigh, Steven Charles, Tammy Tapley, Rich DiTeodoro, Lance Knorr, Nancy Warren, Bill Haft Jr., Matthew McCoy, Jessica Frey, Roger Duncan, Jerzy Kalita, Earl Nagle, Stephen Woodfin Bauer, Doug Niebergall, Dexter Greene, Chris Eddy, Mark O'Keefe, Eddie Torralva, Bob Bembridge, Robb Redden, Helen Prusak, Valerie McEntee, JD Curtis, Quenton Cox, Mary Ann Settle, Guilherme Carinha, Alex Carros, Jim Bray, Steve Cunningham, K Morgan Lindau, Dennis Cravero, Bernie Minor, Philipp Mueller, John Kuris, Sarah Kostovic, Frank Carlozzi, Ken Schneider, Allen Black, Dean Clark, Jim Lyons, Matthew Cooper, Jacques Saisselin, Max W. Harrington, Luis Ortiz, Harry Kirkwood, Jo Verb, John DiFiore, Josip Moger, Robert Stewart, Luis Obispo, Rebecca Olsen, Brett Bandy, Matt Wills, Juan Bronce, Charlie Cipriano, Sean M. Wilson, James Edmund Thomas Snow, Bill Pieper, Phillip Lovelady, Ron Will, Mike Widney, Benny Harris, Brian J Bagi, Joseph Franciscone, Barry Willis, Mike Goodman, Wingate Barraclough, Ryan Cleveland, Matt Bowden, Kevin Lawrence, Steve Sipos, Tom Pfaeffle, Mark Medzorian, Herb Shaw, Howard Beaudet, Matthew Bommarito, Wahya Highsmith, Chris Sotomayor, Lynn Richardson Baker, Bill Griffin, Tom Piatak, Jimmy Smythe, John Dina DC, Dennis Schiely liked this post