We stayed in Afghanistan so long, that political cartoonists can spell “Afghanistan” without looking it up. Probably.
A friend of mine is one of those far-left liberals, that in his eyes, liberal Democrats are the same as Republicans. Nothing is ever good enough and even though he’s nearly 60 years old, he’s as immature as an 18-year-old Bernie Bro. He went from claiming that Bernie Sanders was the only one who could beat Trump to the claim Bernie would have beaten Trump by a larger margin than Biden did…and he never predicted Trump would beat Biden. Yeah, he’s also a narcissist who works for Sputnik.
My friend has been consistent in one regard and that is he never supported the war in Afghanistan. He’s been demanding that we leave that nation since we got in. Today, we’re not leaving fast enough.
President Joe Biden has ordered a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. There aren’t that many left as Donald Trump has withdrawn it down to 2,500. Europe has more troops in Afghanistan than we do now, and they’ll be leaving too.
The date to get out has been symbolically marked for September 11, 2021. That’s the date we’ll be gone. The evacuation begins May 1. There is criticism that we’re leaving the nation vulnerable to be taken over by the Taliban again.
While I opposed the invasion of Iraq from the moment the idea was floated, I was in favor of invading Afghanistan. I was in favor of wiping out an enemy who had attacked us. Al Qaida was given sanctuary in that nation and that nation’s government allowed them to use it as a base for terrorism. The attack on our nation on 9/11 was not al Qaida’s first attack on the United States from Afghanistan. We had a responsibility to protect ourselves and that meant taking out the people who attacked us and the people who enabled it.
Afghanistan used to be an example in the newspaper industry for covering more local topics. Editors would explain that readers care more about downtown than Afghanistan. Then airplanes started flying into American buildings and everybody had a major stake in what was going on in Afghanistan.
Most issues are more complex and are not simply black and white. While we need to defend ourselves from terrorists, we need to understand why terrorists hate us. We can’t just go in with guns blazing without asking how we got here. Too many times in our history, going in fighting is all we did.
My Bernie Bro friend said yesterday that anyone who supported the invasion of Afghanistan should never speak again. That’s how he’d like it. But then again, he’s paid by Russia for what he says. While I was in favor of wiping out al Qaida and the Taliban, I was not in favor of a 20-year occupation of Afghanistan. I’m not in favor of nation building.
Our mission was accomplished in Afghanistan. Today, al Qaida is a shell of its former self, Osama bin Laden is dead, and the Taliban is not in power. Will the Taliban be able to come back now that there will no longer be a foreign presence? Maybe, but after 20 years, what else are we to do? The Taliban is like MAGA. Those people are indoctrinated and will never change. They’re too far gone. They justify hate and terrorism with their religion.
I have another friend and his name is Gary. I haven’t spoken to him in years because of time, age, he got married and had a child, people stop going to the places they used to go, etc, etc. But Gary was a military contractor. He may still be, but for a while, he was going back and forth to Afghanistan…and he loved it. He stopped going because his fiancée at the time wanted him to stop. Being a good guy, he did. But what did he love about working in Afghanistan? Mostly, he loved the money. Gary made big money being a military contractor. And that’s why we were there for 20 years. The military industrial complex demanded we stay in Afghanistan for 20 years.
We invaded Afghanistan to protect our nation but the defense industry made us stay. The defense industry got us into Iraq. The defense industry is richer today while we’re still paying off the debt for those two wars. We’ll never get back the lives or limbs lost in those two wars.
The argument for staying is that the Taliban will come back, the current government can’t defend it, it’s not modernized yet, etc. President Biden said, “We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective.” We gave it two decades. Ten years was too long.
President Biden also said, “American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.”
We are supposed to learn from history. We didn’t learn from Vietnam not to stay in indefinite wars. We didn’t learn from the British or Russian history with Afghanistan. We stayed in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Union did. We suck at history.
It’s time to come home.
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