By Craig Hastings
Is it a mistake for the U.S. military to leave Afghanistan now? I don’t think so and if you believe in national polls, neither does the majority of the American people. I think our own military branches by a majority would like to stay the course because America has sacrificed so much in the last twenty years. But, the majority of Americans want out. They see no end in sight which can only mean more young Americans dead or wounded. So I agree with President Biden now just as did with President Trump in 2016. President Trump actually got the ball rolling while he was in office. President Biden has been handed down a no win scenario by three former presidents. He had also campaigned on a promise to remove America from the Afghan conflict. Some say this is a betrayal of the Afghan people. How? If after twenty years of Americans fighting their enemies, spending two trillion dollars, spending countless hours of training with the Afghan army, and most importantly, losing thousands of American lives, how can they feel betrayed? Enough is enough. Only a minority of the Afghan population really want the American military in their country. This has been yet another war America jumped in with no clear resolve. President George Bush started our involvement in response to the 911 attack. He was determined to never again give terrorists a chance to attack Americans on American soil. The American people were angry and wanted to see revenge on those responsible.
Rightfully so. I think at the moment President Bush’s Chiefs of Staff convinced him that going in and destroying everything and everybody related to a terrorist threat was the only retaliation. Americans would go in quickly, accomplish the mission, leave a big “Don’t Tread on Me” stamp for all the world to see, and return home. It didn’t happen. The Taliban army’s ability to endure was well underestimated by the American military command. The strongest asset is their ability to wait. Pick away at small numbers of American soldiers until the American people grew tired and angry at seeing young Americans die or return home with horrible permanent injuries. Their plan is a success just as it was for the North Vietnamese in VietNam. Same strategy, same outcome. And now we watch Kabul falling and falling quickly just like we watched Saigon fall requiring immediate American evacuation from the city. The result of twenty years of fighting; two trillion dollars spent, countless lives lost both American and Afghan civilians, and the Taliban are as strong and aggressive as ever.
The mission was to prevent a terrorist attack on American soil from happening again. It hasn’t so far but, has the cost been worth it? Are the dead and wounded American soldiers worth the effort? How far would have two trillion dollars gone to help those in need right here in America? America can’t save the world. President Biden, I for one wish for you to see this through and get America out of this debacle. It’s easy for retired, semi-retired, and should be retired, American generals to sit in Washington surrounded by all the comforts available and criticize the President for his actions. Suit up, deploy, and fight in the fight, get shot at, dehydrate from the heat, and then tell me it’s all worth the effort. You won’t. It’s time to concede that there is no more ground to gain here. Let’s regroup and learn from the mistakes made. Execute a plan to make a difference in Afghanistan by striking the Taliban when they least expect it with air and communications attacks. Remind them that America is still watching and waiting.
Some argue it’s a humanitarian effort also to help the Afghan people. Really? Then why not strike China and or North Korea? What about some of the horrific humanitarian stories we hear happening in parts of Africa? We won’t because there would be no clear victor and tens of thousands of clear losers and the world would be in a worse place than it is now. Wars can no longer be fought with boots on the ground. Cyber attacks and air to ground missile attacks are the future of warfare. We’re already seeing cyber attacks coming at us from Russia and China. But here we sit making empty threats of retaliation. God help the future generations and may God continue to bless our American military personnel.
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)