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August 03, 2009

Why are we still in Afghanistan?

That's a fair question and I think it's also fair to say the reasons have evolved since the Horse Soldiers rode toward Kabul with the Northern Alliance almost 8 years ago. That is an exceptional amount of time for us to be in armed conflict in one area, unprecedented actually. So we must have some damn good reasons for doing so. I think it is especially important to lay out the rationale for any continued action in the area as we are about to enter round II of battle with the Cut & Run caucus. The same folks who (quite wrongly) counseled retreat and eventual defeat in Iraq are gearing up for another Vietnamization, this time of the argument about Afghanistan. There is a weak piece in Politico attempting just this:

With the war in Afghanistan in its eighth year, with deaths and
casualties mounting and with no so-called victory in sight, perhaps it is time to recall the words of the late Sen. George Aiken (R-Vt).


Back in 1966, with the country tangled in the war in Vietnam, Aiken suggested that we declare victory and bring our troops home.

There is a segment of the left that is fundamentally mired in the quagmire that is their thinking on any war. They seem to believe that absent a direct threat to the sovereignty and safety of the United States, there is no justification for fighting. I will stick with Von Clausewitz that war is the continuation of policy (diplomacy) by other means. Diplomatic solutions occasionally come about when two entities find a mutually advantageous agreement, but also quite often it is the knowledge that there is an iron fist in that velvet glove which nudges things along. For that threat of force to be useful it must be credible that it would be used and effective if put into play. That was one of the reasons defeat in Iraq was intolerable. It would have destroyed the deterrent factor that American expeditionary power provides. Worse yet it would have emboldened both al Qaeda and Iran.

We entered the fight in Afghanistan with easily understood and justifiable cause. The initial phases of the war went extremely well and constituted one of the most impressive and effective uses of Special Ops in history. We routed the Taliban and swept them from power along with their foreign friends al Qaeda. They died when they stood to fight but those who didn't headed across the border to Pakistan. At this point we could have packed up and headed home. There is a strong argument to be made that once we had removed al Qaeda's safe haven and the government that gave it to them, we were done. Rubble doesn't make trouble, to wax Derbyshirean.

The rest at BLACKFIVE


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posted by Uncle Jimbo at 12:09 PM

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