Why Can’t We Leave?

President Obama announced months ago the withdrawal of fighting forces from Afghanistan.

“Say it’s not true” is the cry from the Congressional friends of America’s defense industry.  These economic patriots are not content with just a “residual” training force but instead think we should stay until every last Afghan soldier is deemed war ready.  That means keeping a well equipped fighting force of more than 50,000, AND expending as much ammunition and weapons as possible.  Hmmm.

For sure there are scholars who will worry about the power vacuum that will appear once the US is not a fighting force in Afghanistan.  And like with Iraq today, the US will have little or no influence over the affairs of the Afghan government.  With an irrational Iran and irresponsible Pakistan as neighbors, a credible argument can be easily built on why we should worry.  What is not credible is that we must stay.

Let’s remember

  • Volunteer Military.  The US has an all volunteer military.  That means that the sacrifices that inevitably occur during combat are not shared by all Americans.  For peace time and for short engagements, this may be acceptable.  For a more than 10 year engagement, this is simply unfair.
  • Unfunded War.  Beginning with the Bush Administration, the Afghan, as well as the Iraq, wars were unfunded by Congress.  Their costs were just put on the credit card (national debt).  While this was fiscally irresponsible, it was even more morally irresponsible because it asked nothing from the American people (like higher taxes).  These wars have been living proof of the free lunch.
  • National Interests.  The use of military force is a serious decision.  Committing troops indicates that there is some compelling “national interest” that can be obtained in no other way than with force.  The Afghan War began as a “hot pursuit” of al Qaeda and their Taliban hosts.  This was clearly in America’s national interest.  The military engagement, however, morphed into nation building.  With nation building, the US has stepped deeply into a quagmire where success, if ever achievable, is a century long event.  More important, there is no national interest compelling America to nation build in Afghanistan regardless of how noble it might sound.

So, when we hear Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham whining about Afghanistan and fighting terrorists there and not in the US, ask yourself who are they really representing?  It should be clear that for every terrorists that is killed, there is another to take his/her place.  For every terrorist training area that is closed (like in Afghanistan), another franchise opens (like in Somalia or the Arabian Peninsular).

Why people continue to argue for military presence is unclear.  Certainly campaign support (read financial donations) from military industrial companies is a factor.  Waining political careers and attempts to boost personal relevance is another.

Budget deficits and the lack of any credible national interest seal the deal in my opinion.  It is time to bring all the troops home.

 

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2 Comments on “Why Can’t We Leave?”

  1. FLPatriot Says:

    It saddened me when I heard that this administration is planning on leaving any troops behind after the 2014 withdrawal deadline, considering how forcefully Vice President Biden argued that none would be left there during his Vie Presidential debate.

    This administration, like so many before it, will allow American soldiers to occupy middle eastern countries with no end in sight. I was in Germany with the 1st armored division in 1993 and I can tell you, we had no reason to be there.

    Another example of how little change has come to Washington with Barack Obama.


    • FL, it’s ok to be sad, it might be better to be disgusted… When you were in the service we had the cold war (or just after it ended)… we got into Iraq and stayed in Afghanistan for oil… now we don’t need oil and I am unclear what further lessons we need that fundamental islamists (like the Islamic Brotherhood or al Qaeda) are 15 century thinkers… Unless the Afghans stand up and throw off these backward people, there is no place for the west…

      Thanks for commenting…


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