Blogs » Politcs Plus » Why are we still in Afghanistan?


Tom Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, wrote an interesting article, asking the questions we should be asking our leaders, without fear of being called an arm chair general, unpatriotic, or not wanting to win. How is the recent Afghan escalation really in our best interests? How many Allies do we have to achieve victory?

According Mr. Freeman president Obama never had any good answers to the two questions. It seems no one in the Obama White House wanted an Afghan surge but they didn't have an alternative plan or the courage to just say no. I agree with Mr. Friedman, that's no reason to send our country deeper into war. Afraid of being called weak by the political opposition is not a strategy.

The famed author wanted to know why we're training the Afghan army. He said the Afghan males do not need to learn how to fight, because they have been mired in the civil war for 30 years. This is their country, where sticks, stones and perseverance should be enough in holding back the Taliban. The Taliban has taken a fight to the world's greatest army, although many of the commanders cannot read or write. The surge in Iraq worked because of the “Anbar Awakening" where the Sunni decided to change sides and help us drive Al Qaeda out of Iraq. The Afghans we're training do not have that same fortitude and gumption. Mr. Friedman pointed out that the Camp David peace treaty started with the Israelis and Egyptians, meeting in secret-without us. The Oslo peace process started with Israelis and Palestinians-without us. The Sunni tribal awakening came without any prodding from us. The Afghan forces have to be more like their predecessors, the Northern Alliance. We cannot want this for them.

On the political side, the republicans do not like the time line because they think winning should be the goal, but they don't give any detail as to what constitutes winning, or at what cost. Although the majority party since 2007, the democrats don't have enough votes to cut off the funding or at the very least, use it as leverage. The McCrystal resignation may have put Afghanistan back in the limelight and since General Petraeus still has to be confirmed; it would be an opportune time for some tough questions. I believe everyone knows the standard answer of “We are there to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a training ground for future terrorist, again." That's a good answer but it is well known that they can easily train in Northern Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and the list goes on. Thousands of young Muslims from Bridgeport, Connecticut to London, England, log on each day to get their marching orders, so this war has many battlefronts.

Mr. Friedman closed by saying “if we don’t any get answers to those important questions, we will continue to be where we don't want to be. Our only choices will be, lose early, lose late, lose big or lose small."

I think we should try and make some sort of deal with the Taliban, bring in the surrounding countries to do their part because the Canadians, Brits, and the other countries that make up our coalition are not going to commit to 10-15 years of occupation. They are pulling out pretty soon and so should we.