Jurassic fleas gigantum »« Primary results

Why are we in Afghanistan again?

I understand fully why we went into Afghanistan. We were attacked, the masterminds were in Afghanistan gloating and threatening to kill more people, we had trained to instigate and support an insurgent driven guerilla war for decades using Afghanistan as our primary model, we had a huge standing military that consumes the lion’s share of our budget. We had better be going into Afghanistan after 9-11.

But now bin Laden is dead (What a great time that would have been to leave, huh?) , most of Al Qaeda is gone, the Taliban has been devastated — even if they claw their way back to power in some regions, it will be a long, long time before they forget what happened when they let a crazed religious nutbag come from outside and drag them into a conflict with the US. We Have Won. So why the hell are we still in Afghanistan?

Comments

  1. says

    In a lot of ways ‘we’ (I’m including my Canadian’s troops contribution here as well) have not won anything. There was an invasion, lots of killing Taliban and getting lots of their leaders, but if everyone packs up and leaves tomorrow Afghanistan will pretty much go right back to the oppressive totalitarian state it was before we got there. If the goal was just to inflict revenge against the leaders, then yes…victory. If the goal was to establish a country of peace and uproot a hotbed of terrorist activity, the job isn’t and wont be done any time soon. Sorry.

  2. eoleen says

    “even if they claw their way back to power in some regions, it will be a long, long time before they forget what happened when they let a crazed religious nutbag come from outside and drag them into a conflict with the US. We Have Won. So why the hell are we still in Afghanistan?”

    I think I have the answer to that. It is in two (2) parts.

    Firstly: upon initial entry we went in with the absolute minimum of troops – mostly liason people who provided the link to the anti-Taliban forces and the fire control for bombers. The actual fighting was done by local forces who had been fighting the Taliban for years and had reached a stalemate. What we did with our bombs was to break the stalemate. The Taliban, not being idiots like the Bush administration, rapidly learned that a bomber in the sky was bad news and abruptly left the field.

    We didn’t have forces on the ground to seize and hold terrain once the Taliban had left. We didn’t even have sufficient forces there to go into Tora Bora after ObL. What forces we did have there we promptly withdrew for the runup to Iraq. The kindest thing I can say about the Bush thinking(?) is that they envisioned something like France in WWII, where all was sweetness and light after we chased the Germans out.

    Round One: not a tie, and definitely not a win for us.

    Round Two: Having not won Round One, we dicked around and dicked around and dicked around with minimal forces playing whack-a-mole with the Taliban, who are not a regular, uniformed, army, but more like the militia that chewed up Gentleman Johnny Burgoine on his march south from Canada. Strictly hit-and-run tactics. Small-unit engagements, and retreats to safe territory. Said safe territory being where we weren’t, or the NorthEast Frontier Region of Pakistan. Oh yes, our good buddies the Paki’s were aiding and abetting the Taliban behind our backs.

    We still don’t have enough troops in-theater. Never will, unless we re-institute the draft: what is needed is eyes and rifles on almost every hill-top, with artillery support. As long as people can move around without being checked out… the Taliban will thrive. When we leave they will be back in full force.

    We will never (in a reasonable amount of time) turn Afghanistan into a civilized western-style democracy. The population isn’t ready for it. It would take at least two generations to civilize the buggers, and I’m not that interested in breeding more Muslims.

    We are still there because the powers-that-be can’t see the forest for the trees, and don’t have the guts to pull our forces out.

    If we pulled out, and alQuida reimplanted in Afghanistan, we could hit them with drones or B-52’s or what-ever. Expensive to the local population, of course, but a damn sight cheaper for us. Infantrymen are very expensive.

Leave a Reply