We have become like the Soviets in Afghanistan: attempting to impose a bizarre, foreign ideology upon an ancient, traditional, alien people. The results have been as disastrous for the US as it was for the USSR. Have we learned our lesson or are we doomed to repeat these mistakes ad nauseam?
BRANDON J. WEICHERT | REAL CLEAR PUBLIC AFFAIRS When the United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, the ruins of … More
It remains to be seen whether or not the West has the temerity to stand up for itself against these lunatics. Thus far, our record has been unimpressive, as evidenced in the way the Islamist ideology has proliferated to Africa and Asia. America’s current strategy is one that will surely lead to defeat. Significant changes must be made — and they will likely be very painful for the conventional thinkers who dominate U.S. foreign policy.
Despite their loathing for Dick Cheney, most of America’s foreign policy elite — regardless of political party — are gripped by the same neurotic fear of the outside world that the former vice president possessed. It is the much-maligned President Donald Trump who is attempting to shake the foreign policy establishment from its anxiety and return U.S. foreign policy to a more rational, responsible, and restrained place. Giving into fear is not what statesmen do. It’s ironic that the brash, non-politician, real estate mogul from New York has a more statesmanlike foreign policy than the professional politicos who have run U.S. foreign policy for decades.
“Trump must have the courage to cut America’s losses now and focus on empowering individual tribes in limited counterterrorism efforts (counterterrorism being the original reason why the United States invaded Afghanistan to begin with). The fight is against al Qaeda and other terrorists. America’s war is not about trying to nation-build in Afghanistan.”
“In effect, the real “Axis of Evil” was none other than Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran. And, it’s not even really an axis. One must also include Turkey, which has done everything in its power to become a rival to the United States and a friend to both Sunni extremists as well as Iran.”
“The Americans and British judiciously used time, geography, and force to their extreme advantage during World War II. In Afghanistan, however, the United States never took the time to analyze the situation from a strategic view. Rather than recognizing how America’s partners, such as Pakistan, could have fully assisted the war effort (had we simply made a deal with the Taliban, Pakistan’s client in Afghanistan) and remained tightly focused on al Qaeda, who knows how differently our history would have turned out?”
“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”
“The next time some hack tries to argue that the War in Afghanistan was the “good war,” just remember Shakespeare’s old line about life being a “Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Much like his jog through the deserts of Iraq, former President Bush’s War in Afghanistan lost sight of the real enemy: jihadist terror networks in favor of an unpalatable regime (in this case, the Taliban).”
“Fear drove American policymakers to abandon practices they deemed as too cumbersome for protecting Americans from terrorists. Their assumption was both right and wrong. I do believe that the CIA’s torture program helped to break otherwise implacable terrorists in time to save some American lives (and give other viable intelligence on terror operations and organization).”