Why I think we should get out of Afghanistan

I was in favor of the Iraq invasion in 2003 and, although the post-war period was botched, I think the Surge has made it a modest success. Iraq was always a better bet than Afghanistan because it is a rich country and had a modest middle class already. In fact, I think Iraq has a good chance to become the most successful Arab state. On the other hand, I think Afghanistan is a very risky situation.

During Afghanistan’s golden age which consisted of the last king’s rule, the country consisted of a small civilized center in Kabul while the rest of the country existed much as it did in the time of Alexander the Great. I have reviewed Kilcullen’s Accidental Guerilla, which explains much of the Afghan war. He is not optimistic about it and neither am I. Aside from the fact that Obama is a reluctant, very reluctant, warrior here, Pakistan is a serious obstacle to success.

Today, Andy McCarthy calls our attention to an explosive editorial in Investors’ Business Daily on the links between the Taliban and Pakistan’s army and intelligence services.

it’s an open secret the Taliban are headquartered across the border in the city of Quetta, Pakistan, where they operate openly under the aegis of Pakistani intelligence — and the financial sponsorship of the Saudis.

Sending more troops to Afghanistan is a necessary, albeit unfortunate, rear-guard action against marauding Taliban fighters armed, trained, supplied and deployed from Quetta — and funded from Riyadh.

NATO and U.S. military command know this. They’ve complained about it over and over in military action reports. So have Treasury officials regarding Saudi funding of the Taliban.

“Saudi Arabia today remains the location where more money is going to terrorism — to Sunni terror groups and the Taliban — than any other place in the world,” testified Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary.

This is Viet Nam all over again. The enemy has a sanctuary and our allies are siding secretly with our enemies.

Here’s how the game works. The Pakistanis are currently engaged in a much heralded crackdown on jihadists. But they are limiting those operations to the jihadists in the northwest tribal region — i.e., those whose primary target is the Pakistani government. By contrast, the Taliban — i.e., the jihadists targeting the U.S. and Afghanistan — are holed up in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, under the protection of the ISI. In fact, there are now reports that Mullah Omar has been moved to Karachi to protect him from U.S. drone attacks.

Pakistan is playing a double game. Secondly, our troops are handicapped by absurd rules of engagement.

The Times compiled an informal list of the new rules from interviews with U.S. forces. Among them:

• No night or surprise searches.

• Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

• ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.

• U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

• U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

This is ridiculous. Pakistan is protecting the enemy and our troops are restricted to idiotic limits, such as warning hostile villages before attacks. We should leave.

Then, if things deteriorate, Pakistan may become the target instead of Afghanistan.

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4 Responses to “Why I think we should get out of Afghanistan”

  1. Glad you’ve “joined the club,” Doc!

    While the Vietnam analogy is a loose one to say the least (no way we’ll be losing hundreds of dead, wounded and MIA week after week; in 1968 alone 16,592 Americans WERE KILLED during the fighting in Vietnam), the point is that we should be withdrawing forces from Afghanistan rather than “surging.”

    We’re not going to “win” in Afghanistan. We’re just going to bleed. (Well… our troops will bleed – and die. You and I? Folks like us will unwillingly fund the waste and carnage.)

    Mike… for guys like me and you… life is a slow motion car crash. We see what’s happening… but we can’t prevent it.


  2. I think there could be a role for a Special Forces advisory force, much like the 2001-2002 period when the original Taliban were routed. The Big Army then arrived and the logistic tail of our forces there is about 80% of the total bodies. VietNam was much the same. I wasn’t there having already done my service but the people who were said that no more than 15% of the total forces were in combat at any one time. We also had a conscript army at the time which will always have higher casualties. On the other hand, we now have a very small, very skilled professional military and can afford few casualties with this small force. I see no justification for wasting it with another stalemate like VN.

  3. “I think there could be a role for a Special Forces advisory force…”

    Yes, yes, of course… but we’re not talking what WE would do – we’re talking what these morons in Washington are doing.


    As for tooth to tail ratios… they’re a given when you’re talking major force deployments – even today; perhaps more so today in the sense that much of the “tail” is made up of civilian contractors.


    Bottom line, you and I are right, Obama is wrong, but he’s the President and Congress AIN’T gonna override him.


  4. When the Big Army arrived in Kabul in 2002, the first thing they did was order the Special Forces guys who had defeated the Taliban to “shave and get into uniform.” They are like the Bourbons who never learned anything and never forgot anything. It is amazing that someone like Petraeus ever made general.