Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. It was for the British and the Soviets, and it will be for the United States. Before being elected, candidate Donald Trump said: “Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home,” and “We should leave Afghanistan immediately.” He was an otherwise unappealing candidate, but many voted for him because of his stated intent to end our involvement in Afghanistan. Maybe it was just this one message that made the difference in his election.
This week we learned that, since he was dealt a “bad and very complex hand,” the president has decided to double down in Afghanistan and deploy more troops, rather than walk away as he promised as a candidate. Perhaps President Trump’s lack of core principles and the persuasiveness of career military bureaucrats yields this result.
Afghanistan is about the size of Montana and Wyoming combined, with some similarities in terrain and climate. We lack the political will and perhaps even the military ability to defeat the Afghan insurgency. Success is boots on the ground labor intensive, and incremental increases of those boots on the ground and more pressure on Pakistan are not going to make a difference. It just delays the inevitable. Imagine 10,000 French troops deployed to Montana and Wyoming to quell a separatist rebellion. How will that work out?
The fighting in Afghanistan is being done by young soldiers and Marines who just a few years ago graduated from our high schools. Let’s bring them home.
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Jim DeLong, Port Matilda