The Reason Why It Is Time To Finish Off the Afghanistan War

July 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment

Senator’s Tom Udall, Jeff Merkely, and Rand Paul nailed the reasons why we should end the Afghanistan in an op-ed in the New York Times. From the article

“We commend the president for sticking to the July date he had outlined for beginning the withdrawal. However, his plan would not remove all regular combat troops until 2014. We believe the United States is capable of achieving this goal by the end of 2012. America would be more secure and stronger economically if we recognized that we have largely achieved our objectives in Afghanistan and moved aggressively to bring our troops and tax dollars home.

After Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, we rightly sought to bring to justice those who attacked us, to eliminate Al Qaeda’s safe havens and training camps in Afghanistan, and to remove the terrorist-allied Taliban government. With hard work and sacrifice, our troops, intelligence personnel and diplomatic corps have skillfully achieved these objectives, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden.

But over the past 10 years, our mission expanded to include a fourth goal: nation-building. That is what we are bogged down in now: a prolonged effort to create a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with. Let’s not forget that Afghanistan has been a tribal society for millenniums.

Nineteen months ago the president announced the surge strategy in hopes of stabilizing Afghanistan and strengthening its military and police forces. Today, despite vast investment in training and equipping Afghan forces, the country’s deep-seated instability, rampant corruption and, in some cases, compromised loyalties endure. Extending our commitment of combat troops will not remedy that situation.

Sometimes our national security warrants extreme sacrifices, and our troops are prepared to make them when asked. In this case, however, there is little reason to believe that the continuing commitment of tens of thousands of troops on a sprawling nation-building mission in Afghanistan will make America safer.

National security experts, including the former C.I.A. director Leon E. Panetta, have noted that Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan has been greatly diminished. Today there are probably fewer than 100 low-level Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has a much larger presence in a number of other nations.

Our focus shouldn’t be establishing new institutions in Afghanistan, but concentrating on terrorist organizations with global reach. And our military and intelligence organizations have proved repeatedly that they can take the fight to the terrorists without a huge military footprint.”

They exactly nailed the reason why we should go home. The United States cannot engage in nation-building in Afghanistan which is a messy collective of loosely-knit ethnic groups The United States does not have the resources or expertise to deal with the countries corruption or ethnic instability. Despite all of the money that we have spent in Afghanistan, the country has not develop any new industries that are self-sustaining outside of opium. Our investments there will not produce future success in Afghanistan because once we leave, the country is rapidly disintegrate into a quillwork of ethnic conclaves.

Will civil war return? Civil war might not happen, but you will not get a unified Afghanistan because Afghanistan does not have any real national identity. People in Afghanistan identify themselves by their ethnic identity and not by national identity. Pashtuns identify as Pashtuns and do not identify themselves as the people in Afghanistan.

The real problem is Afghanistan is a lack of ethnic cohesion. We cannot engage in nation-building in a state that lacks ethnic cohension and lacks the willpower to forge cross-ethnic alliances and institutions. Therefore, the simple solution is withdraw and the let the people of Afghanistan solve their problem on their own. Only they can create the cross-ethnic alliances and insitutions that will form into a united Afghanistan.


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