Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Silver lining

Probably the only silver lining to our current period of post-election turmoil is this may be our only real chance to end some of our various forever wars.

I mean, what is our objective in Afghanistan? When we first invaded that country (19 years ago!) it was to capture or kill Bin Laden and the other members of al Qaeda who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. As a secondary matter, it was to topple the Taliban, but only because they were sheltering al Qaeda. All of those objectives have arguably been accomplished (or at least don't apply anymore). So why are we still fighting in Afghanistan?

If we can't articulate a clear reason to have a war we shouldn't have that war. I realize the foreign policy establishment is really wedded to these wars and are horrified at the prospect of an American withdrawal But they never bother to make a compelling case for a continued American war in Afghanistan.

I'm not just talking about bad stuff that will happen if the U.S. leaves. Bad stuff is also happening because the U.S. is still fighting there. Fighting a war is itself really bad stuff. Is any defender of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan acknowledging the bad stuff that comes from this continued war and making the case that it is justified? I haven't seen anyone do that in more than a decade.