Battleland

Why It’s Time to Leave

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ISAF

Afghan policemen in training in Helmand province.

One of the three Marine special operations personnel killed in Helmand Province by an Afghan police commander on August 9th was a friend of a close friend of mine.

“I don’t even know what to think about this,” was his gut reaction to the news. “Too much raw anger and frustration right now.”

I think anger at the rogue Afghans and frustration as to why we are embroiled in such a futile conflict has many Americans scratching their heads and asking themselves why we’re still in Afghanistan. There have been at least 25 such “green on blue” shootings like this one since January, killing 31 U.S. and allied troops.

Nearly 11 years after we went into Afghanistan, it’s time we called a spade a spade, admit that we are fighting an endless and unwinnable war, and bring our sons and daughters back home.

With a broad and nebulous mission, a resilient and cunning enemy, restrictive rules of engagement, and an Afghan army and police force with dissidents turning their weapons on our troops, we face impossible odds. Combine this with the fact that we have broadcast our intent to leave the country in 2014, and the bottom line is clear: we have no chance of “winning” this war.

Our best option, at this juncture, is to bring our brave men and women home as safely and expeditiously as possible.

Our warriors have done everything asked of them, and more. They have deployed into harm’s way time and time again, leaving behind their brave and resolute families to struggle on in their absence. Many soldiers and Marines, particularly those in special operations and intelligence units with high operational tempos, have spent more time overseas in the last several years than they have back home. Their children have grown up without them, their husbands and wives have lived under constant uncertainty and fear, and their minds and bodies have endured more hardship than anyone deserves to bear.

How much sense does it make to delay our inevitable withdrawal until 2014?

The very forces we are attempting to train have killed dozens of our comrades, making our working relationship with the Afghan police and army one of acute contention and pervasive distrust. We can no longer trust the very forces we intend to train and empower to run the country when we leave. Whether the men that killed our troops were disgruntled local Afghans with a grudge against Americans or hard-core insurgents that infiltrated our ranks, the outcome is the same nonetheless. It is demoralizing to our forces. It makes us ask: “What are we still doing there?”

And if we can’t trust our Afghan counterparts, and must instead rely on “Guardian Angels” (i.e. armed Americans) to keep watch over any and all armed Afghans, why do we assume that these same Afghans should be entrusted to serve and protect after our departure?

There is no graceful way to bow out of this decade-long conflict.

We can do nothing and pull out our combat forces by 2015 as now planned. Or we can take a hard look at what’s happening and decide whether the cost in lives is worth the extra two years of anguish we’re sure to encounter if we stay in Afghanistan through 2014. Doing nothing and leaving our troops there is probably the “safest” political move, but this is a decision that calls for moral fortitude and leadership, not politics.

I think our country’s leadership would be well served to remember the Dalai Lama’s insistence that “in dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel `burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself; the point is to have a long-term perspective.”

I’d say we’re demoralized and exhausted. When it comes to Afghanistan, perhaps it’s time to leave.

66 comments
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Patrick Shrier
Patrick Shrier

The number one problem in Afghanistan is the American leadership which saddles our troops with the restrictive ROE that gets them killed and simultaneously kowtows to the corrupt regime we put into power because their is nothing else better.  Every time I think of Afghanistan I think of the old joke about how to win in Vietnam and realize it applies equally to the current war.

Kevin Earl Ray
Kevin Earl Ray

Typical arm chair war mongering republican with less brain than a mule! Instead of Trick James try Prick James, And keep your glass to yourself!

That is exactly what we don't need.

Kevin Earl Ray
Kevin Earl Ray

I am sorry but I doubt Bin Laden or the Taliban had a thing to do with 9/11!

Americans are so gullible and I am getting to the point of not being very proud to be an American. I know what you are going to say, Than get out if your not happy!

Well I have a different plan, You get out if you believe in this madness that has been put into place and head out to war that you love so much and this country will be a lot better off without all you !

The people who claim they are patriots still haven't noticed our country is crumbling due to ill effects of our government brainwashing people into the belief that terrorist are attacking at all angles yet they haven't even sealed off our southern boarder with some of the most dangerous people on the face of this planet!

Go ahead leave if you want more wars for your children and grandchildren to fight!

One day common sense will prevail but as of yet I have seen very little !

arvay
arvay

Time and again, talented and brave Americans have been sent to other nations, armed with the world's most advanced weaponry and the conviction that they are ging there to spread democracy -- and that the locals will welcome them as liberators.

Time and again, this has been shown to be a monstrous, criminal lie. Our people, many of them, come home with their lives ruined by wounds both physical and psychological. And for sure, the national leadership will do what it always does -- screw them out of their promised help. The current unavailability of post-combat counseling services and high suicide rate proves that's happening already. 

During WWI, the soldiers sent into THAT criminal blunder unfortunately didn't do what was in their best interests --  throw down their weapons and go home.

When will our men and women realize that they are being played for suckers? They are dying now because our president lacks the courage to appear weak on "defense." And that the Republicans will take advantage of any moves to stop wasting lives?

Time  to walk away. 

Unemployment is a far better fate than the lure of an education or a temporary job in some faraway place -- at least you know you'll keep your arms, legs and other body-parts. And you and your friends won't die or be mangled to give a politician "wiggle room."

The time for volunteers is over. 

Let the Congress re-institute the draft -- if it dares. That would be a free weapons training course for increasingly screwed and angry young Americans.

MarkR307
MarkR307

it was a mistake to stay in Afghanistan for so long!  We should have left  within the first few months, as soon as the Al Qaeda training bases were cleared out.  Trying to make the country into something they don't want to be, is a pointless wish; and killing bin Laden was not worth 5 thousand of our soldier's lives.  The sooner we get out, the sooner we correct our mistake.

spwright1
spwright1

Sun 8/26/12  Thank You for Your Reply to my comments. I was beginning to think that I was talking to a Wall of Apathy.

My 2 Cents about Syria :   Where are the fellow Arabs ? Where are the fellow Muslims ?

Are they too busy building luxury resorts to concern themselves with their very own People being Slaughtered by the 1000's in Syria ? ?

Now Iran is a entirely different situation. That could turn into a S_ _ _ Storm of Trouble

amp; another World War cept this Time with NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

Yes Iran is that Dangerous.

Lots of Dangerous "Saber Rattling" going on. One little mistake amp; You have a full blown War

happening.

Ever witness a Forest Fire ?  One tiny spark on a dry windy day amp; BOOM You have a immediate HUGE Forest Fire that is Unstoppable in that Wind.

That's what will happen with Iran. Unstoppable Winds of War.

Drafted July 1969 along with 35,000 single American Males per month.  70% of those that served "In the Nam" were Draftees

SPW "Airborne"

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

No, Robert, it means that America created the Taliban, not the Northern Alliance. The Taliban were a  Pashtun tribal faction  (Mujahideen) fighting the Russians and given stinger missiles and money by USA. The Northern Alliance were/are a loose coalition of non-Pashtun interests who were paid by the USA to fight the Taliban when America changed horses. They weren't 'created' in the sense that they're not a coherent entity.

William Starr
William Starr

 You are ignorant! We didn't "create" the Taliban. We NEVER had that type of influence in AfPak. The original genesis of the Taliban was the Communist(s) regime and the Soviet invasion. We just provided SOME of the money. It was great place for the Gulf states to export their Muslim extremist so they would not have to deal with them. 

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

I'm not ignorant - I was there. And in Saudi. Your 'type of influence' was stingers and cash. Remember Charlie Wilson's War?

afghanrule
afghanrule

The Arabs and Pakistanis love it when Americans express their 'hate' for the Afghans and calling them hideous savages, though the Afghans really didn't perpetrate 9-11 attacks, and the Arabs amp; Pakistanis did. 

Therefore, misdirected hate and anger against the Afghan people is really supporting America's true enemies!

JeanBruce
JeanBruce

We should be negotiating the partition of Wazeristan and Afghanistan. Pakistan doesn't care to govern their bit. This is just another area that will boil until the warring parties are separated.

valwayne
valwayne

Obama created this mess when he decided to surrender Afghanistan in slow motion.  Everybody knows we are leaving, Obama's announced it,  so they are all cutting deals with the Taliban, and its open season on our soldiers.  We all thought that we learned from Vietnam not to fight a war if we didn't intend to win.  Surrendering in slow motion is certainly not a better way to go!  Our troops should not have to risk their  lives for a Commander-in-Chief who is only "generally proud of our troop" !  Nor should they be asked or expected to die for Obama's cynical, political, policy of slow motion surrender!

Trick James
Trick James

We should have turned that whole rats nest into a sheet of glass the day after 9/11.

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

I'm glad that you think foreign policy should be ethics-based and moral.

Voz
Voz

A friend of a friend dies and suddenly you know more than the president and his advisers? Spare me...

ArcBender1
ArcBender1

Definitely agree with spwright1.  I know i am one of those.  Me and my friends, coworkers, family, etc. never think about Afghanistan.  In fact, I am exhauseted that its still going on and continually having to pony up my money for this fiasco.  Let's pull out, admit those soldiers died in vain and be done with this.

 

corvetteking
corvetteking

I,m tired of all these country's who hate us we give our monies, young men and women to help them have better lives an then the kill us, waste the capital we give them. we should also stop allowing them to migrate to our country. We see them in there streets saying down with the Americans and then we allow them to come here .I say enough is enough, stay there and live in those uncivilized hell holes. 

Rogervzv
Rogervzv

I agree. If the Afghans want to be ruled by the Taliban and lack the will, spine, or brains to prevent the Taliban from gaining power, tough luck. We should announce that we reserve the right to bomb or otherwise take out any camps or military installations in Afghanistan that threaten America, but otherwise we're out of here. Before 9/11 we were stupid enough to tolerate the existence of camps the announced purpose of which was to train terrorists to come over here and kill us. We should announce that we will not permit this ever again. Otherwise, if the Afghans like being slaves to a 9th Century philosophy, well, I'm happy for them. We're out of there.

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

Announce, announce.. you're great at announcing. But for a generation you haven't been able to win a war - why don't you read up on the record of empires against popular insurgencies? You're so yesterday.

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

PS  The camps were to train activists to resist your (and your surrogates) worldwide meddling, not to 'come over here and kill us' (that was a Saudi operation). I don't like their silly religious delusions any more than you do, but as patriots they surpass you. They're willing to fight and die. You're willing to consume and fiddle with your laptop.

Canuckski666
Canuckski666

America created the taliban, and only america can destroy it.

Robert
Robert

That is an absurd statement.  That also means we created the Northern Alliance, who are most certainly not the Taliban.

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

Replied to this - it's elsewhere in the thread. You didn't 'create', you merely financed the (temporary) Northern Alliance.

Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams

Time to saddle up the ponies and ride out.  Enough American blood spilled.  Original mission to clean out the Taliban supported terrorist camps was correct.  Bush's national building mission failed. Obama's use of the Afghan war to as a counterpoint to Iraq and to prove he had "balls" is done.  If these people want to butcher each other, stone their women, bulldoze homosexuals and engage in other 5th century fun and games have at it.

But on the way out the door I'd just leave behind a few copies of targeting maps showing where the tactical nukes and/or fuel-air munitions are going if there is a single attempt to support terror or export their medieval culture. 

Quarantine the place. 

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

The original mission was a lie and a monumentally stupid blunder. Americans should buy a few history books and read up on cultures other than their own sorry cesspool.

Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams

Maybe you've got some bright shining examples of cultures we should emulate?  Honest question.  I've got an honors degree in History and most of a masters completed as an undergraduate...and I'm coming up a bit short on this one.  Dunno, maybe the Soviet model?  China under Mao and the Cultural Revolution was a real side splitter--worked with a few guys that grew up in China during that one.  Personally I'm a pragmatist in foreign policy-- act to protect your interests, be clear what they are and what the consequences are to those that choose to act in a counter fashion. 

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

Yes, there are a few bad examples out there. Glad you didn't defend your own one.

But there are good ones too - you know, Scandinavia, Canada, France, UK...

Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams

No. Afghanistan was the source of the problem. You sterilize, quarantine and move on. The mistake was trying to "nation build" with these medieval F**ks. Like I said, they want to live in the middle ages, great. But like Vegas, it stays there.

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

And as a consequence of this imperial overstretching, the Middle Ages is where you're headed. America is so yesterday.

Robert
Robert

What part of the mission was a lie?  I'm sure this will be good.

SatiricalPerson
SatiricalPerson

 The part where we invade a sovereign country for trillions of dollars per year and have neither an exit strategy nor any factually based, clear goals.

Yanquipoodle
Yanquipoodle

No, it's not good; lies rarely are. The Taliban offered to give up Bin Ladin if offered prima facie evidence (internationally recognised as the correct way to proceed). Bin Ladin denied his guilt (no, I don't know either) and the FBI, right up to his assassination by Obama, offered no evidence that he was behind 911. Yes, it was Saudi organised and Saudi financed, and yes, Bin Ladin was a Saudi and probably guilty. But Bush had no evidence of that; he permitted all Saudis to leave USA during the supposed no-fly period and was desperate not to allow blame to fall on the Saudis. The Taliban who, like Bin Ladin, had been financed by the USA, had no reason or desire to fall out with Big Brother. But they had no idea what they were up against in that clown Bush.

dionkraft
dionkraft

The Russians said that all 20 years ago. Nothing is news then as it is now. The whole thing was a giant waste of money let alone lives given for one worthless cause to politicians and armchair military who speak in such terms to make the world a better place yet they sacrificed nothing.  Words you can sacrifice but lives are another story indeed.  The time to pull out is NOW not 2014. Any lives lost between now and then because of the war is a total waste of our troops. They need to pull out now with guns drawn and walking backward and get the hell out of there. Leave all the structures or property - they don't matter. Get our people home NOW damn it!

Chuckiechan
Chuckiechan

They deserve the live of a Muslim - poverty and brutalization of anyone who disagrees. They'd be better off in a prison gang.  

Besides, they are some on the most loyal people you can rent.

manapp99
manapp99

This war is a tribute to President Obama's ego. He used the Afghanistan war as a political tool in 08 meant to ensure that a liberal young law professor would not be soft on national defense. It allowed him to be against the politically unpopular war in Iraq to appeal to the base and for the Afghanistan war (the one he called the correct war. The war we have to win.) to show his strength. He also used it to further bludgeon the GWB administration for not paying as much attention to it as Iraq. Now we see why. The Afghanistan was was never winnable. This is why Bush was not escalating it. We have lost 1500 more service members since Obama became President and we are going to end up leaving without accomplishing a thing. It was a waste of lives for the sake of the image of the President of the United States. 

Jeffrey Geez Glavick
Jeffrey Geez Glavick

He would have not been elected if he was against both wars, he would have been labeled a coward, American's need at least very least one war going on in order to feel "safe". The fact is that he bought the armed forces spin on the reason to be in Afghanistan. As for Bush not escalating the Afghan war, what? he started it, that is a large escalation, are you saying Bush knew the error of his ways, Iraq and Bush? he and his bosses still insist they did the right thing. He should be on trial for war crimes, thing is American could not handle that under a black President's term, there would be civil war.

Jake Black
Jake Black

 You are mad at the wrong administration.

Ram
Ram

Money, power hungry and most of all. SHAME. Thank You Bush.

manapp99
manapp99

It was Obama that engineered the surge in Afghanistan. When Bush left office 570 US military gave theirs lives to this campaign. Bush was, in effect, winding it down then as there was no viable path to victory. Obama came along and proclaimed it the war we must win and called for more troops to attempt it. Now we have lost over 2000 service members there and are back to winding it down. Back to the Bush position but with 1500 more dead. 

Thank You Obama!

coolbreeze56
coolbreeze56

Well. Where will we launch our drone attacks into Pakistan (and also Afghanistan) after we leave Afghanistan? I guess you "doves" think we should just let terrorists continue to attack the U.S. from a safe haven country.

obamunist_party
obamunist_party

What Afghan allies?  We have some mercenaries on the payroll, but you can't buy loyalty or the desire to become a civilized country.  Stick to periodically wiping out nests of al Qaeda and Taliban when they start plotting 9-11 events.  

JimK
JimK

Folks are finally starting to understand that the only Afghan you can completely trust is a dead one. 

In 2001 we should have turned that country into nothing more than a spot on the map to show where Afghanistan used to be and been done with it.

mormonist
mormonist

When Mitt is elected he will do exactly that. America is the greatest country in the world, the true site of the Garden of Eden. 

When Our President dies he will enter the Celestial Kingdom where he will be a god and rule his own planet. To a man like that - a godlike man- Afghanistan is a mere morning's work.

All of us, all, will follow wherever he leads.

Jamie Bobini
Jamie Bobini

Hmmm... It's worth remembering that the US invaded the country (whether it was a con by the government, we won't know) to catch Osama. There isn't as far as I know, any concrete proof they had anything to do with 9/11. Osama was eventually found in Pakistan. USSR spent a fruitless decade in Afghanistan -- that should have been a lesson to not mess with them. 

Robert
Robert

That is absolute nonsense.  Bin Laden most certainly engineered 9-11, and the Taliban most certainly provided him refuge in Afghanistan.  

ounceoflogic
ounceoflogic

We gave the Afghans a chance to enter today's world. They have chosen instead to remain in the 5th century - reverting immediately to their corrupt, tribal, barbaric ways. No more American lives should be sacrificed. Politically Correct rules of engagement doom our troops and our cause. Until America decides to fight to win, we should get out of the war business.

afghanrule
afghanrule

Then you should know historically Afghans have had no desire to join the contemporary world.  They never have.  That's why they sit on trillions of dollars worth of natural resources, but don't exploit.  The whole point of foreign invasions after invasions throughout history has been to bring them into the contemporary world, and steal their resources. But we never understood that they prefer the agrarian, tribal lifestyle. 

There's nothing wrong with people choosing to live their lives in their own freedoms and on their own terms - isn't that the moral equivalancy of America's Founding Fathers!?!   At least President Ronald Reagan felt so, and that's why executive ordered March 21 be designated as Afghanistan Day in the United States!!!!

So, stop the sour grapes, and player hating.  They won fair and square against the most advanced army in the history.  That's saying a lot about their love for their ow freedoms! 

BTW, they are truly the last of the free peoples on earth. They don't need a central government taxing them to death!!  They don't care about paved roads or highrise buildings.

We have something to learn about their morality and family values, unmatched anywhere. Sure they have problems, but the noted values outweigh any social problems!

Jamie Bobini
Jamie Bobini

They never asked for you to 'give them a chance' to enter today's world. They were minding their own business (it wasn't pleasant for some, admittedly) until the US, under the influence of Osama's attack, decided to invade.

ounceoflogic
ounceoflogic

Have you and your moron friends forgotten about 9/11? We should have just let them continue exporting poppies and terrorists? The Afghans are not some Balinese tribe that has no word for "my".

So... we should have gone there to wipe out the Taliban, not to nation-build. We failed in the first effort due to restrictive rules of engagement that prevented victory. We failed in the second because of the "quaintness" of the people. We should have left long ago. I assure you that there are reasonable people in Afghanistan who would like nothing more than to come into the 21'st or even the 19th century. Most of them have no heads.

omegafrontier
omegafrontier

 You're a fascist crackpot.  Afghanistan  was in a civil war.  And no they did not mind their own business.  They sponsored money and bases for Al Quaeda training.  They refused to hand Bin Laden over and offered to try him in an Islamic court. 

SatiricalPerson
SatiricalPerson

You are so smart!

You deduced that someone did crack AND was a fascist by just reading 2 sentences of writing from him!

Your clear intelligence has allowed you to post a productive and non-racist comment.

Remember the justification for going into African lands and enslaving them? That the Africans were savages and would kill each other without white people intervening?

Yeah, you're using the same argument here.

afghanrule
afghanrule

Most comments are hateful and factually inaccurate.

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