Ask American military commanders tasked to win in Afghanistan, and they’ll make a case that we can prevail, with grit and commitment.
But step back and look at the simplest truths, and you come to away thinking that this sacrifice is pointless and the sooner we leave, the better.
The Taliban were a nightmare when they controlled Afghanistan, but they came to power because of the ruthlessness and corruption of those who preceded them.
We couldn’t prevent the Viet Cong from winning in Vietnam, or the Khmer Rouge from taking Cambodia because the regimes in place were run by miserable thieves who alienated the population they were supposed to be serving.
It’s hard to see the Karzai regime in Afghanistan any other way, and pouring blood and money into the cause while exhorting them to change isn’t working.
One little example of how things work is this New York Times piece about the fortune we spent to build a highway in Afghanistan, paying a local warlord with ties to insurgents $1 million a year to keep contractors safe, only to discover he was staging attacks himself at times to extort more cash. The 64-mile highway is expected to cost $176 million, and it’s neither safe nor well-constructed.
Maybe President Obama knows things I don’t that justify this effort.
To me, it comes down to a simple formula: if our national security isn’t threatened, we have to let the Afghans settle this among themselves.