Last evening the President delivered his State of the Union address and briefly, very briefly, mentioned the now ten-year war in Afghanistan which he proposes to continue for three more years at a cost -- if we project current data -- of $150 billion and 1500 American lives.
We Americans simply will not learn from history - even our own history. Winston Churchill a great fan of America once said “You can count on America to do the right thing, after it tries everything else”.
We won our independence with a Revolution in which the British, at one time or another over eight years, controlled every major population center in the colonies. But we fought on and we won. And I am proud that many of my ancestors fought in that Revolutionary War.
We held our own in the War of 1812 even though the British burned our capital.
We evidently learned nothing from years of fighting Filipino rebels at the turn of the 20th century -- a war that only ended when President Woodrow Wilson promised the Phillippines it’s independence (which took another 25+ years).
And clearly todays leaders have not learned from Vietnam - that we cannot impose our political system on a people whose culture doesn’t share our basic underlying concepts and whose nationhood is either problematic or compromised by decades of colonial status..
So for ten years now we battle in Afghanistan - over 5,000 American men and women have lost their lives and many soldiers of allied nations and Afghans have died. Initially the war was to make it impossible for Al Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a safe haven to plot terrorist attacks against the US and the west. That was accomplished by 2003 - Al Qaeda today is based in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Then we took our eye off Afghanistan and fought the war in Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction which the Iranians developed while we were fighting in Iraq.
Now we are in Afghanistan nation building - something Americans have not been good at except in the case of their own nation (which by the way has been true of most cultures and countries). We are supporting a corrupt fraudulently elected regime against the evil Taliban rebels. We wouldn’t allow the Afghan tribal leaders to bring back the King - no America knows best Afghanistan needs an elected President. And that “elected” President has to be propped up no matter what the cost including $2 billion and 500 fatalities annually.
The rebellion in Afghanistan poses no threat to the security of the United States. Certainly not compared to what is happening in Iran, North Korea and even the instability in the Middle East caused by Syria in Lebanon and the potential problems in South America and the Caribbean fomented by Venezuela’s erratic dictator.
Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires because Alexander the Great ended his world conquest there and turned back; the British never really could control the Khyber Pass; and, the Soviet Union began unraveling as its’ people died and its’ economy drained due to its’ invasion of Afghanistan. We are spending billions of dollars that we are borrowing from China increasing our national debt to finance this unnecessary war - we are loosing thousands of young lives. Some of our nations leaders would have us stay there ten more maybe fifty more years.
Why? Are we doomed to watch the demise of the United States of America - “the last best hope of mankind” in the Afghan deserts and mountains.? It need not be. We should do as Sen. Aiken of Vermont advised LBJ about Vietnam - Declare Victory and Come Home. NOW