But is he right?
GOP Chairman Michael Steel is back in the spotlight, and again drawing fire this weekend for stating that he was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and it was a war of President Obama's choosing.
But is he right? That's the question. I've never known of any subject so horrible, so dangerous, that it couldn't be discussed. Even during World War I, the Great War, Politicians would occasionally float trial balloons, and suggest that someone should talk about ending the war. President Wilson tried to bring peace without victory for years before finally taking the nation to war. For the most part, those Politicians were not severely chastised for saying that years of war, and millions of lives lost might have been enough of a price to pay. Some were certainly, but for the most part, they were chastised by the population, and forgiven.
So let's consider, could Chairman Steel be right? The Taliban has said essentially the same thing. They refused to negotiate post war conditions with us since we're leaving anyway. In other words, they're waiting until we abandon the field, and then they'll move in and declare victory over the infidel, and once again reinstate their barbaric and abusive rule over the people.
Which by the way, is the exact thing that happened in Somalia, when we pulled out of Somalia and the War Lords returned to what they were doing when we showed up. They out waited us. A couple months ago, I had a post almost ready and then I deleted it. I believe it, and I think it's the truth, but I deleted it because I didn't want to say it.
Now, I will. It will take sixty to eighty years to bring true peace to Afghanistan. That is an investment that America and the world is unwilling to make, so we should leave now, and avoid the loss of life on a hopeless cause.
Here is why I am saying that. The sixty to eighty years is the time for social change to drip through the population. The first generation, the children of today, will be taught and accept some of the truths that we believe in. But they won't believe all of them, and they won't adapt all of them. Their children, will accept more, but that puts us some forty years into the future already, and the principals of a true democratic representative society require that each individual, male or female, have rights, and votes. The third generation would be the first we could honestly hope would accept the ideals of individual liberty, and freedoms that make Representative Democracies actually work. That's sixty years, three generations, or fifty more years from today. Are we as a people willing to invest that kind of time, that kind of treasure, and that kind of dedication to the task of reforming Afghanistan, a nation where electricity is a luxury known only to the city dwellers and not all the time? The honest answer is NO. Eventually America will get sick of it, and declare victory and leave, ignoring the truth, that all they're leaving is a nation where the Taliban or some other such incarnation of the brutal old ways, the ways that the adults are all too familiar and comfortable with, return.
So we have to admit that there is no way to win in Afghanistan, that is to create a stable democracy for future generations, where individual rights and freedoms are the rule of law for the land. Then what shorter term goal can we set? No Taliban, and no Terrorism? That can only be guaranteed as long as we are there, but that is a commitment without end, which the nation is ill prepared to accept. Look at the response of the people when John McCain said we could be in Iraq for a hundred years.
If we aren't willing to commit to a sixty or eighty or even hundred year plan for success, and for true victory, then all we can do is treat the symptoms. In other words, wait until a bunch of hostiles show up in a certain area, and then kill them with bombs launched from miles away. In other words, the way we treated Iraq after Desert Storm. The way we dealt with Libya in the 1980's. We keep a close eye on them, and every once in a while drop a few bombs to keep them from getting too froggy.
Do we need combat troops on the ground for that? Do we need to keep our sons, daughters, husbands and wives to that kind of life to drop bombs on training camps from time to time? I don't think so. It puts the troops at too much risk, and nets us little gain from our investment, and the costs of operation, in lives as well as dollars.
So eventually, I think that the nation will decide that it costs us too much, in lives, and dollars, to maintain a presence in Afghanistan, and the people will finally admit that the nation is too backwards, too ill suited for a rapid change to representative democracy. So then we have a bad choice right? Choosing the best warlord who will not side with the Taliban. But the Taliban will be supported by Iran and other fundamentalist nations, and with volunteers to hope to rid the region of infidel influences, our chosen Afghani Warlord is doomed before he begins.
And even if our selected Afghani Warlord we leave in charge does manage to be successful in the short term, the Afghan people won't be any better off under that dictatorship than they will be under the brutality of the Taliban.
In the end, I think any honest assessment of the situation, the history of the region, and the potential gains will conclude that withdrawal from Afghanistan is going to be the result American reaches eventually, the only question is how many lives will be shattered, both Afghani and American, before we admit it.