Afghanistan was an unwinnable war as was Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and more. It was a misadventure that was supposedly our answer the terrorist attacks of 9/11 which happened twenty years ago next month. As horrific as those attacks were invading Afghanistan and later Iraq did nothing to end international terrorism. Unfortunately it’s made it worse. Killing your enemies inevitably produces more enemies. In the past twenty years we’ve killed over two-hundred thousand Afghans. We disagree with how those folks run their country. We disagree with how they treat their citizens. The Taliban are a tragic anachronism but bombing and killing them was never a solution.
In the 1980’s when the Russians were foolish enough to try to take over that same country we provided arms and logistics to the same folks who eventually attacked us on September 11, 2001. Afghanistan was blow-back from our misguided efforts to defeat the Russians. The only Americans who have won in Afghanistan were the arms manufacturers who sold the weapons we expended their in our pursuit of the Taliban. We made some friends with some of the people and propped up regimes that were friendly to us but in the end our efforts were for naught. Thousands of American soldiers, sailors, marines and civilian contractors were killed. The emotional toll on those survivors on both sides is incalculable. Trillions of dollars were wasted and no lasting peace was achieved.
In the short run, the Republicans who got us mired in these conflicts in the first place are going to make political hay with Joe Biden. They’re going to insist he’s not acting responsibly and that this is a major strategic error. The truth is that Joe Biden is saving trillions more of our national resources and saving thousands of American military personnel from dying in a war that was never winnable. My hat is off to President Biden because he’s got the balls to say “Enough is enough.”