Is there a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?
President Obama announced, Wednesday, that he would leave more troops in Afghanistan when he exits office than previously planned. Instead of cutting the current troop deployment of 10,000 down to 5,500 soldiers, Obama will now keep 8,400 “in country,” continuing our longest war.
Entering the 15th year of armed conflict and military occupation, thousands of lives lost along with hundreds of billions in treasure spent to equip and train Afghan forces and build infrastructure — and buy off warlords — recent U.N. estimates find the tyrannical Taliban controlling more actual territory in Afghanistan today than before the 2001 U.S. invasion.
Don’t blame the military. Our all-volunteer army is the greatest fighting force on the planet. But militaries break things; building new institutions and especially new modes of thinking among a foreign population is more difficult.
No political magic exists capable of turning Afghanistan into Arizona. Not this year, not the next, a decade from now, or two decades . . . not even a century down the road.
We must never forget that “war is the continuation of politics by other means.”
And the politics don’t add up. There’s no credible plan to “win” in Afghanistan. All our leaders can muster is the witless maintenance of a deadly charade: nation-building a nation that balks at being built, hoping the roof falls in on someone else later . . . in the other party.
Sometimes courage means recognizing reality.
Our men and women in uniform have better things to do than fight and die for decades in a no-win war.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.