What About This…? 8.24.2017

Well over four years ago, when the war in Afghanistan was more than ten years old, the longest war in American history and two and a half times as long as the Second World War, I wrote a piece here about our involvement. I reviewed the history of Afghanistan in terms of the many military adventures that had been conducted there over thousands of years. I noted that as long as each invading force was willing to expend military assets, their campaigns if not successful were at least sustainable. And, I may have mentioned that I don’t think any of those forces were ever thrust out by the native population.
However, whenever the cost of those military assets was deemed too high and they were withdrawn, Afghanistan returned to the ownership of the Afghans –– no undefended outpost or colony survived as far as I can tell.
Understanding this history, and considering the “benefits” winning in Afghanistan provide, and evaluating the costs in lives, honor, treasure, I suggested a three-step plan to end our involvement there: 1) pack up everything we can; 2) destroy everything we cannot pack up; and 3) come home! Simple as that. And I continue to adhere to that three-step plan today, four years after I wrote it and 16 years after we began there.
To those who advocate increasing our military posture so that we can “win,” I simply ask….why? Even if we were to commit the full force of our truly awe-inspiring military strength –– a strength that no nation on the face of the earth and no combination of nations could withstand for more than a very few moments –– what would be the up-side of “owning” Afghanistan.
The only argument for that outcome that’s even mildly rational – preventing terrorist training camps that will produce threats to our country – falls majestically upon its face when you consider that it is not a bunch of guys wearing black bedsheets running around and shooting up a rocky desolate landscape that manufactures a threat to us, but it is the money behind those camps, buying food, weapons, ammunition, instructors, bedsheets that supports them that is the real threat to us. And, that money does not come from Afghanistan, does it?
I am no military strategist by a long shot, but it seems to me that they would not be so hot to kill us if we stopped killing them. But, as I said, I am no strategist, I am just a farmer. But as a farmer I continue to think that if in any given situation we would deliver food instead of fear we would come out better in the long run, maybe even in the short run as well.
I am disgusted by military adventurers here in our country who are always so eager to send a “small” force into a theater of operations, for one amorphous reason or another, always a “small” force instead of a crushingly effective force that would get the job done, and then to so quickly use the inevitable deaths and injuries suffered by our patriotic military operations so as not to betray those brave Americans who gave their lives.
If the lives of our armed forces mean anything to our leaders, the time to show that is before they are sacrificed, not afterwards.
I understand the concept of expendability and I reflect how that concept is occasionally and unfortunately necessary. But I am sure the concept would be far less frequently exercised if the daughters and sons of our leaders –– or our leaders themselves –– occupied the position at the tip of our spear rather than the shaft, or were employed under a cost-plus government contract to build those spears, or worked at marketing bonds to finance those contracts.
I have mentioned before and will again that I come from a family deeply steeped in the culture and honor of the military of the United States of America. And it is for that reason that I look skeptically, very-very skeptically whenever our military is sent into combat, and I hope other American citizens will do likewise.