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What Should We Do With Afghanistan?

Updated on August 22, 2017
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

President Trump just gave a speech to the American people. He is asking for an escalation of war efforts in Afghanistan. Will it be successful? or should we leave this part of the Middle East?

- Aug. 2017


Background

There has been 3 administrations since the war in Afghanistan started in 2001. It was a response to the 9/11 attack on our homeland by OBL. Now, 14 years later, unfortunately, after lives lost and money spent, we are no closer to a peaceful conclusion. What should we be doing?

Given the long history of the region and the wars that have taken place there, we should have learned from the past. The Russians were involved in a long drawn out war there back in the 1980s and they finally had to withdraw in defeat.

When we started this war, our mission was clear and we were tremendously successful. What happened?


What Have We Tried?

It is useful to review what we have done so we can determine our best path forward.

Under President Bush, we tried nation building after we invaded it. We thought we can institute a democratic style government there. We helped them build infrastructure like schools and bridges and roads... Unfortunately, it was not well accepted.

Under President Obama, we tried a softer approach. We reduced out forces and use the "lead from behind" model of diplomacy. It failed miserably.

Under President Trump, it appears he wants to change strategy again and get the neighbors like Pakistan to help and step up.

The one thing we haven't tried is leaving.

If you recall, when an interview of OBL surfaced many years ago, he was asked by the interviewer what was the source of his anger against the West? And his answer was straightforward. He said he wanted the US to stop meddling in their affairs In the Middle East. So, why don't we just leave and abide by his wish. Just perhaps, he would then leave us alone. When I say he, I am referring to his followers of course. He is long dead and his son is taking up his cause.

Summary

The bottom line for me is this. We have spent almost 16 years there trying all kind of strategies and diplomacy...and none has worked. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. We can't afford this any more. Our country is 20 trillion dollars in debt. Our own infrastructure at home is falling apart. Our economy is in low gear and have been for many years. We just can't keep doing this without any signs of a conclusion.

The argument that Trump used and probably taken from his generals, is that we can't just leave hastily and which will lead to chaos. But, that was the exact same argument Obama used 8 years earlier. So if we leave after 8 years, it can't be described as "hastily" can it? I rest my case.

© 2017 Jack Lee

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    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      You ask a great question. I wrote about this at the time of the Iraq war... I supported the Iraq war by the way. It was never about 9/11 even though the media try its best to link the two.

      What we should have done in Afghanistan after the quick success in the beginning was to leave. We should have destroyed the poppy fields and helped them economically by giving them another way to make a living instead of the drug trade. This trade is what's fueling the terrorists...these training and terror attacks needs a steady stream of money to fund them besides the hatred that is taught in the mosques and schools...

      We have the superior air power. The terrain of Afghanistan does not lend well for an extensive ground campaign.

      We can maintain a no fly zone and knock out any taliban training sites and the leadership. Even hiding in the tunnels cannot protect them forever. We can blast the entrances so they are buried alive.

      What start d as good intentions of nation building failed because the people of Afghanistan is not ready for a western style democracy. It will take time to assimilate. We can't be their big brother.

      If 16 years of conflict has not worked, I say we have over stayed our welcome.

      Bring the troops home. Perhaps they will just leave us alone if we leave them alone.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 8 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It seems all we want from Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, ISIS and the whole lot of terrorists is for them not to attack us again. So far, in a way like 9/11, they haven't. That's not failure.

      We're still in Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Had we won in South Vietnam, no doubt we would still be there. And none of those folks are still shooting at us.

      I'm as ready to be done with this as anyone. We can't keep 1 percent of our population at war indefinitely. What we are doing to these military families in almost criminal. And we wonder why 20 soldiers are committing suicide every day?

      Trump got elected saying he would get us out of this. Sixty million people thought he could when a president who was elected to get us out couldn't. Now he says, once you are in the oval office, your views change. No kidding! If there were a simple solution to this situation, it would have been done 16 years ago. It is so much easier to get into a mess than to get out of one. But what were our options in 2001?

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 8 months ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      I answered the question why we are staying in Afghanistan already - we don't need to, simply wage an air war.

      But Jack to answer your question "Why are you focusing on details when the bigger question is why are we staying in Afghanistan?" further.

      How do you think it can be answered based on the false facts you present? Your hubpage is not an objective look at the situation but a contrived presentation to lead the reader to your conclusion that why should we be there when we have tried everything, which is a lie.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 8 months ago

      Jack, I agree should we completely unleash the US military there would be some very unhappy people. I hate to think that the NYT sets policy for military engagement. It's a shame we've lost the desire in this country to do what must be done to resolve an issue. There is countless similar situations in history that were resolved using this method. The Roman's, British Empire, and others did not hold back when attacking an enemy. I think you're right. I also believe Afghanistan won't be resolved without taking drastic actions.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Why are you focusing on details when the bigger question is why are we staying in Afghanistan? If you has a coherent response, I like to hear it.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 8 months ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      That's right Jack, I was interrupted when writing and didn't proof but what are you sugggesting, your's was a typo? I think not and you know it - why are you only picking the one fact you got wrong, I mentioned another you ignore and there are more in your hubpage, but "It matter not whether it was" one fact or a dozen..."does it?"

    • Misfit Chick profile image

      Catherine Mostly 8 months ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

      I might shock you, Jack - but I agree with many of these opinions (and your's) that we should completely leave. From my Law of Attraction perspective - releasing things and letting them go is the best, fastest way to allow balance to return: by letting things 'naturally' rebalance themselves.

      However, our civilization plays its own version of the rules in the game of life: thus, our governments intervene. The reasons they do vary - but almost always (these days) it has something to do with how/where/why the money is flowing. Almost everything has become about 'economies'. In this case, it might also be a bit about security - can we afford to let things get worse before they get better? Cuz you know they probably would for a while...

      All I can do is helplessly sit by and hope that Trump is making a good choice based on the wisdom of well-intentioned, experienced military personnel - and cross my fingers, and my toes. God knows I don't always trust (or agree with) their advice either, LoL!

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Mike, You are correct. Our military have been hampered by the rules of engagement. But the reality is this, do you think the NYT will allow the military to do its thing? There will be daily headlines of our atrosities...

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Tsad, so let me get this straight, when you erred, it is a typo, when I make a mistake, I don't care about facts....the point I am making is the long time this has gone on without resolution, It matter not whether it was 16 or 14 years...does it?

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 8 months ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      When I said 17 that was a typo, I meant to type 16 but the point is you were wrong. It is apparent Jack that facts don't really matter to you that much. The fact is we haven't tried all kinds of strategies because Obama limited that with his insane rules of engagement and not listening to his generals. That is a mistake Trump will not make and his strategy of not setting deadlines that have nothing to do with the progress on the ground is just one that has not been tried.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 8 months ago

      As a person who was in the military and have had relatives in the military in every major conflict since WWII, I think it's simple. Take all restrictions off the military and let them kill people and destroy things. Let them kill all the people who need to be killed and destroy all the things that need destroyed. No more restrictions. No more rules of engagement. Let the military do what it does best without some government bureaucrat with no military understanding influence what has to be done. This hasn't happened for 17 years and needs to happen now. You want an end to it? This will end it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What do want, more swamp BS or do you want to kick some ass? I am so tired of whimps it makes my skin crawl.

      I did my time and I do not want some pollywogs saying, as in Vietnam that we should lose.

      Screw the Taliban. Kick their ass back to death.

      I am an American and these pricks threat my freedom. Is someone here a sympathizer with the enemy? Jump up count your freedom make it known and support our Commander. Cowards.

    • jackclee lm profile image
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      Jack Lee 8 months ago from Yorktown NY

      According to wikipedia, the war started in Oct. 2001. That would mean it is 15 years and 10 months. My apologies but does it really matter, 14 or 15 or 16 years...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 8 months ago from https:// www.consumeraffairs.com/ online/ hubpages. html

      Jack, you really need to check your facts before writing, eg. we have been at war in Afghanistan for 17 years, not 14 and Obama's prosecution of that war excluded strategies and where does anyone (except insane Obama) get the idea diplomacy works with terrorists?

      Well you know the real reason why Osama Bin Laden never went out drinking had nothing to do with his religion. Why should he when he can get bombed at home?

      The biggest mistake we make is believing we can't win a war with air only. Really? Well what makes anyone think we can win sending in ground troops? Have we ever won that in modern times, even WW2 was ended by air after our troops were massacred across the world. Air war technology today trumps the past and all strategies.

      Putting our troops at risk on the ground over there is insane. It would cost less in money and blood to simply wage a daily air war upon these Mideast countries taking out leadership whenever possible until they surrender to our terms. They have no air defenses we can't take out and how can any country survive looking over their shoulder to the skies every waking moment of their lives. 17 years of that can't be any worse than the seventeen years we have committed troops over there.

      I don't know about you but in my book American troops' lives aren't worth throwing away on wars they aren't allowed to win.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I played a whole lot of sports, yes while studying undergrad philossohy even some terrible fencing.

      We win and we do what we have to to win. Enough pussy footing and letting our soldiers die on protocol. Come on team let us just win! Let our dogfaces take it to the limit and kill bad guys. Let us save that nation for democracy.

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