Saturday, January 2, 2010

Afghanistan— Prolonging the Inevitable

Let your mind drift back to 1776, and ask yourself, “How long would The King’s red-clad dragoons have stayed around if the Continental soldiers had been armed with automatic assault weapons and RPGs?” To understand that scenario is to understand present-day Afghanistan, a country that contains three guns for every inhabitant. And the bad news for American foreign policy doesn’t stop there.

Warfare (the waging of war) is devilishly complex, but war itself is actually quite simple. War is merely two sides that kill each other until one side can’t stand to be killed any longer. Throughout history, war was never any more complicated than that. In World War II, the Japanese Kamikaze attacks showed America that Japan had a greater willingness to die than we did, and it took two atomic bombs to break that Japanese will. Vietnam was simply a tragedy that came about because Lyndon Johnson thought that Ho Chi Minh thought like he did, and eventually the American public decided that this petty difference of opinion was not worth dying for. Which brings us to Afghanistan where the enemy not only has the will to die, but actually has the aspiration to die. Faced with that kind of cultural mind set, America has two choices. We can either sign a formal declaration of surrender and leave with our tail between our legs, or we can just leave. Either way, we will lose that war, not because we lack military power, but because we lack suicidal tendencies.

The Taliban, or al-Qaeda, or the insurgents, or the Afghan nationals (hell, we can’t even agree on what to call them) is an enemy like none other in our long history of enemies. They have no industrial infrastructure behind them, no munitions manufacturing capability, no heavy transportation, no armored vehicles, no air power, no spy satellites, no electronic eavesdropping equipment, no forts, and certainly no central headquarters like the Pentagon. Nevertheless, they defeated England at the height of the British Empire’s power, and they defeated the Soviet Union at the height of Soviet power. As one U.S. Congressman recently stated, “We are facing a 14th-century enemy with our 21st-century military force, and we are fighting with 18th-century military tactics.” Bluntly stated, they are defeating the United States at the height of American power simply because they welcome the chance to die.

Liberals and Conservatives seldom agree on anything, so when Liberal Vice President, Joe Biden, and Conservative writer and intellectual, George Will, both say the same thing, that has some significance. Both of them essentially are saying, “Leave Afghanistan immediately before any more American troops die needlessly.” We should listen to them.

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