Tuesday, June 21, 2011


"Genius is not required to recognize that in Afghanistan, when means now, before more American valor, such as Allen's, is squandered."
-George Will

Surrender Monkey
President Obama is making a speech about Afghanistan this week, and it is generally expected that he'll be announcing a troop reduction and scaling down of US activity in the area. Coming from him, that's not exactly shocking; he practically campaigned on getting out of the place and has been highly critical of the rebuilding effort there throughout his political career.

What bothers me is that so many people who identify themselves as being right-leaning or even conservative are cheering the thought of abandoning Afghanistan. These are the same people who stood up and argued that if we abandon Iraq before we finish, then the terrorists win. That we'll be surrendering to our enemies. That our soldiers will have fought and sacrificed and bled and died for nothing. That it will prove to the bad guys that if they stick it out long enough, America will just give up. That its better to fight them over there than here at home. That if we leave now, the place will turn back into a terrorist-brewing tyranny and be at least as bad as before. That we're over there in response to 9/11 and need to fight terrorism wherever we find it.

Now suddenly, we need to quit because its taking so long and its so hard. Military mothers who condemned Cindy Sheehan's inability to comprehend their son's work and the need for sacrifice to defend liberty now argue the same as she did. What happened?

The main differences here are time and the president. It has been 7 years since we went into Afghanistan and obliterated the Taliban in a matter of weeks. That's a long time to sustain a military effort, even a rebuilding effort such as Afghanistan.

Now that President Obama is in power, the emphasis has shifted. They aren't defending a Republican against leftist attacks, the president is Obama and the press and left are not attacking him over Afghanistan. So there isn't the contrariness of wanting to fight back against political foes or desire to defend a perceived ally any longer.

We have a Democrat president, so the need to protect him isn't there for a lot of people on the right. The enemy isn't attacking the soldiers and their job, so it feels less pressing to defend them and stand strong.

But nothing has changed. With the right support, tools, and time, Afghanistan can be rebuilt and sustained the same way Iraq has been. There will be troubles there - its inevitable in that part of the world - but the battle can be won to stop the terrorists, if we let them do their job and give them what they need.

All the same arguments used for staying in Iraq until its done apply in Afghanistan, and abandoning it now simply proves America doesn't have the stomach to finish a job if it gets too tough. And that's just too demonstrative of the modern American who'd have given up ten miles into the Oregon Trail.

I don't expect some tofu-eating city leftist with a man purse to support a tough effort in a foreign land to defend liberty. I expect people who claim to be on the right wing politically to.


Tina said...

Christopher, what you say makes a great deal of sense, and to a very great degree I agree with you. But a lot of people are coming to realize that we are not "defending liberty" in Afghanistan - our government doesn't even allow our own troops to practice freedom of religion, our negotiators don't insist that the Afghan government practice and support basic human freedoms. Instead, while our troops on the ground ARE trying to support true liberty for the ordinary Afghan people, our government - under both administrations - is trying to appease people who do not want true individual liberty, whether they be progressives and leftists in the USA, or robber barons and Islamic leaders in Afghanistan.
So perhaps part of what you are hearing is a realization that the US Government is never going to allow our troops to do their job and give them what they need. :-(

Christopher R Taylor said...

Under the present administration I agree, but that can change with a different commander in chief, and for the sake of the men in danger over there, we owe them a chance to do the job right and come home victorious.

Tina said...

Well that is absolutely true. We can't support the troops without supporting the war - and supporting everything that every soldier has to do to succeed in his mission, regardless of what that "everything" may be.

I am very concerned that we not abandon those of the Afghan people who want an opportunity to build a nation that looks more like the modern civilized nation Afghanistan was in the 1950s and 1960s than the primitive nation-sized camp the Taliban turned it into.

Philip said...

I heard George Will do his litany of "we've been in Afghanistan longer than we were in WWII" routine Sunday.

Left out were the millions of dollars; man-hours, and all the lives spent rebuilding Europe and Japan.

Also left out was the Cold War, something those of both Will's ilk and the Left liked, because although much money was spent, it went toward think-tanks and universities and defense and areospace industries. Also a plus to the same guilty parties: the lives lost were relatively of an 'acceptable level' and most weren't American.