Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We haven't heard much about Afghanistan for a while, except the occasional "bomb kills x people" story. But according to Michael Yon, who's over there and is one of the most objective and accurate reporters I've ever read, things are getting much better, and we're turning the country around.

Will we have the resolve to see it through and finish the job there or will we abandon it and surrender to the Taliban, who'll move right back in and take over? Time will tell, but a lot of right-leaning sites seem to be awfully eager to run away from Afghanistan.


Eric said...

My thoughts are if we couldn't ferret them out and kill them in 10 years, we aren't going to. We can't afford to stay there forever protecting the Afghan people from themselves. Sink or swim time has arrived.

Phil K said...

Michael Yon may be an objective reporter when he is writing and photographing in Afghanistan, but I pretty much lost all faith in him as a reliable commentator when he accepted without question, and then promulgated, the idea that 70% (or some other large number) of illegal firearms in Mexico came from the US. This was well after it was pretty common knowledge that the report referred only to those guns that were traced at all.

In other words, law enforcement traced around 17% of seized firearms in Mexico, and of that 17%, 70% were found to have originated in the US.

Had Yon retracted when this information became widely known, I would still be reading him. He actually doubled down at the time (I can't say if he has retracted since then, but I frankly don't care since it would not seem to me to be a principled retraction).

Anyway, my two cents.

Vlad Z. said...

What would "finishing the job" consist of, exactly, in Afghanistan?

We've already been there for a decade holding elections, propping up the government so selected, building things like schools and clinics and roads that they haven't managed to build for themselves in the last 3,000 years.

What's the end-state we are working towards? Recall that according to the highest law of the land Afghanistan is an Islamic state, and no law can come before the Koran.

So our final-state must logically include a subservient role for woman, many parts of sharia law in the legal code, and other markers of an Islamic state.

Poppy erradication? I believe the only question on the ground is "do our guys run it or the Taliban?". As long as it's the former it is allowed to continue.

Erradicate the Taliban? The Taliban are merely the most religious people of a very religious state, a religious state we acknowledge and support. They may change their name, but that trend will always exist in Afghanistan.

Christopher R Taylor said...

I'm sure we call all agree that a stable Afghanistan with free elections and the major pockets of terrorists destroyed would be the goal of the coalition. And according to Yon, who knows far better than we are, that's where the place is getting finally.

The same thing happened in Iraq, it was taking a long time, people were impatient to leave, and folks like me said "give it time." Patraeus went in, stabilized things, got the locals turned against the "insurgents" and we finished the job in Iraq. Some asked what "finishing the job" there meant too, even as it was getting done, eager to run away from that country, too.

Personally I like seeing success and our guys doing the job before we pull them out, so all that money, sacrifice, pain, and death was for a purpose rather than something we shuffle under the rug and don't talk about.