Thursday, September 27, 2018

No Easy Way Out

Afghanistan has been a long war. But if America walks away, the war will follow us home.

I'm truly sorry that the Afghanistan campaign has dragged on for so long. Sadly, we face determined enemies who would kill us in larger numbers than they managed on September 11, 2001, if they can.

So walking away is no solution:

Many Americans want to just leave. The problem is just getting out leaves Afghanistan at the mercy of Pakistan, Iran and Russia, as well as all the drug gangs, Islamic terror groups and numerous Afghans who oppose the drugs and all the outside interference. The drugs and Islamic terrorism will still be major exports. The West can leave Afghanistan but the ills of Afghanistan won’t leave the West and that is just fine with Pakistan.

That's it. We can leave. The enemy will see that as victory and follow, continuing the war outside of Afghanistan.

That, as I observed long ago, was the problem with Iraq's invasion of Shia jihadi-inspired Iran in 1980:

Not wanting to repeat our experience in Vietnam, many speak of needing an "exit strategy" before committing troops. Such an approach seeks to minimize our losses under the assumption that we will at some point lose, so we had better know when to cut our losses and get out. It also assumes that the situation allows for an exit and that our enemy will allow it. The Iraqis desperately wanted out of the war they initiated in 1980 but were locked by Iran in a death grip that allowed for no easy exit.

Iraq even tried to leave--pulling back to the border more or less at one point. But Iran counter-invaded Iraq and the war dragged on for nearly 8 years with perhaps a million killed and wounded combined (Iran suffered about twice as much as Iraq).

And to this day, Iran tries to dominate Iraq and seeks out old foes from Saddam's days to kill them.

We can choose to win or lose in Afghanistan. What we can't choose to do is end the war by choosing to lose.

UPDATE: But as I've said before about the trends that alarm me in Afghanistan, government force casualties aren't sustainable and we have to atomize the enemy so they can't inflict these kind of demoralizing losses.