According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, 69 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should not be at war in Afghanistan. Four months ago, 53 percent were against the war. Correspondingly, 68 percent believe the war is going "somewhat badly" or "very badly," as compared to 42 percent in November.
Recent incidents in Afghanistan involving American troops that included an alleged killing of innocent people, burning of religious documents, and urinating on dead Afghans have infuriated the local population. The upside of remaining in this tribal country is nil. Al Qaeda has effectively been driven from the country, so the original military mission has been accomplished. The Afghans hate the presence of the U.S. occupiers. The Taliban has the staying power to be an effective, if not positive, force in the country; and America is still losing soldiers and spending money we cannot afford.
The dismal performance of our military in this country is not the fault of the ground troops; they are risking their lives every day for our freedom. The leaders of the U.S., including the last two presidents and a stubborn Congress, do not see the forest through the trees and are responsible for a noble mission that has turned sour. The U.S. just never seems to know when to exit a conflict. If a blue ribbon panel is ever assembled to analyze our Afghanistan adventure, it is highly likely it will be critical of the politicians and military leaders who do not understand that the end of a war is a good outcome, not one to be ashamed of. Sometimes the mission needs to be reassessed and the losses must end.
The history of Afghanistan should have forewarned our leaders and generals about the daunting task ahead of them. But, very few in power or with influence read the history books. Just as so many armies have failed to achieve military success in this mountainous terrain, so has the U.S. failed, not in terms of the initial mission to kill Osama Bin Laden and disrupt Al Qaeda, but in not knowing when the future costs were far greater than the potential gains. For a decade, the military brass provided cover for hawkish politicians, who worried only about "winning and losing." The generals misled Congress with their swagger and inane assessments, while our soldiers died and our national coffers were drained.
Looking back, does anyone think the Afghan War was worth it? Not many, I suspect, except those who want to foist democracy on every third world country at any cost. Bring our soldiers home.
Liberals, conservatives, OWS members, Tea Partiers unite and demand that American involvement in the Afghan hostilities end now.