Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Udall (D-NM) have introduced legislation that would officially end the War in Afghanistan. This war — as well as the continually failing War on Terror —has been going on since 2001. As of the day I’m writing this (March 6, 2019) the war has been going on for 17 years, 4 months, and 27 days — making it the longest war in American history.
It may be hard to think of the 1960s — a time before the internet made finding information easier than ever and CSPAN brought Congress into our living rooms — as a time where the electorate was more informed. Back during the Vietnam era, every politician running for office had to give some opinion on the ongoing war. Both president Johnson and president Nixon ran against the Vietnam war as candidates.
Compare that to today: In 2004, Bush loved the war and more or less campaigned on having it continue. In 2008, Barack Obama denounced the Iraq war but never did the same for Bush’s other war. Only Trump — the 3rd president during this war — has run against this never-ending disaster.
Of course, Trump has attempted to fill his cabinet with the few remaining members of the Bill Kristol party. John Bolton — former UN Ambassador under Bush Jr. who still supports the invasion of Iraq — is currently National Security Advisory. Mike Pompeo — who believes Edward Snowden should be executed — is Sectary of State. We have packed Neoconservative after Neoconservative in this administration.
Mind you, it frustrates me that Donald Trump of all people could be the one president to get us out of a forever war. Not because I don’t want him to, but because we should not have forever wars in the first place.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said during his presidential run that — if elected president — he would have no plans to withdraw from the Middle East. “You don’t leave,” he said when asked when he would end US intervention in Afghanistan. A position that is either laughable or terrifying depending on which country you happen to live in.
Of course, the war in Afghanistan has been a failure by any measure. As of today, the Taliban control 8% more territory in Afghanistan than they did when we invaded them in late 2001.
On the other hand, the Afghanistan war has been a giant success. We invaded the country with the sole goal of capturing and killing terrorist Osama Bin Laden. In 2011, (with no help from Donald Rumsfeld) we did just that. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan 7 years, 10 months, and 4 days ago. We are still there.
It seems no matter what data you look at, we should not be in Afghanistan. The intervention on our end is done and over with, and if the goal was to help the people of Afghanistan we have failed spectacularly.
The worst part is we are unable to blame anyone but ourselves. Back in the day, we could at least point to Cheney’s connections with Halliburton and Bush’s connections with Carlyle. These days, the only group we have to blame is ourselves. Afghanistan is next to never mentioned in politics these days, yet the newest group of soldiers sent there were not even alive when the war started.
How is that okay?