U.S. now wary of Afghanistan mission
by Salim Mansur
A year ago, during the 2008 election campaign in the United States, Democrats and allies on the left made the most of their view that the Afghan war was one of necessity and, hence, the 'good war.'
This view, stoked by the mainstream media, was used to undermine the Iraq war as George W. Bush's war of choice – hence the wrong war – that brought so much grief to the country.
Fouad Ajami, the Lebanese-American scholar and author of several highly insightful books on Arab culture and politics, stripped bare the utter nonsense of this posturing by Democrats and the Democrat-friendly media in his recent Wall Street Journal column.
It was 9/11 that brought America back to Afghanistan more than a decade after the last Soviet soldier had left that hard driven country. And swiftly the Taliban regime headed by Mullah Omar, which provided protection to al-Qaida and its leadership, was dismantled with promise of support for a new beginning to the Afghans.
Then came the Iraq war and it was not a diversion, nor the wrong war.
As Ajami writes, 'a policy that falls back on 9/11 must proceed from a correct reading of the wellsprings of Islamist radicalism. The impulse that took America from Kabul to Baghdad had been on the mark. Those were not Afghans who had struck American soil on 9/11. They were Arabs. Their terrorism came out of the pathologies of Arab political life.'
Much has happened since President Barack Obama stepped into the White House and Democrats took majority control of Congress. But the hard realities of our world remain, and soaring rhetoric cannot melt them away.
Afghanistan is undoubtedly a difficult place and mostly unwelcome to outside forces. But Democrats in Congress and the American public have become wary of the Afghan war since the 2008 election.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, recently stated, 'I don't think there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan in the country or in Congress.'
Polling numbers show 7 in 10 Democrats view the Afghan war as not worth the cost, and more than half the American public agree.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote the book on America and democracy, and his understanding of both has not been improved upon. He observed that citizens of a democracy loathe going to war, and when driven by necessity or choice to do so they are eager to end it quickly and return home.
A debate on the Afghan war has begun, and Democrats have turned their backs on it. Obama does not have the steel in his spine that Bush displayed to stay steady and order a surge when the polls turned against the Iraq war through much of 2006-7.
Obama's goal is a radical remaking of the American society. As the American public is awakening and organizing to oppose this agenda, the Afghan war becomes a distraction undermining Obama's domestic agenda.
Hence this war will likely be ended. The issue then requires clearly understanding why this war is not worth pursuing any further, and what this means for Afghanistan and the region without handing the Islamist enemy grounds for a false propaganda victory.