Sunday, March 11, 2012

Afghanistan is Hell, Time to Leave

Afghans protesting the burning of korans

By Alan Caruba

Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman gained everlasting fame when he said “War is Hell.”

The definition holds true, but one might also add that Afghanistan is Hell. Even after Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces in six month’s time it took three years, from 330 BC to 327 BC, to get some measure of control over Afghanistan. For the Soviet Union, the war in Afghanistan dragged on for ten years (1979 to 1989) and led to its collapse.

The news is full of the story of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan who went on a killing spree, leaving at least sixteen civilians dead, among whom were women and children, while wounding another five.

The death not noted in the news reports is the death of the American/NATO mission in Afghanistan, one that began with an October 2001 attack ordered by President Bush. Its purpose was to drive out the Taliban and elements of al Qaeda that had reportedly planned the 9/11 attack in outposts established there.

The Taliban are still in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan.

The figures on American and NATO casualties went from twelve in 2001 to 68 just thus far this year. During the “surges” to gain control over various provinces, 2009 resulted in 521 dead, 2010’s toll was 7ll. In all, there have been 2,915 coalition soldiers who have lost their lives there; 1,910 from the U.S., 404 from the United Kingdom, and 150 from our neighbor, Canada.

The effort has included soldiers from nations that include Denmark (47), Poland (35), Spain (34), the Netherlands (25), and France (82) a total of some twenty-eight nations.

It has been a failure.

That failure is seen now in the slaughter of innocents by a lone, American soldier, believed to be a staff sergeant, as yet unnamed. There are many unknowns at this point, but what is known is that trying to fight a war where Afghan soldiers are as likely to kill you as the designated enemy can drive a man to madness.

Trying to fight a war where two soldiers in an Afghan ministry were assassinated because some Korans were burned and others suffer a similar fate is itself madness. Such a place is the very definition of Hell.

America and its NATO allies, just like the Russians, have to leave. Plots against America can be planned anywhere. Afghanistan is the worst place in the world to fight a war. Alexander the Great found that out, the Soviets, and now it is our turn.

I think I know why we are still there. Neither Bush, nor Obama, want to be the President who was defeated by an enemy that isn’t even an army or even a local militia. It is a group of Islamic fanatics for whom time stopped in the seventh century. That is still the calendar in Afghanistan today, so many centuries later.

Not to put too fine a point on it, despite the heroism and sacrifice of our armed forces, but America hasn’t actually won a war since World War II and hasn’t formally declared war since 1941.

There will surely be punishment for the soldier who committed this massacre, but some may look back and conclude this was the day Americans decided finally to leave. We left Vietnam. We have left Iraq—twice now. The Middle East may someday embrace the values of freedom and liberty, but not in our lifetimes, if ever.

Estimates of the total U.S. military expenses in Afghanistan are calculated to exceed $190 billion.

In 2010 alone, U.S. military assistance to Afghanistan was $5.6 billion. Some element of those billions was spent on humanitarian infrastructure, health, community development, education and other worthy, but utterly wasted efforts. Most was stolen by an utterly corrupt “government” led by Hamid Karzai.

Afghanistan has no income producing agriculture, industrial or economic structure. Its only export of any significance is opium with which to produce heroin.

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest American war we have ever fought, longer even than the war in Vietnam. Pay no attention to the “progress” reports by U.S. generals. There has been no progress in Afghanistan. There is only the dark hole of Islamic fanaticism.

It is time to leave Afghanistan. It is time to leave Hell.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


TexasFred said...

By definition, a WIN will NEVER happen in Afghanistan, you can't beat an ideology.

Muslims get offended by Mohamed jokes, Quran burning, ham steaks, oysters and only God knows what else, you can't beat that type of thinking.

Some may think me a thug or war monger, whatever, but there is only one way to defeat Islam, and that is to KILL each and every last one of them.

That's not going to happen.

Alan Caruba said...

@Fred: Just a tad over the top. There are more than a billion Muslims in the world. Better to convert them to any other religion. Islam stamped out Christianity in the Middle East (the Church moved its hq to Rome)and it would be nice to see that reversed, eh?

Lime Lite said...

I agree 100% with you Alan. This is an un-winnable situation and the USA and it's coalition forces need to leave asap. We should stop taking their refugees in as well. No more heartbreaking stories about how their women and children are oppressed. I don't want to hear it. No more foreign aid either. Leave them to sort out their own country. Let them sell their opium to Pakistan to survive. The two deserve each other.

Ronbo said...


Mission accomplished: Osama bin Laden is dead!

Big Victory parade in Times Square!

The stinking hole is not worth another dead American soldier!

ajdshootist said...

Im with TexasFred on this one get all the Troops etc out of there and then Nuke it.

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

Perhaps it is time for a new policy to be applied to hostile Islamic countries in general (not just Afghanistan)?
A large portion of the Islamic world cannot even feed itself. Egypt, the bread basket of the Roman Empire would see a Somali level famine if it wasn't cashing in its currency reserves to subsidize food Imports. Afghanistan, once a major agriculture source of nuts has cut down its forests and pretty much grows poppies.
We don't need to fight these people and we don't need to save them either. No trade, no aid, no immigration with these countries or others who trade with them. Isolate them and let Allah provide (or not). Leave the military to conduct punitive raids to stop WMD / offensive weapons production or as a response to a terror attack.

James said...

Huh? Imagine that... Ron Paul has been saying this for years, and yet... His foreign policy has been decried by you as "crazy". The inevitable result of a multitude of foreign entanglements is just such. Years and years of bloated spending, lives lost and dissolution of support at home.