We are not going to win. We are not going to stabilize the country. We are not going to win any hearts and minds. The only thing we will accomplish by remaining in this miserable, strife-ridden country is to lose more American lives.
At some point, maybe, we had an opportunity of doing something positive in Afghanistan. With the full support of the international community behind us following the 9/11 attacks, and what was then a true multi-national force, we might have been able to change the trajectory of the country had we not divided our efforts, distracted ourselves, in Iraq. Maybe. We might also have played some role in tipping the balance, however temporarily, in favor of the more rational, civilized, and humane anti-Taliban forces. Possibly.
But, after over 10 years of battle in our nation’s longest war ever, the time for all of this is long past. At some point, we need to look beyond damage-control, face-saving, and Peace with Honor and cut our losses. Nobody wanted to be the last American soldier killed in Vietnam. Who will be the last son or daughter killed in this futile cause?
President Karzai – the titular head of this supposedly sovereign nation – has asked us to get out of rural areas. We should honor this request. And get out. Completely. Now. There is no need to wait until after the election. There is no need for a phased, orderly, face-saving withdrawal. We should remove our finger from every hole in every dike holding back the forces of Taliban repression. And let the water flow.