“Tell Me How This Ends”

This week’s Examiner column argues that we should start withdrawing from Afghanistan:

Each year of the war brings greater violence than the last, with 2008 the deadliest yet for U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians. Civilian deaths dropped somewhat in 2009, but coalition casualties continue to rise–up 62 percent from last year.

Army chief of staff George Casey recently told reporters that the situation will get worse before it gets better, and that “anything you put [in Afghanistan] will be in there for a decade.”

No surprise there: Nation-building is extraordinarily hard. The good news is that it’s almost always unnecessary–and especially so in Afghanistan.

Gen. Colin Powell’s famous “Pottery Barn” principle–”you break it, you own it”–doesn’t apply in this case. We didn’t “break” Afghanistan. We went to war to disrupt Al Qaeda and demonstrate that no government could get away with sheltering a group that killed nearly 3,000 Americans–goals we achieved more than seven years ago.

If Al Qaeda operatives are foolish enough to set up new training camps in Afghanistan, we won‘t need boots on the ground to destroy them. Thanks to advances in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology, we’re no longer limited to Clintonian gestures like lobbing cruise missiles at empty tents. Since 9/11 we’ve repeatedly used UAVs to kill Al Qaeda operatives in countries we’re not occupying, like Yemen and Pakistan….

Mad love to the Cato foreign policy crew for sources and suggestions on this one.


Posted on Jun 23, 2009 in Foreign Policy and Defense | 3 Comments