Is the U.S. right to leave Afghanistan?

Note to our overseas participants:  "We" below is a first person plural referring to your truly, fellow Americans, and military allies.



We fought a war in Vietnam, pulled out, and left our allies there in the lurch, it seemed.

It seems like we entered Afghanistan uninvited to eliminate its use as a terrorist base, supported a non-Taliban government, and now are seeing slaughters and the return of leaders who will nurture terrorists.  

Am I missing something?

The question is not, "Should we have been there in the first place?"  The question is, "Since we have been there, are we right to leave it and allow everything to cave and revert?"  Has our time there been a waste?

Yes, we did as much as we could and we are right to leave, but we accomplished little.
20% (5 votes)
Yes, we are right to leave because we have accomplished our goals.
8% (2 votes)
Yes, we are right to leave simply because we have been there long enough (or other reason not stated above).
12% (3 votes)
4% (1 vote)
No, we went there for a purpose (right or wrong) and should not leave and allow things to revert.
48% (12 votes)
No (for other reasons).
4% (1 vote)
4% (1 vote)
Total votes: 25
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There are 11 Comments

josh p's picture

I think we should leave. I highly recommend "After War: The Politcal Economy of Exporting Democracy". In it, the author demonstrates that in almost every country in which we have intervened in their affairs, we leave it less free. I believe the same will apply here. 

Mark_Smith's picture

Just like Vietnam, not enough people in that country want freedom. They are willing to cave to the extremists. So, we cannot and should not prop them up when thye won't help themselves. Time to move on.

Joeb's picture

Other than air support we should get out.  The soldiers we trained dont really want the freedom and only want Sahira Law.  Plus the guys at the top are totally corrupt.  Time to get out.  The current army is ior was three times the size of the Taliban and has every advantage but still won't stand and fight.  It's a shame because of Islam their sin they take a Country blessed with Hugh mineral resources that could give a much better standard of living for their people and waste it.  

I heard a US General speak a while back and he said he thanked God for young men and in the US still having a warrior ethos and a will to fight. The General commented that in the the west that ethos was disappearing amongst the youth.  I don't know if I agree with that.  

Ed Vasicek's picture

In the case of Vietnam, the South Vietnamese leaders asked for our help.  In the case of Afghanistan, we invaded for the purpose of eliminating a terrorist safe haven.

It is now a terrorist safe haven, and the people who enjoyed more freedom for a time are being killed.  If the U.S. could not defeat the Taliban in nearly 20 years, how could we expect these people to do so?

In both instances, what did we really accomplish?

"The Midrash Detective"

Mark_Smith's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:

It is now a terrorist safe haven, and the people who enjoyed more freedom for a time are being killed.  If the U.S. could not defeat the Taliban in nearly 20 years, how could we expect these people to do so?

I strongly disagree. The only people that can defeat the Taliban are the Afghanis. Foreigners can't do it. Someone there has to man up, drop the backward beliefs, and fight those buggers. They won't. They didn't. Afghanistan collapsed. There is no need to stay there.

Ed Vasicek's picture

This BBC article (analysis) just came out from the BBC; I couldn't have expressed this better:

There's also a difference between enforcing your will as the world's policeman, and being a peacekeeper. Thousands of American troops are still stationed in South Korea - even though the Korean war was 70 years ago. The calculation of successive US presidents has been that a tense peace is better than a hot war or a destabilised region.

Joe Biden was hoping his decision would result in headlines like "Afghan War Ends" or "America's longest war is over". But 20 years on, and the Taliban now re-establishing control with all that could flow from that, might historians in future judge that the 20th anniversary marked the start of the second Afghan war?



Twenty years on and so many lives lost, and so many billions of dollars spent, what was it for? What's been achieved? What do you say to the families of all those servicemen killed by the Taliban now that the US is giving up? What's to stop terror groups from re-establishing their jihad training camps? At the UN Security Council hearing last Friday it was reported that up to 20 different terror groups, involving thousands of foreign fighters were already fighting with Taliban forces.


"The Midrash Detective"

Joeb's picture

The First time we were involved in Afghanistan it was to give Russia their Vietnam. If we had stayed out of it then today we might not have the problem.  We got the Saudi's involved and gave arms to the supposed freedom fighters.  We also gave them man portable Antiaircraft Missiles which was a game changer.  Many of those supposed freedom fighters became El Quida.  Also the Saudi's funded the Madrasses that brainwashed plenty of future soldiers for the cause.  So this is our second go around with Afghanistan and abandoning them.  

If the US left Russia alone maybe we wouldn't have the problem today albeit while watching the Afghan people getting totally slaughtered.  Let's get real the Russians way of doing business would be genocide and practicing total war.  At that time they had the stomach for it we didn't. 

So it needs to be remembered.  Historically the Republicans created every Islamic Terrorist except for the PLO.  The Republicans created an Islamic Militant Iran. They creates El Quida and ISIS.  Those are absolute facts.  If we left Afghanistan alone the first time most likely no El Quida.  If we didn't invade Iraq no ISIS.   If we didn't install Shah in Iran in 1953 over a democratically elected government there is a good chance there would be no Militant Iran.  Each step of the way THE REPUBLICANS BUNGLED THEIR OPERATIONS.  

The PLO came out of the relationship the Palestinians had with NAZI Germany. SS Lt Colonel Otto Skorzeny trained Arafat and many of the Egyptian Military Officers. 

So remember the above when we speak about Afghanistan.  

Ed Vasicek's picture

Whether we were right or wrong to get involved with Afghanistan (and let's assume that it was wrong for purposes of discussion), it is important that we honor our mistakes.  Joshua did with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:1-27 with Joshua 10:1-15).

The modern way is not to honor our mistakes. Pregnant out of wedlock? Abortion.  Doubting we married our soul mate? Divorce.  To me, this is the same pattern.

"The Midrash Detective"

JSwaim's picture

I agree that the Afghanis were never going to be able to defend themselves and secure their country against the Taliban.  But please, in 2020, how many casualties among US military were there?  Do you know?  Would you believe ten?  To secure that country and stop  AlQueda from having bases there is a small price to pay.  It is also a small price to pay considering the deaths that are occurring there now and will occur in the next days, weeks, and months. 

China is now warning Taiwan:  The Americans will leave you high and dry.  Don't depend on their promises.  I'm afraid that China is right in this warning.  The loss of American influence in the world is a loss for freedom and humnity and is a gain for tyrants everywhere.

Bert Perry's picture

I'm reading a fair number of evaluations of our efforts at nation building, and the errors we made include designing the Afghan force to really work best only with U.S. air support, training the Afghan force without training them in the necessary back end logistics, and probably most importantly not demonstrating to the Afghans how horrible what they've experienced really is, and what they could have with a system more like ours.  

Regarding that last bit, it's a big reason that other long term occupations we've had (Germany, Japan, Korea) have worked out well.  I remember talking with a pastor in Kiel, Germany about what he'd experienced as a POW after the Battle of the Bulge, and he was super grateful that the "Amis" had shown him a movie about the horrors of the Holocaust--due to his Christian upbringing, it ended any thought of remaining loyal to the Nazis.  This movie was shown to pretty much every German adult after the war, and really ended any thought of going "Neo-Prussian", as Germans might phrase it.

Now it's more straightforward with Germany than it was with Japan or Korea, due to common culture/religion and all, but it seems that our great failure in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan is that we never really communicated to them that there is a far better way than what they were doing.

And in this case, the failure is going to result in the rapes of tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Afghan women by Taliban fighters, the murders of thousands of men and women who were working to make the new country work, the exclusion of women from society and girls from education, the freeing of thousands of known terrorists who were rightly in prison for their deeds, and the provision of said terrorists (and Russia and China for reverse engineering) of a treasure trove of U.S. armaments.

It's also worth noting that there are about ten thousand U.S. citizens left high and dry around Afghanistan due to this debacle.  There was a case for withdrawal, but not this way.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

That force was the British Jungle Fighters who excited WW 2 with significant experience.  They completely shut down the Communist Insurgency in Malaysia and when teamed with Japanese Soldiers just after WW 2 the British and Rearmed Japanese Soldiers were crushing the Viet Cong and HoChi Minh.  It's said they were weeks away from destroying the whole Comminist rebellion in Vietnam but Churchhill shut it down.  The British and Japanese did the same in Indonesia and Churchill shut it down.  The Dutch and the French came In afterwards and failed.  So no  record is good.  Plus we didn't practice total war in Afghanistan which would Involve going into Pakistan.  I say if you don't practice total war stay out of it.  

The Russians were practicing total war in Afghanistan and then Republicans got involved once again and gave the Afghan Rebels the man held anti aircraft missiles and took away Russia advantage in Air Power   They also got the Saudis involved which created Osama Bin Ladin   Plus the Saudis financed all the Terrorist Schools   Bright move the Republicans made  

Honor your mistakes and stay out of wars   Iraq was my first bone to pick with the Republicans but the combination of Killary and McCain was just as bad   Both were war hawks and meddled in Ukraine Lybia and Syria and look what that produced  

In Ukraine Obama Killery and McCain meddled with the Europeans and got the Democratically elected President tossed because he leaned toward Moscow. Both sides never learn   Who cares if Moscow influences Ukraine   Regan promised the Soviet Leader Gorbachov that  if he allowed USSR to peacefully fall apart NATO would not surround Russia   Yeah like we kept that promise right   

In Syria and Iraq the Bath Governments protected the Christians from any abuse by the Muslim populations  Both Sadam and Sayid protected them but favored their own group economically.  Discrimination but not religious persecution