HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Tom Nichols (The Atlantic...

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 09:58 AM

Tom Nichols (The Atlantic): The American public now has what it wanted (Afghanistan)

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/afghanistan-your-fault/619769/

And now those same Americans have the full withdrawal from Afghanistan they apparently want: Some 70 percent of the public supports a pullout. Not that they care that intensely about it; as the foreign-policy scholar Stephen Biddle recently observed, the war is practically an afterthought in U.S. politics. “You would need an electron microscope to detect the effect of Afghanistan on any congressional race in the last decade,” Biddle said early this year. “It’s been invisible.” But Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden all ran on getting out of the war, and now we’re out.

What the public does care about, however, is using Afghanistan as raw material for cheap patriotism and partisan attacks (some right and some wrong, but few of them in good faith) on every president since 2001. After the worst attack on U.S. soil, Americans had no real interest in adult conversation about the reality of anti-terrorist operations in so harsh an environment as Afghanistan (which might have entailed a presence there long beyond 20 years), nor did they want to think about whether “draining the swamp” and modernizing and developing Afghanistan (which would mean a lot more than a few elections) was worth the cost and effort.

Nor did Americans ever consider whether or when Afghanistan, as a source of terrorist threats to the U.S., had been effectively neutralized. Nothing is perfect, and risks are never zero. But there was no time at which we all decided that “close enough” was good enough, and that we’d rather come home than stay. Obama made something like this case during the 2011 surge, and Donald Trump tried to make a similar argument, but because Trump was too stupid or too lazy to understand anything about international affairs (or much else), he made it purely as a weaponized political charge and, as with his inane attempts to engage North Korea, in a search for a splashy and quick win.

Biden’s policy, of course, is not that different from Trump’s, despite all the partisan howling about it from Republicans. As my colleague David Frum has put it: “For good or ill, the Biden policy on Afghanistan is the same as the Trump policy, only with less lying.”

But as comforting as it would be to blame Obama and Trump, we must look inward and admit that we told our elected leaders—of both parties—that they were facing a no-win political test. If they chose to leave, they would be cowards who abandoned Afghanistan. If they chose to stay, they were warmongers intent on pursuing “forever war.” And so here we are, in the place we were destined to be: resting on 20 years of safety from another 9/11, but with Afghanistan again in the hands of the Taliban.
__________________________

I don't agree with the author's premise (towards the end of the article) that Biden's exit was shameful. I do agree that it's come to such a tragic end, but that was known, and agree with the rest of the article that it was the right thing to do. 2/3 of Americans don't want troops occupying Afghanistan. We have domestic terrorists here. Let's deal w/ those & leave the rest of the world to take care of itself for once while we sort out our own problems.



11 replies, 1237 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:06 AM

1. I have the photographic evidence that I forcefully objected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Many are of me in a crowd of MILLIONS of people who similarly objected.

More than a few are me along with 20 or so like-minded folks on the street corners of my little town (which is solidly purple now - a fact I'd like to believe was helped along by our very visible presence).

I'm irritated that the millions of us who took to the streets about this are now whitewashed out of these analyses.

We objected. Loudly. Visibly. We were called un-American and unpatriotic. But we were out there

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Arazi (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:56 AM

11. Afghanistan just didn't have significant protests in America, sorry

I was young, but remember it well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_the_war_in_Afghanistan#2001

The rest of the world had more of a problem with it, but in America the protests were fairly anemic.

Iraq was a totally different story, of course.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:09 AM

2. I disagree with the shameful bullshit .... . .

We lost troops. 1.1 trillion dollars spent. The Taliban will damage themselves and they hate the Shias. Afghanistan is surrounded by Shia's countries.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Lovie777 (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:20 AM

4. No, it's not surrounded by Shia countries

Just Iran borders it. The other majority (or close to, of Muslim population) countries are Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Lebanon. The other countries bordering Afghanistan (Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and a tiny border with China) have the same or lower figure for Shia population than it.

https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2009/10/Shiarange.pdf

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:18 AM

3. There's no good answer to this. Thousands of our loved ones have died for what?

Now that we have an entirely new set of negotiations before us with the Taliban, and given the fact that we will no longer be spending billions of dollars to continue the war, perhaps many of those billions can be redirected, or re-appropriated into needs within our own country. Yes, I know the military budget is set, but when the next budget hearings come up, we should do our best to put some of that money to work in support of the infrastructure plan, and other high dollar programs that will actually help us, not just Raytheon.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Firestorm49 (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:26 AM

6. The only complaint I have is instead of pulling out in a week,

When not a month. Evacuating the embassy could and should have been done weeks ag. Getting out the Afghanistan population who helped us should have been a 100 percent or near it. Other then that, I’m glad we’re almost done with it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:21 AM

5. In all of the debates that took place across 2019 and 2020, I don't think

a total of 5 minutes, cumulatively, was spent in discussion over Afghanistan.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:44 AM

7. He was retweeting most of David Rothkopf's tweets

yesterday and said he agreed with most of it. Don’t agree with some of his views on this .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:46 AM

8. "The lesson will be repeated until it is learned."

I found this Daily Beast article from 2014 that really clarifies our failure in Afghanistan and other such conflicts. Here are some excerpts, but the whole article is worth a read:

"Why Can't the Most Lethal Military in History Win Its Wars?"

[...]

Early and dramatic success in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was soon followed by year after year of frustrating, inconclusive operations and political setbacks. The Taliban today is stronger than it was when American forces first deployed to Afghanistan in 2001. When Obama withdrew American forces from Iraq in December 2011, the country was awash in sectarian violence, and any hope of establishing a pro-Western, democratic regime there had vanished. Iraq was a war, writes journalist George Packer, “conceived in deceit and born in hubris, a historic folly that took the American eye off Al Qaeda and the Taliban, while shattering Iraq into a million bloody pieces.”

What explains this unenviable record of achievement? [...]

Some analysts locate the problem within the military’s culture. Most of America’s opponents in operations since World War II, and particularly since the end of the Cold War, have been non-state actors and insurgents highly skilled and resourceful in taking on conventional military forces in “asymmetrical warfare.” American forces have been trained, organized and indoctrinated in conventional operations using high-tech weaponry, so they have been fighting with a considerable handicap.

[A]ccording to an increasingly influential chorus of foreign relations scholars and historians such as Andrew J. Bacevich, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt, the fundamental problem lies not in the military itself, but in the realm of American politics and grand strategy. One administration after another has engaged in imperial overreach, trying to reshape societies and entire regions of the world about which, despite the vast intelligence assets they command, they remain fundamentally ignorant.


[link:https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-cant-the-most-lethal-military-in-history-win-its-wars|

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:51 AM

9. Tom needs to find a better public.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to onetexan (Original post)

Mon Aug 16, 2021, 10:53 AM

10. aw, another war monger just disappointed in the end of another forever war.

how sadz.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread