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Time to Leave Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Political Debate & Discussion' started by KenH, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. KenH

    KenH Active Member

    May 18, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Christopher Preble is correct. I could go along with the first set of additional troops that President Obama sent to Afghanistan but to go deeper into a civil war between the Northern Alliance and the Taliban and to back a corrupt regime is absolutely nonsensical.

    Time to Leave

    by Christopher Preble

    Obama's nation-building project in Afghanistan is a costly folly.

    With his latest escalation, President Obama will more than double the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan compared with when he took office. The president is saying, in effect, that a large-scale counterinsurgency campaign there is necessary to keep Americans safe from terrorism.

    This is a dubious proposition at best. As Obama's national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, noted in October, "The al-Qaeda presence (in Afghanistan) is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies." We don't need 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan chasing down 100 al-Qaeda fighters.

    The real problem is that over the past eight years, the U.S. mission has shifted far beyond the original goal of degrading al-Qaeda's ability to cause harm. Our troops are now chasing after an extremely broad set of objectives, including: promoting "a more capable, accountable and effective" government; cracking down on the cultivation of illegal narcotics; and providing economic assistance in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. What we have seen over the past eight years is a classic case of mission creep. And that mission has a name: nation-building.


    The president contends that the mission isn't open-ended, but his objectives do not lend themselves to an early exit — or, indeed, any exit. Obama's escalation places the burdens of police work, governance and economic development on the backs of U.S. troops and taxpayers, when Washington should be forcing Afghans to take the lead by drawing down our military presence there.


    The U.S. need not maintain more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan in order to keep Americans reasonably safe and secure. Committing more troops in one particularly inhospitable place harms our best interests by pulling us deeper into a bloody guerilla war with no end in sight.

    We should be looking for ways to leave Afghanistan, not excuses to dig a deeper hole.

    - more at www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11023