We Cannot Abandon Afghanistan

Does the Obama administration understand why we invaded Afghanistan?  Does Obama understand that we have no choice but to remain in Afghanistan until we can establish a stable government that will not allow the country to be a base for terrorism?

The Christian Science Monitor has reported that White House Chief of Staff  Rahm   Emanuel   told CNN it would  be “irresponsible” to send more troops into Afghanistan before the political situation is resolved.   Actually it would be irresponsible to wait for the political situation to be resolved before committing sufficient troops to stabilize the situation.

We invaded Afghanistan in 2001 because the Taliban government of Afghanistan had allowed the country to be used by a group of  al Qaeda terrorists who had attacked New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11.  We cannot afford to leave until we can be assured that the country has a government that will not allow the country to be used to stage any more attacks against the U.S.

Emanuel said it would be “reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop levels if, in fact, you haven’t done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create.”

Does Emanuel understand  what  the impact of  Soviet rule followed by the rule of the Taliban?    Both governments followed policies of discouraging, and in some cases eliminating, those  who didn’t blindly accept government orders.

The only people who had any experience operating a government were in the Taliban and they relied on terror to rule.  Time will be required to find and train honest individuals who will not abuse their government positions.

Early volunteers for government service have often been dishonest, because dishonest people are more willing to take risks than honest people.  It will be difficult to attract honest people until  we can eliminate the violence that discourages them from getting involved.

If none of those who currently are interested in leading the government are capable of providing effective leadership, we will have to  look for  and  develop new leaders.   We may have to rebuild the country beginning at the local level.

Withdrawal before the country  has a viable anti-terrorist government is not an option.   Osama bin Laden would claim a major victory for violent Islam and use the victory to substantially increase recruitment.

Afghanistan is sometimes compared to my war [Vietnam] because it is a difficult place to defend against a guerrilla war.  However,  our adversaries in Vietnam never attacked  American cities or supported terror attacks  on American cities.  Our adversaries in Afghanistan have attacked American cities before and want to use the country as a base for future terrorist attacks   against the United States and other countries.

We need to stay as long as it takes to prevent the country from once again becoming a base for terrorism even if that takes another 20 years.  We still have troops based in Germany and Japan 64 years  after we defeated them in World War II even though they are peaceful countries.

No one would suggest that police forces in American cities  discontinue efforts to stop criminal street gangs just because efforts to stop them have not been completely successful. The police have to do whatever they can to limit gang activity so long as these gangs pose a threat.

We should not abandon efforts to limit the activities of  international gangs of terrorists just because efforts to eliminate them have been unsuccessful.  The U.S. and other nations have to do whatever is necessary to limit the activities of terrorist gangs and attempt to keep them from gaining secure bases from which to operate.


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