Washington Post Editorial: Don’t Abandon Afghanistan

Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) want the United States us to get out of Afghanistan. and they are trying to enlist support for a resolution which will set a timetable for withdrawal. I am in agreement with the Washington Post. It will be difficult but we should stay the course. President Obama is very popular overseas and it would be wonderful if he found other nations to share this burden with us.
The Post is emphasizing why we should not abandon Afghanistan and I hope conservatives will support Obama if he asks for more troops. According to the Post: “The Democratic left and some conservatives have begun to argue that the Afghan war is unwinnable and U.S. interests can be secured by a much smaller military campaign. Sen. Feingold has proposed a timetable for withdrawal. The alternatives they suggest has already been tried — and led to failure in both Afghanistan and Iraq.”
“For years, U.S. commanders in both countries focused on killing insurgents and minimizing the numbers of U.S. troops rather than pacifying the country. The result was that violence in both countries steadily grew, until a counterinsurgency strategy was applied to Iraq in 2007. As for limiting U.S. intervention in Afghanistan to attacks by drones and Special Forces units, that was the strategy of the 1990s, which, as chronicled by the September 11 commission, paved the way for al-Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington. Given that the Taliban and al-Qaeda now also aim to overturn the government of nuclear-armed Pakistan, the risks of a U.S. withdrawal far exceed those of continuing to fight the war — even were the result to be continued stalemate.
Yet if Mr. Obama provides adequate military resources, there’s a reasonable chance the counterinsurgency approach will yield something better than stalemate, as it did in Iraq.”
“The Taliban insurgency is not comparable to those that earlier fought the Soviets and the British in Afghanistan. Surveys show that support for its rule is tiny, even in its southern base. . . Stabilizing the country will require many years of patient effort and the pain of continued American casualties. Yet the consequences of any other option are likely to be far more dangerous for this country.”

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