With Afghanistan close to a full week of riots over the alleged burning of a Koran by US forces, many Americans are starting to ask what is the point of keeping our military forces in that country. We have fought a war there since 2001 where we deposed the Taliban and are now propping up Hamid Karzai, who is nothing more than a gangster boss posing as world leader. If the purpose was to depose the Taliban and severely weaken Al-Qaeda, by all accounts we have succeeded. If the purpose was to create a functioning, stable democracy in that country, that mission was a failure from the word “go”. If a country wants to riot over the burning of a book, then they clearly cannot sustain a functioning liberal democracy. It is time for the United States to cut our losses in that country and bring our troops home.
Even though President Obama apologized, rightfully even though it was disposing of Korans defaced by Afghan prisoners in this case, Karzai and his cronies whipped up the current and previous Koran riots because he knows the majority of Afghans now see the US and its NATO allies as an occupation force now, not as the liberating force they were seen as in 2001 and 2002. Karzai however is not seen as a legitimate leader by most Afghanis and this gives him a chance to display his nationalist street cred. Afghanistan is still largely lawless, is still a major heroin exporter, still regards women as mere commodities like camels and horses, and much of the foreign is siphoned off to the offshore bank accounts of Karzai and his cronies. The attempt to drag Afghanistan from the Dark Ages into the 21st century has failed miserably by all accounts.
It is time to stop wasting the lives of our young men and women to prop up Karzai and his gangster cronies. It is time to stop throwing away billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money to a bad investment that will never give a return on its value. Our military presence in Afghanistan is a major contributor to Islamist attempts to destabilize Pakistan by making Islamists more popular in that nuclear-armed country than they otherwise would be. Finally, the Taliban are only growing more and more popular in both Afghanistan and Pakistan since they are seen as the only force willing to fight the American occupation. It is time to bring our troops, aid workers, diplomats, and everyone else involved in the Afghan nation building project home, with honor. We need to learn the same lesson the British and the Soviets had to learn, which is you cannot transform Afghanistan from a collection of Dark Ages barbaric feudal fiefdoms to a modern, civilized nation state.
Our only policy toward Afghanistan, and other barbaric hellholes like Somalia, should be the following:
If you want to create a place where women have less rights than goats, where you throw acid in womens’ faces if they go out uncovered, where you can perform all the child weddings you want, behead all the “infidels” you want, forbid TV and music, and generally create a hellish society; go right on ahead. We’re not going to stop you, as long as you keep your barbarism confined to your national borders. However, if you sponsor terrorist groups or anyone else for that matter that attacks American citizens or American national interests; we’ll be back. This time we won’t be coming to build schools and pass out stacks of cash to your tribal chiefs. We’ll be here launching a good ol’ fashioned punitive expedition to wipe out the attackers and those who gave them shelter, which should have been the extent of the US mission in Afghanistan in the first place. We will leave your country even more in ashes and rubble than it already is. Then we will leave, with the simple message, “don’t make us comeback”.
The folly of nation building is clearly seen in the ruins of the Roman Empire, the various European empires, and the first American Empire of McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. It is an even more foolish idea if the nation is populated with homicidal religious fanatics who go on riots if a book is burned. If our politicians and generals do not learn the lessons of history, than you can add the ruins of the United States of America to the dustbin of history.