I for one feel a little less alone on the issue of Afghanistan now, reading George Will in today’s Globe (6/24/2010). He even used the phrase, “Viet Nam redux”. He also said, “The American undertaking in Afghanistan is a fool’s errand . ..” I said as much in my post of March 13, 2010, “Is Afghanistan the Next Viet-Nam?”. In that post I detailed some reasons why I thought Nation-building was a hopeless proposition in that distant,
corrupt and strange land.
The Ship of State is like a mighty oil tanker and one does not put the helm over for a serious course change carelessly or lightly – there is massive
momentum to overcome. And then there is the political cost of changing one’s mind. President Obama has been committed to this Afghanistan strategy since his campaign. To radically change now would open him to charges of poor vision and might well end his political career, but it is conceivable that the people will admire him for doing what is right. I know I would. There comes a time when it is apparent that a strategy isn’t working and needs to be re-thought. That time is now. Will the President opt for stubbornness, or for what is right?
America needs a national debate on the Afghanistan War, its sources, its validity and its goals. I believe the President should publicly recognize that the nation and the experts are divided and declare the subject open to debate. He should lay out all the issues in public, including the appropriate intelligence, and set out at least two options for future strategy for the War on Terror, one of which should be a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan, perhaps coupled with increased support for the use of Pakistani forces in putting down the Taliban. The President should formally offer his own recommendation on which course to take and demand a Congressional endorsement of one or the other, in effect a formal declaration of War (which Congress has thus far avoided, but which is its duty).
In considering this thinking I came across a thoughtful essay by a Libertarian writer shortly after 9/11 which I found instructive, so far as reasoning out the motivations for military intervention in Afghanistan. The link is HERE.
I do not profess to be a Libertarian, but I will take good ideas anywhere I can find them and on some days, maybe I am that color. What do Libertarians think about the war now, 10 years later? It too gives food for thought. The link is HERE:
|O Ship of State
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow