Thursday, February 19, 2009

Max Boot Urges on Endless Afghanistan War

I've mentioned Max Boot before on this blog. He's still an optimistic hawk, but his arguments are flawed and emotional. I do a mini-fisking of his post at saying that Afghanistan is still winnable:
This is a conservative viewpoint that was also occasionally heard during the Iraq War. Some on the right suggested we should not bother with nation-building, which they saw as a utopian undertaking. Why not just depose Saddam and leave the Iraqis alone to sort out their own problems? President Bush thankfully ignored such advice because he understood that a premature exit would spark a terrible civil war with baleful consequences for U.S. interests throughout the entire region.

The reality is that nation building is a utopian ideal that is not working. It has cost about a trillion dollars to occupy and rebuild Iraq. The threat of a civil war is still very real. With the economy tanking its simply unaffordable. It's unfortunate, but if the Iraqis want a civil war that badly, they will have it. There is nowhere in the US Constitution that says American citizens are obliged to stop Middle Eastern countries from descending into civil war. It seems like a lost cause, and people are tired of wasting tax money and lives on it.
The same thing is true of Afghanistan. If we leave now, the Taliban will take over a substantial portion of the country, perhaps even Kabul, once again. The terrorist safe havens that have been established in Pakistan will migrate across the border and U.S. prestige will suffer a crippling blow -- just as the prestige of the Soviet Union suffered from its defeat in Afghanistan. Bad as the situation is in Pakistan today, it will get worse if the U.S. is chased out of the region.

The fact that Pakistan is a terrorist safe haven and there's nothing we can do about, is the reason why this whole project is futile. So what if the terrorists move into Afghanistan? Maybe that's a good thing, they would be easier to hit. For the time being Al Qaeda and the Taliban are sitting pretty in Pakistan, regardless of what our actions are in Afghanistan. So what the hell is the point?

It's been eight years. Do we have the patience for eight more? Twenty more?

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