The "War" In Afghanistan Is Over:
Okay, enough. We've tolerated this "war" in Afghanistan long enough. Both of the conflicts started by the Bush administration were the arrogant indulgences of a bloated, louche empire in decline. Like wealthy, young Victorian Brits who went off for a couple of years to Africa or India for an adventure among the brown people, this white colonial expedition is nothing more than a pathetic projection of putative power, and, like those Brits, some of whom made fortunes exploiting the lands and others who returned horribly scarred and dismembered, it's time to admit we're spread too thin and that if we haven't failed yet, failure, however long deferred, is merely the inevitable outcome of a mission that was doomed from day one.
Bush fucked it up from the start in making it a "war." He tossed a bunch of goals into a big muck pit instead of doing shit one thing at a time. What should have started as an international criminal pursuit of those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, followed by any military action, if necessary, began as "bomb the fuck out of 'em." Here's the thing: you bomb the fuck out of people who are used to having the fuck bombed out of them then your fucking bombs aren't really going to do much of anything.
But we indulged, on the left, on the right, no, not everyone, but most of us, because of a very human desire for revenge. What that "most" didn't recognize was how irrational it was. And when the invasion of Iraq happened, Afghanistan became that white noise in the background, and we had another, more comfortable target to use as evidence of the irrationality of the previous American regime.
Afghanistan long ago stopped being the "good war," if it ever was, in comparison to Iraq. It's barely a "war" at all. A war is an army fighting an army. The Taliban is a bunch of vaguely organized zealots who make the Vietcong look like the Redcoats. And the United States is merely in the middle of a long and violent internal conflict there, as former Foreign Service Officer Matthew Hoh said upon resigning over the "war." In other words, we are no longer there to pursue al-Qaeda, which is everywhere, including in the United States and Europe; we are invaders propping up a corrupt system we like over the corrupt one we don't. (Which is pretty much par for the course for American foreign policy.) Besides, Afghanistan isn't really a country. It's turf for competing drug gangs. It's time for some in the government and the public to stop thinking that it's like Japan or Germany. Fuck, at this point, Vietnam would be an improvement.
That means President Obama needs to smack down General Stanley McChrystal and his request for tens of thousands of new troops, which might have done something eight years ago. You don't get do-overs. You get to do and then be done. Frankly, it's disgusting to even entertain the idea that a surge would succeed in anything. As the recent bombing in Iraq demonstrated, if fuckin' people wanna fight, if fuckin' people have been fighting forever, they're gonna fight, no matter how long they have to wait to do it. We can keep building thicker walls with the bodies of our soldiers and their citizens, but those will be breached.
The right dithers over whether or not President Obama is dithering, forgetting that George W. Bush took four weeks to decide how to go after the people who attacked us in 2001, and the casualties mount in Afghanistan. Here in the United States, we keep talking about whether or not we can afford health care for all (or funds for education or job programs or infrastructure). Hearing people talk about raising the bet on the "war" is like listening to your bankrupt brother justify why he should pay his cable bill before he buys healthy meals for his kids.
We're not the nation we were in 2001. We are a shadow of that country. We have been chastened. We haven't been defeated. We have defeated ourselves. It's time to admit it, withdraw, and start to heal within.