At The American Conservative, Robert W. Merry wonders what it will take for U.S. leaders to wake up to the reality that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are a fool’s errand? He writes (abridged):
There is no hope of victory in the war against the Taliban today.
Another verdict on prospects for U.S. victory was issued over the weekend when the Times Magazine published an excerpt from a new book by C.J. Chivers, The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those failed campaigns, suggested the author, have “left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.” He ticks off the many benefits and goals envisioned by the architects of these wars. America’s armed forces were supposed to, he says.
What will it take to wake up U.S. leaders to the reality that this is a fool’s errand? America, it seems, has become inured to endless war fought in distant corners of the globe without any discernible prospect for anything that could be defined as success. Chivers points out that more than three million uniformed Americans have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 7,000 have been killed. Tens of thousands have been wounded, many grievously. Experts peg the total cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars as reaching well into the trillions of dollars.
And yet the American war machine keeps rolling along, year after year. As Chivers writes, “The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command.”
Just so. Afghanistan will go its own way, as it has for centuries past. Not a single further American life should be expended in behalf of this flimsy cause.
Read more here.