The home of Sweaty Spice, the 'other' Spice Girl

A significant milestone is about to occur. The 20 year occupation of Afghanistan, the country where the terrorists who launched the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001 planned, executed, and hid will be ending no later than September 11, 2021.

This is a big deal. For many people, including all people in high school today, we have always been at war in Afghanistan. In the interim, three presidents (GWB, Barrack Obama, and Trump) have tried to scale back, and leave, but were thwarted by the generals and military. It was too dangerous to leave. The country was to unstable. The Taliban is really bad.

Lots of rationalization, and while troop levels have been cut, we have been hovering at around 5K (plus or minus) pairs of boots on the ground. Enough to prevent catastrophe, enough to prevent the worst and most oppressive of the Taliban’s efforts of subjugation of the population, enough to prop up a weak government, but not enough to actually “win” (whatever the fuck “winning” looks like.)

Trump, for all his bluster, had the right instinct, to extricate the US from that quagmire. But he was weak, when faced with the pressure from his DOD. Biden, having been a senator when the authorization of force was passed in 2001, and having watched from the catbird seat as VP as Obama struggled, is now resolute to leave. No conditions.

Of course, the neocons, and the standard foreign affairs teams are hand wringing. Gains made by women and other marginalized groups will be wiped out. The power vacuum, will allow the Taliban to run roughshod over the country. The government (that we prop up, and heavily finance) will fold like a house of cards, and there will be chaos left behind.

All of that is true. But so what?

We have been there for twenty fucking years. The place is not on a good trajectory. 4,500 troops (what the estimates are by the chain of command say are needed to maintain stasis, and fight terrorism) are not going to ever get the government to be fully functional. It is time to recognize that spending another trillion dollars, and twenty more years, and 4 more presidents, we will be…

Exactly where we are today.

So, while I can agree that leaving will be bad, especially for the Afghani’s we leave behind. It is no longer our fight. We have trained them, we have funded them, we have protected the political class there. And none of it has worked.

If we leave tomorrow, or next year, or in 2050, it will still be a fucked up place, and we will leave treasure, lives, and hopes there.

Sure, there are implications to the intelligence services, and their ability to see what is happening on the ground, that will lead to some more uncertainty in their assessments. So what. They will figure out how to get their eyes and ears where they need to be. It may be more difficult, but it will still get done.

Bring our soldiers home. I for one am glad that Biden is making this stand, and it seems that he will make it stick.

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