Each year September 11th is a sad day of remembrance for our nation, a time to reflect on the lives lost and the ways in which our world changed. Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the fact that the War in Afghanistan, launched in the aftermath of 9/11, continues to this very day and even Forbes magazine, not exactly a right wing rag, has said the war is now “without purpose or end.”. It is way past time to end it.
Let us remember why the War in Afghanistan was launched in the first place. Our mission was to destroy the Al Queda infrastructure in that country, capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and remove the Taliban from power. Those are now all accomplished, and the remaining work to be done will not be accomplished anytime in the near future.
The terrorists are now in different parts of the world, such as Somalia and Libya, and under a different umbrella organization. Their plans are not massive airline strikes but small soft targets like cafes, concerts, and children’s centers. In the long run, we can only continue to prop up the Afghan government by remaining in that country forever. Our experience from South Vietnam as well as the Soviet experience in Afghanistan shows us that those arrangements can only last so long as the sponsoring country has soldiers of its own protecting it.
This is not a solution to the problem. Ultimately, it turns the legacy of the September 11 attacks from that of a wounded nation to an event which launched us on a path of perpetual warfare, with the loss of lives and treasure such an endeavor entails, and which has curtailed our civil liberties so long as it lasts. The time has come to bring the War in Afghanistan to an end so that we can refocus our strategy on protecting the homeland from the newly morphed threat that has emerged.