What the hell is the military activity in Afghanistan all about? Wouldn't it be ironic if we had the Russians send in troops to help us secure that country?
One of my Republican conspecifics the other day assured me that the US cannot leave Afghanistan because (a) it would leave a vacuum for terrorists to take over, and (b) it would be expensive to remobilize in case of another attack on America. I don't reckon that these arguments suffice to justify the financial costs of the war there let alone the moral costs.
For the life of me, I can now no longer recall why it was ever considered a good idea to invade Afghanistan. Perhaps it was deemed politically expedient to appear to be doing something in response to the attack on the World Trade Center, but the invasion of Afghanistan, a state which did not carry out or sponsor the attack, was a boneheaded move.
Let's look at some of the reasons I have heard for invading Afghanistan.
1. Terrorists trained there. They also train in Idaho and Pakistan and a thousand other places around the world. Does that we mean we should overthrow every government that is unable to insure that terrorists don't train in their territories and then occupy those states? Wouldn't it make more sense to assist those governments in rooting out terrorist training camps or, if they were uncooperative, to target or surveill the terrorist training camps themselves?
2. They hate us. Lots of people hate us, espceially folks whose countries we have invaded and occupied. The WTC attackers were mostly Saudi Arabians, and lots of Saudis hate America. Should we invade Saudi Arabia and occupy it?
3. It is unstable there and is apt to become a breeding ground for extremists. It was already a breeding ground for extremists when we invaded, and the invasion didn't make things better. We don't have enough troops or money to stabilize the place if they can't stabilize it themselves, and the invasion and occupation fuels anti-American sentiments and Islamic extremism. We didn't give a crap about the stability of Afghanistan when we were engaged in proxy war there with the Soviets during the Reagan/Bush era, so why do we care now?
4. Pulling out will make us look weak. We're not weak by any account, and staying in makes us look stupid, which we may very well be.
We will never be able to afford to turn Afghanistan into Vermont. Hell, we probably can't even bring it up to the level of Texas. The US should get the hell out of Afghanistan.