Leaving Afghanistan

The news about the fall of Afghanistan to a rebel group, the Taliban, is food for the grinder for pundits on all sides to get their views before the facts are known. There is no question the withdrawal is being done with far too much advance notice to the Afghan government.

After the previous administration negotiated a plan with the Taliban bypassing the Afghan government to withdraw by May 2021 while also releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners, the government and military we depended on to help with the withdrawal were left with two choices — stand and fight or get out of town  before the U.S. withdrew. They were well aware their weakness of will was no match for the well trained, dedicated and tough Taliban forces even though they had 20 years of American training and billions of warfighting materials to use. Without U.S. and allies forces to lead them, they simply disappeared.

This took everyone by surprise, so plans for an orderly withdrawal were invalidated leading to a quickly formulated crisis-driven evacuation plan covering thousands of military, civilian and Afghan supporters — no small task. Of course, pundits on both sides — Democrats and Republicans alike — were quick to condemn before the facts were known. Days later, the decision to leave early doesn’t look so bad, despite the bombing by the terrorist group, ISIS.

There have been few casualties, thousands already evacuated, friendly countries and commercial airlines stepping up to help, the governing Taliban negotiating remaining issues — this stupid conflict finally coming to an end hopefully sending a message to our war hawks that winning a few battles militarily is not a way to win peace, only a way to have prolonged participation in rebuilding the damage.

The losers? Weapons of war manufacturers and the politicians they buy to ensure huge profits at the expense of the daily needs of millions of our own people. The military profiteers must now move to bigger and more profitable conflicts easily started in the Middle East turmoil or Asia. Flags will wave and crowds will cheer as our overpriced, underperforming armament rains down on innocents.

The adrenalin rush of the “kill” will soon fade as we start the rebuilding process. Huge government contracts will be awarded, reparations will be paid to damaged countries — the damage dragging on until we finally decide enough is enough and retreat with tails dragging — again.

As long as money rules and runs our political system, there is little hope these cycles of building warfighting capabilities then finding a war to fight will ever end. But we don’t have money to support “the common good” for our own people.

Lee Purrier

Park Rapids

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