For all intents and purposes, I’m one of the people who would have very much loved it if we ended our time in Afghanistan. Pulling out of it and other countries that we still have a military presence in was, I felt, a goal we should have strived to achieve. Not only was it monetarily expensive, but it cost lives in some of these places as well.
However, the desire to withdraw our troops from these countries was always counterbalanced with the understanding that there was no real withdrawal. Even if we managed to pull every soldier and warfighter out of a place like Afghanistan, funding and supplies would still have to be arranged for the Afghan military forces we trained and left behind to keep the peace and prevent the rise of terrorist forces in the region from steamrolling over them and taking the country back over.
The withdrawal should have been slow, organized, and careful like surgery. Instead, what did end up happening is we made it quick and sloppy, like ripping a band-aid off a stab wound. I would like to say that our sudden removal from Afghanistan would be the end of it, but it’s not. As I covered yesterday, our troubles are just beginning. The Taliban terrorist group that has taken over the country hates America, and they hate us just as much as other terrorist groups hate us, and many of these terrorist groups are willing to do something about it.
The United States no longer wants to be in what we call “forever wars” or places where the American military is deployed in perpetuity in order to keep the peace, suppress terrorism, or secure American interests in general. I’m one of these people, but the fact is, we’re in a forever war whether we like it or not.
These groups in the Middle East that you see on the news aren’t the freedom fighters that some in the media believe them to be. They don’t have the “we leave you alone, you leave us alone” attitude you see from many other countries in the world. These are religious extremists. They want a fight. They want to conquer, convert, and enslave. They believe Islam should dominate the world and they will achieve this by any means necessary, including by force or by overwhelming local populations with their higher birth rates. They want to eliminate any government but Sharia, and every religion but Islam.
To be clear, you are at war, and I don’t just mean the country. I mean you. They want to kill, convert, or enslave you.
There is no avoiding war from an enemy who wants it that badly. The question isn’t “do we want to fight this war,” the question is “how do we want to fight this war.” The smart thing to do would have been to establish a stable government with a stable military force capable of doing what it needed to do in order to keep itself and the rest of the world safe. We didn’t do that.
Now we need to be on the alert. Since we’re not fighting this war overtly, we now need to fight it subversively. Terrorists will inevitably attack us and it’ll be up to our intelligence community to stop them before it happens. It’s unclear if they’ll get every single one before they happen.
So we can safely assume the war has moved to our shores and into our cities. It’s very likely that many of these terrorists will do as they have done previously and come in through the southern border, currently wide open. It’s now up to you to make sure you’re as defended as you can possibly be, and I don’t just mean through police. You’re at war, and these terrorists will remind you of that periodically. You’ll hear politicians talk about peace, but it will be a lie. There is no peace from those who will kill you and your family in the street with knives, guns, or bombs. The most you’ll be able to do is look after yourself.
This will inevitably lead back to us putting boots on the ground in these countries in order to address the problem at its source, but we should understand what the difference is between boots on the ground and what we’ve been doing as Dan Crenshaw noted in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed:
Its advocates are unable to distinguish between wasteful nation building and a small residual force that conducts occasional counterterror operations. As a result, when many Americans hear that there is a single soldier on the ground in Afghanistan, they interpret it to mean ‘nation building’ and ‘world police.’ That’s wrong. There are a lot of foreign policy options between nation building and giving up.
The U.S. presence in Afghanistan was meeting the original strategic goal of denying a safe haven for terrorists and preventing another 9/11. The 18 months before withdrawal saw no U.S. combat deaths. Does that really sound like ‘endless war’ in any traditional sense? More important, does it sound better or worse than the current outcome?”
So long as the idea exists in the minds of extremists, we will be at war.