FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Congress Should Just Say No to Trump’s Afghanistan Surge

With the US occupation of Afghanistan well into its sixteenth year and the country no closer to becoming a stable democracy than it was in late 2001, Antiwar.com reports that this isn’t an “all options are on the table” scenario.

President Donald Trump seems to have rejected the idea of withdrawing US troops and ending the war. Instead, he intends to become the third president in a row to roll the dice on a “surge” — that is, to send in more troops (the initial estimate is anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 more in addition to the current 8,400) and hope for the best.

That idea has never worked before and it’s not going to magically start working now. If Trump can’t bring himself to put an end to America’s Afghanistan misadventure, Congress should force him to do so by either repealing its “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” or using its power of the purse to cut off funding for military operations in Afghanistan.

The US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been nothing but epic fail from the very beginning.

First, it was quite likely unnecessary. After the 9/11 attacks — carried out by terrorists from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon — president George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers hand over Saudi national Osama bin Laden. The Taliban offered to do so upon the presentation of evidence, even though they were under no obligation to do so in the absence of an extradition treaty. Rather than proffer the requested evidence, Bush chose war.

Secondly, instead of invading, finding, and capturing or killing bin Laden and coming home, the troops were set to play at the game of “nation-building.” While they toppled the Taliban regime and began setting up what they hoped would become a western-style democracy instead of immediately going after bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora, he and his compatriots made their escape over the border into Pakistan. It was nearly another decade before bin Laden was hunted down and assassinated.

Finally, even after it became clear that the forces which denied the Soviets victory in a decade-long war from 1979-89 could and would do the same versus US forces, first Bush and then Barack Obama just kept doubling down, pouring American blood and treasure by the gallon into soil from which peace and democracy refused to sprout. Trump apparently wants to go down in history as Afghanistan failmaster number three.

The US occupation will never achieve its purported goals. If Afghanistan is going to change, it will be the Afghans who change it. They’re not interested in being told how to live by Russians, by Americans, or by anyone else. Can’t say as I blame them.

This column is dedicated to the memory of R. Lee Wrights (1958-2017)

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail