Does the title of this post sound surprising to anyone? It shouldn’t. Even President Obama has stated his administration’s goal is to have all US combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Given the recent tragedies in Afghanistan, much public, political and media pressure is coming to bear on the Obama administration to get the troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2013, if not sooner.
There were two tragedies, but the second one has dwarfed the first one. The first tragedy was when a highly-trusted Afghan executed two Americans who were working in a highly-guarded facility where only Americans, NATO allies and the most trusted Afghans are allowed to enter. One of the “most trusted Afghans” turned out to be a Taliban agent or sympathizer, and not only executed two Americans, but even got away unapprehended! The second tragedy was when an American soldier went from Afghan home to home and killed 17 Afghan civilians in cold blood, the majority of which were children. The first link, printed soon after the second tragedy, made the observation that it was a “fatal hammer blow to the US military mission in Afghanistan.” The source sounds like a leftist one, but I think that judgment is accurate. So do many others. The second link, from USA Today, cited Democrat Bob Beckel and Republican Cal Thomas as agreeing that the Afghan war “isn’t working,” a comment just short of stating it is a lost cause.
Put yourself in the positions of an American stationed in Afghanistan and an a Afghan villager who has just heard that an American soldier willfully killed Afghan civilians, including many children. If you were an American, would you truly trust any Afghan after realizing that even one of the “most trusted” Afghans allowed access to an ultra-secure facility turned out to be a Taliban agent and executed two Americans? I think the answer is “no.” That the killer was able to get away uncaught indicates that other “most trusted” Afghans must have helped him do his deed. Diplomats will say all the right things, of course, but no American will ever look at even their most trusted Afghan counterparts with much trust any more. And as news of the American soldier’s rampage against Afghan civilians spreads from village to village and from tribe to tribe, the Afghans will not look at any Americans with much trust either. This tragedy also highlights the issue that one cannot assign soldiers to endless combat tours of duty and not expect some of them to “snap” in a way which destroys the strategic goals of any war itself. Reportedly, the soldier who did this horrible deed was in his fourth combat tour.
Full article: America’s Days in Afghanistan Are Numbered (Steven Mcollins)