Roger Simon: We should not be in Afghanistan next year
The zero option is a plan to leave zero U.S. troops in Afghanistan after December 2014.
The other option, which never has been named, could be called the "let's break our promise to the American people and keep 10,000 to 16,000 troops in Afghanistan until at least 2024 at a cost of $80 billion or so" option.
Obama now wants to keep thousands of our fighting forces, plus NATO troops, in Afghanistan in four bases, where they can carry out counterterrorism missions and "instruct" (shades of Vietnam) the Afghan army.
That is one long war.
The war in Afghanistan already has cost us about a half-trillion dollars. More than 2,000 Americans have been killed in hostile action, and more than 19,000 have been wounded. Thousands of civilians have been killed.
True, there are things our forces still could do in Afghanistan, such as counterterrorism, which is not to be confused with counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency is when you try to win the hearts and minds of the enemy. Counterterrorism is when you kill the enemy and then try to win their hearts and minds.Our mission that killed Osama bin Laden was counterterrorism. It was highly successful, though highly dangerous. (Bin Laden was sheltering in Pakistan, a country we pay $1 billion per year to conduct its own counterterrorism. But somehow the Pakistanis overlooked bin Laden year after year. Go figure.)
What does Karzai want? "We want the Americans to respect our sovereignty and laws and be an honest partner," he said. And then Karzai delivered his punch line: "And bring a lot of money." The crowd roared with laughter.
We have achieved our goals in Afghanistan. We have won. It is time for our troops to come home. If we stay for another decade, our good war could come to a very bad end.
Roger Simon is Politico's chief political columnist.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Smiles say it all about Santa Fund - 0
- Dec. 29 Santa Fund donor list - 0
- Today's list of Santa Fund contributors - 0
- 'Sometimes, people hit hard times' - 0
- Santa Fund Toy Shop helps 1,185 families - 0
- Unexpected role has its challenges - 0
- Union Leader Santa Fund: Today's list of contributors - 0
- Bonneville continues support of Santa Fund - 0
- 'We do what we can to keep them happy' - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Poll activity slow but steady in Londonderry - 0
- Manchester police recover $2,000 worth of painkillers in drug arrest - 0
- 600 votes cast in Hudson by midday - 0
- Man dies after officer-involved Rochester shooting - 0
- Londonderry polls average 100 voters per hour - 0
- Faulty lamp caused Manchester blaze - 0
- Nashua school members' letter prompts an apology - 0
- UNH Law named a top 100 law school in magazine’s rankings - 0
- Musher Seavey wins Alaska's Iditarod dogsled race; woman with NH ties finishes second - 0
Taken for a ride: Hooksett’s Pinkerton deal
John DiStaso's Granite Status: Shaheen among speakers at Senate Dems' climate change 'talkathon'
Manchester schools project budget surplus