I agree that it is time to leave Afghanistan, way past time. During the initial stages of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq I bristled at the idea of telegraphing a timetable for withdrawal. Having a timetable is great, there should be an exit strategy, but broadcasting it is just stupid in terms of operational security.
So, I support President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. I think it’s prudent to have an agreement to have access to bases we built should the need arise, but the ultimate mission is complete. We went into Afghanistan to defeat Al Qaida, mission accomplished, Osama bin Laden is dead. The government in place will have to reach an agreement with the different factions still at odds in that country, that is not our job.
Trump met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan today at the White House. He explained, rightly, that Pakistan is to long-term stability in the region. Prior to the meeting, he discussed current American involvement being a police action, not a war. I believe that is a fair assessment.
His comments went off the rail soon after:
I think we are going to have a great meeting today, I know it is an important meeting. I consider this to be a very important meeting because I think we haven’t met the potential of either country. I think the potential with Pakistan, and likewise, the opposite way, I think we have not even come close to meeting it. There is tremendous potential between our two countries and I think Pakistan is going to help us out, to extricate ourselves, we’re like policemen, we are not fighting a war.
If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I can win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill ten million people. Does that make sense to you? I don’t want to kill ten million people. I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth, it would be gone, it would literally be over in ten days. I don’t want to go that route so we are working with Pakistan and others to extricate ourselves, nor would we want to be policemen because basically we are policemen right now and we’re not supposed to be policemen. We’ve been there for 19 years (we are actually going on 18 years) in Afghanistan, it’s ridiculous, and I think Pakistan helps us with that because we don’t want to stay as policemen, but if we wanted to we can win that war. I have a plan in a very short period of time.
Ok, the first rule about military plans is that you do not talk about military plans. The Pentagon lays out multiple options and plans before any military action is taken. They plan for every contingency because that is what they do. They probably have a plan to defend against a Canadian invasion. It is not a big secret that the United States can turn Afghanistan into a parking lot through nuclear, as well as, conventional means. At the height of the Cold War, we had enough nuclear weapons to destroy the earth multiple times.
Also killing ten million people and wiping Afghanistan from the face of the earth may end a war, but it certainly is not a “win.” It would be a disaster of the likes we have never seen. While I’m glad, President Trump does not want to kill ten million people we really can’t give him credit for this because no sane person would.
This statement was utterly unnecessary; he succumbed to his desire to express machismo on the world stage. In making this asinine remark, President Trump missed an opportunity to apply pressure on Pakistan with the press present.
Trump instead could have expressed what Pakistan could do to help the United States extricate ourselves from Afghanistan. The best thing they can and should do is to stop their Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) from supporting the Taliban.
But it is doubtful that Pakistan will change its policy toward the Taliban, so I have to wonder how much help will they be?
That said, I know how President Trump talking about how we could utterly destroy Afghanistan helps to achieve that goal.