It's hard to believe that 8 years have already passed since that day I came down from the bedroom to see on the television smoke billowing out of a hole in the side of one tower of the World Trade Center. We all know what happened next.
A month after the attacks, it was announced that Al Qaida was responsible and they were being sheltered in Afghanistan by the Taliban. That discovery put NATO to the test. I doubt anybody in Europe expected the treaty to go into effect because the U.S. was attacked. After all, NATO was formed to protect Europeans from other Europeans using the U.S. as the muscle.
Our NATO allies went into Afghanistan reluctantly, and some are still there with us. What is upsetting to me is that all through Bush's administration, all the noise from the anti-war crowd was centered on Iraq. Nobody had any beef with the American military operating in Afghanistan. After all, Al Qaida attacked us, and their Taliban allies provided a home base.
Fast forward to the present. The Iraq war is winding down. The Iraqi government is more and more able to handle their own affairs. All the while, Afghanistan was placed on the back burner. The commanders in that theatre struggled to do the job with less than adequate manpower. The Europeans only had (and still have) a token presence--just enough to say they are abiding by the NATO treaty, but it isn't enough.
With Iraq winding down, we should have the manpower to finish the job in Afghanistan. After all, in the War on Terror, Afghanistan is a must-win. Osama bin Laden is still there. Pakistan is unstable and has nukes that could be turned on our troops, our navy, or our nearby allies.
In 2009, after 8 years of silence, the anti-war crowd suddenly wants us out of Afghanistan? It's an inconceivable idea to me. We have been undersupplying our forces in the more important conflict for 8 years, just enough to hold the campaign to a stalemate. Now that the resources are being freed up, these people want to withdraw completely.
Let me remind you of the situation in Afghanistan before the U.S. arrived. Taliban destroyed ancient giant Bhudist statues, archeological artifacts, because they were not Islamic. The Taliban gave Al Qaida a country in which to operate openly and freely. Women were treated worse than dogs. People were maimed and killed for not practicing an extreme and distorted version of Islam.
If the U.S. pulls out now, things will not go back to the way they were in 2001. It will be far worse. The Taliban will take back the country, and probably take a good chunk of Pakistan with it. Al Qaida will have their base of operations back. Both the Taliban and Al Qaida have more motivation than ever to attack The United States on American soil.
Remember September 11, 2001. Remember watching all those innocent Americans and foreign expat civilians DIE that morning.
Pulling the military out of Afghanistan right now is absolutely stupid. After all, why not sacrifice of a few million civilians in a nuclear blast when it would save a few thousand soldiers from dying in an attempt to prevent it.