Published on August 22nd, 2017 | by Virginia State Senator Richard H. Black0
End the Long War in Afghanistan
I support President Trump, but fear his inner circle is out of touch with the needs of America. Pray for Donald Trump and our nation. I fear that Afghanistan will now become his war.
Afghanistan is a death trap for reckless foreign invaders.
In 1842, the British suffered a humiliating defeat during a fighting retreat through winter snows. Their massacre marked the end of a three-year occupation of Afghanistan.
The Soviet Union repeated the British blunder. After a long, draining war, the Soviet Union withdrew in 1989, before dissolving two years later.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia helped defeat the Soviets by establishing Madrassas. Those schools trained youth in Islamic terror and holy war. Osama bin Laden organized al Qaeda as part of the effort. In the end, they defeated the Soviets. When Mikhail Gorbachev finally ordered a withdrawal, he called Afghanistan a “bleeding wound.”
Wise leaders don’t invade Afghanistan. Its rugged terrain and brutal culture make it a death trap for nations. Its vast, remote regions are immune from fanciful schemes to modernize its primitive practices.
President George Bush ignored history and invaded Afghanistan in 2001. U.S. troops fought with admirable valor, skill and determination, but victory eluded them.
President Obama had campaigned on ending America’s fruitless wars. But after his election, he tripled U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan to its peak of 100,000. By the end of his presidency, he had reduced U.S. troop strength in a failed effort to withdraw.
War has raged for 16 years in Afghanistan, making it the longest war in American history. 2,400 GIs were killed and 20,000 were wounded. The war added a trillion dollars to our dangerously bloated debt. Today, 8,500 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan; yet the Taliban are resurgent.
We’ve lost the war. But truthfully, it was lost the day it began. We installed corrupt governments and trained questionable soldiers to defend it. Those soldiers turned their guns on their American instructors with embarrassing frequency. We have little to show for 16 years of lost blood and treasure.
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to draw down these wars. He appointed LTG Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Flynn was a gifted officer, who shared the President’s vision. But he was ousted, for essentially nothing, in a palace coup. The President then appointed LTG McMaster as the new NSA. McMaster was inexplicably hired upon the recommendation of Trump’s arch foe–Senator John McCain.
McMaster insists on sending 4,000 more troops to bolster the flagging Afghan army. But what could 4,000 more troops accomplish that 100,000 troops could not?
If President Trump remains in Afghanistan, it will become his war. Trump’s generals rose through the ranks by implementing the doctrine of regime change. Their advice isn’t worth as much as he thinks.
Unless he wants to become known for the Bush/Obama/Trump Doctrine, President Trump will fold our tents and bring the troops home.
*[Note: Black flew 269 combat missions as a Marine pilot. He was wounded in ground fighting in the bloodiest Marine campaign of the Vietnam War. He retired from the Pentagon as a JAG Colonel.]
*This article originally appeared as an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch August 5, 2017.