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Fool’s Errand: NATO Pledges Four More Years of War in Afghanistan
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The longest war in US history just got even longer. As NATO wrapped up its 2016 Warsaw Summit, the organization agreed to continue funding Afghan security forces through the year 2020. Of course with all that funding comes US and NATO troops, and thousands of contractors, trainers, and more.

President Obama said last week that the US must keep 3,000 more troops than planned in Afghanistan. The real reason is obvious: the mission has failed and Washington cannot bear to admit it. But Obama didn’t put it that way. He said:

“It is in our national security interest, especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested over the years, that we give our partners in Afghanistan the best chance to succeed.”

This is how irrational Washington’s logic is. Where else but in government would you see it argued that you cannot stop spending on a project because you have already spent so much to no avail? In the real world, people who invest their own hard-earned money in a failed scheme do something called “cut your losses.” Government never does that.

Isn’t 15 years of US “blood and treasure” enough of a “best chance” to succeed?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced at the summit that thanks to an additional billion dollars in NATO member-country donations, the organization had come up with close to the $5 billion per year that it has pledged to the Afghan government. Of that $5 billion you can guess who is paying the lion’s share. That’s right, we are. We send $3.45 billion every year to, according to Transparency International, the third most corrupt country on earth — while Americans struggle with unemployment, stagnant wages, and inflation. That is why I always say that foreign aid is money stolen from poor people in the United States and sent to rich people overseas.

NATO head Stoltenberg said, “Our message is clear: Afghanistan doesn’t stand alone. We’re committed for the long haul.” How nice of the Norwegian politician to commit Americans to financing the war in Afghanistan for “the long haul.”

When I suggested in a recent interview that the only sensible US policy in Afghanistan would be to bring all the troops home, the host asked whether I was worried the Taliban would rush in to fill the vacuum. That’s what has already happened, I said. The Taliban are stronger than ever in Afghanistan. They control more territory than at any time since the original US invasion in 2001. Despite 15 years of US interventionism, nearly 2,500 dead US soldiers, and well over a trillion dollars, Afghanistan is no closer to being a model democracy than it was before 9/11. It’s a failed policy. It’s a purposeless war. It is a failed program.

The neocons argue that Iraq, Libya, and other US interventions fell apart because the US did not stay long enough. As usual they are wrong. They failed and they will continue to fail because they cannot succeed. You cannot invade a country, overthrow its government, and build a new country from the ground up. It is a fool’s errand and Washington has turned most Americans into fools. It’s time to end this game and get back to the wise foreign policy of the founders: non-intervention in the affairs of others.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan 
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  1. tbraton says:

    I spent nearly six years (from 2010 to 2015) arguing on TAC that we should withdraw from Afghanistan, just as I was making that same point on other forums from 2003 on (when I first started posting on the internet). When we first started fighting there after 9/11, the declared enemy was Al Qaeda, a force largely made up of Arabs. Since 2002, we have been fighting the Taliban, which is made up of Afghans. Thus, we have been fighting Afghanistan’s civil war for them. As another poster on TAC put it in response to one of my comments, Afghanistan was a failed narco-state before we invaded in 2001, it has been a failed narco-state while we have been fighting there, and it will be a failed narco-state after we leave. That pretty much sums it up. It’s long past time that we withdrew from Afghanistan.

  2. I prefer fundage to funding in this context. War profiteers graze on fundage. Providing fundage is the one and only reason to continue murdering people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  3. dearieme says:

    “especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested over the years”: the sunk cost fallacy – the chap is an economic moron, isn’t he?

  4. jtgw says: • Website

    I think we should have just demanded tribute from the Taliban back in 2001. They could either surrender al-Qaeda, or they could pay us a yearly tribute until we captured the culprits. The same with Pakistan: pay up or turn him over.

    • Replies: @WorkingClass
  5. Rehmat says:

    Well NATO has a point to stay put many more years to in Afghanistan. Otherwise, how the hell western power could keep bully two anti-Israel countries, Pakistan and Iran bordering Afghanistan?

    On April 5, 2014, only 34% of Afghan people voted in the country’s presidential election held under US-NATO guns.

    On April 5, 2014, Uri Friedman at Jewish The Atlantic called the election “historic” and the first “democratic election held in Afghanistan’s modern history”. What can I say except that whenever some Zionist Jew praises a government in a Muslim country (Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, etc.) – I smell a skunk walking by…..

  6. anon • Disclaimer says:

    NATO should have been dissolved a long time ago. It is now a dangerous anachronism.

  7. I am left when it comes to politics but I would vote for u they robbed u of the Republican nomination. U would be a sage president of all the citizens of the USA

  8. @jtgw

    I remember an interview with a young Taliban soldier who had some English. He was wearing a big grin, obviously enjoying the attention. “We cannot give you Bin Ladeen” he said. “He is stronger than us”.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  9. jtgw says: • Website

    I would have given the Taliban the opportunity to let our own forces handle bin Laden, if it got them off the hook. Of course, while I’m all for catching the al-Qaeda bastards dead or alive, I’m also happy to concede to their reasonable demands: withdraw our troops from Saudi Arabia and stop sending aid to Israel.

  10. ” As another poster on TAC put it in response to one of my comments, Afghanistan was a failed narco-state before we invaded in 2001, it has been a failed narco-state while we have been fighting there, and it will be a failed narco-state after we leave.”

    Except.. the fundamentalist Taliban was much harder on drug dealing than we are. After all, our country is the prime consumer. Thus, their country has reached never before exceptional levels of narco trade under our occupation, and our assorted warlord allies are some of the most compromised, in addition to the paedophilia we tolerate from them.

    Our narco state, as we continue in our state of narcolepsy.

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