Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wise Move

The New York Times reported this week that President Obama has authorized US forces, significantly diminished, to continue combat operations in Afghanistan in 2015, undoing his hasty and ill-adviser retreat from America's longest war. Of course, the announcement has been kept under wraps and is not a complete climb down, as the 'remnants of Al-Qaeda' and not the Taliban per se are the targets. However, given that it is so difficult to distinguish between the two, this distinction is pure decoration to suit Obama's political compulsions.

Iraq is the classic example of why this move was necessary - the departure of American forces from there because Bush and Obama were both unable to conclude a Status of Forces agreement led eventually to the rise of ISIS, which has engulfed the region in flames and brought American forces back. Clearly, any sudden departure from Afghanistan will have a similar, devastating impact that will only bring America back. It is then in the best interests of the US to stay on in whatever diminished capacity and engage in active combat until Afghanistan finally stabilizes. This may take decades more of course. But it's much easier to enter a war then it is to leave one and this is quite unfortunately the price of liberty. 

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