President Trump has had his administration working behind the scenes for the past 16 months to finally end America’s “forever war” with Afghanistan. As bizarre as it sounds, American kids who were born after the September 11, 2001 attacks are now old enough to enlist in the military, get sent to Afghanistan, and get blown up in a roadside bomb built by an Afghan kid who was born after the 9/11 attacks.
The question on the minds of most of these days is, “Why are we still there?”
After the “Afghanistan Papers” were published in the Washington Post in December, everyone now knows the truth. US military commanders have been lying to us for years. The conflict has been a mismanaged and wasteful farce for more than a decade – long before President Trump’s election in 2016.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says, “I can’t meet a general anywhere who can tell me, really, what is the mission we’re trying to accomplish in Afghanistan.”
The American taxpayers have been ripped off to the tune of more than one trillion dollars from the Afghanistan adventure. Trump inherited a war that the Obama administration bungled so badly that Joe Biden is now distancing himself from the president he served under for eight years.
In a rare moment of lucidity after the Afghanistan Papers were published, Biden threw his old boss under the bus, saying, “I’m the guy from the beginning who argued that it was a big, big mistake to surge forces to Afghanistan.”
This was a lie, of course, or maybe Biden just forgot what his stance was on the “surge” that accomplished nothing. But at least he spoke in complete sentences and didn’t call anyone bizarre names as he was attacking Barack Obama.
No one knows what we’re doing in Afghanistan, why we’re still there or what the objective is. Afghanistan has lots of poppy fields and lithium deposits for electric car batteries. While heroin dealers, drug cartels and Elon Musk probably benefit from a continued American presence there, what are the rest of us getting out of it? Just asking for a cousin who now has a prosthetic leg thanks to his tour in Afghanistan. Can anyone give us an answer?
Thankfully, John Bolton has been fired and booted out of the White House, so he won’t be there to screw up any new peace negotiations like he did in North Korea. President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were making great progress in talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un… until Bolton blurted out in a meeting with the North Koreans that if they didn’t cave to all of his demands, Kim Jong Un would be dealt with under the “Libya Model.”
The thing about peace talks is that they tend to fall apart if a self-important weasel with a moustache out of a Dr. Seuss book threatens to kill the other side’s leader. Good riddance.
But with Bolton out of the way, the Trump administration is making new progress in its talks with the Taliban. After 19 years, it’s clear we’re not going to get rid of the Taliban if we’re not going to fight a real war in Afghanistan anyway. So, Trump’s team has managed to negotiate with them to the point where a 7-day ceasefire is going to be attempted.
Previous ceasefires have failed because the Taliban has so many warring tribal factions in it that someone always screws the deal up with a bombing or two.
But maybe this one will stick. Trump has offered to release 5,000 Taliban fighters from incarceration if the Taliban can get its ducks in a row. That offer probably alarms people like John Bolton, because the Taliban prisoners of war were once fighting American troops. But what else are we going to do? Keep feeding them in prison forever so we can keep boots on the ground in Afghanistan? How’s that working out?
The fact that the Trump administration is ready to turn those POWs loose if the Taliban can behave itself is the most promising sign to date that Trump is serious about this. He wants the troops home from Afghanistan before the election. If that happens, it will be another historic win for an amazing presidency.