The Conservative line is that we need to take the fight to the terrorists. This makes sense; wipe them out wherever they are and mitigate the risk to humanity posed by their infectious presence on earth. Send em to the hereafter, I say.
Clear thinking Americans largely agree with this. Hunt them down and kill them.
When we first went into Afghanistan, we did so because the Afghan government was complicit in the terrorist training camps that produced the 9/11 murderers. Easy to understand. Wipe out the training camps, wipe out the terrorist organization, and put the smack down on the government. Easy enough. General Patreaus is poised to continue the effort to that end. But has that not already been done?
So what are we still doing there?
If the goal is to prevent terror training camps from operating and also to prevent the country from being used as a terrorist attack launching point, why can’t we do those things without boots on the ground?
Here’s one solution: Set up a strategically placed airstrip. It could be located in any country, so long as it is in range of all of Afghanistan. If more than one strip is needed, fine. From this airstrip, deploy drones or high altitude bombers. Use satellites to continually monitor the country.
As soon as a training camp, or terrorist activity is detected, blow it up. All of it. Done. Next camp.
We could do this forever, or at least until the Afghan government proves that it can manage it’s own affairs in a responsible manner.
This solution would take nothing more than an airfield and a data center to monitor and deploy. We could do away with the silly train-up of Afghan troops and bring the bulk of our guys home. After all, does anyone in their right mind really think that the troops we are training today are not going to be using that training to kill Americans at some point down the road? Did we learn nothing from Iraq and Iran over the last 3 decades?
The humanitarian need for our presence is sad. Yes, the people living in Afghanistan are suffering as Stone Age diplomacy keeps people living in tortured fear. But – I’m sorry to say – that’s not our problem. There are terrible living conditions all across the world and we can’t help them all. Save for one effort: by maintaining maximum freedom here in America, we can lead the world by example. Freedom brings innovation, success and pride. Let the example of freedom here in America be the help we give to all those countries who think totalitarianism is the answer.
And for terrorists….blow them up from afar.