We’re stuck. Boots on the ground is a tar baby trick – Osama Bin Laden threw four planes at American landmarks. We moved righteously to punish the Taliban with regime change. They ran into Pakistani mountains and hid. We sought them out to kill them in their sleep.
That was eight or nine years ago. Thousands of the most honorable, courageous troops in the world have died, ten times more have lost limbs and suffered traumatic brain injury. We replaced the Taliban with a corrupt, incompetent government that cannot defend itself. We are outnumbered in the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. While we have not been attacked again, every foiled attempt (Times Square, Shoe Bomber…) merely serves to terrify some and lull others to complacency.
If all we needed to do was punish the Taliban, we could have done that from 30,000 feet. We would have killed and maimed civilians, but we’re doing that now. If we’re going to stick around and defend Karzai, we’re going to be there for decades. We can’t afford it. President Bush started this very ill-advised war by borrowing money and keeping it off the books, and it has cost us billions of dollars and immeasurable respect in the world. Whether we negotiate with the Taliban or merely “phase out” of Afghanistan and Iraq, we need to support our troops – by bringing them home.
Just my opinion.