BLANKLEY: Futile death in Afghanistan

Wavering commitment kills American troops

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Finally, it is apparent that the strategy of this war has been fatally tainted by domestic political calculation. This proposition was described unambiguously by Bob Woodward in his recent book, “Obama’s War.”

This already is our nation’s longest war, and it shows no sign of ever finishing in accordance with plans. It will end when some president decides he has had enough - or when some future president decides to fight the war to actually win - assuming we have the resources at that point to carry out a victory strategy. We do not currently have such resources in our military.

Until that day comes, we will continue to lose 50, 100, 150 of our finest troops every month. Many more will come home with terrible injuries to the brain and limbs.

I do not understand how, as a country, we can continue to send our troops into that caldron with no rational expectation of success.

The nation’s longest war is quickly becoming our nation’s most pointless war, although it didn’t start out that way. After Sept. 11, 2001, we had to send in troops on a punitive raid to punish the Taliban for giving succor to those who attacked us. After overthrowing them and killing as many as we could, though, our job was done.

But first under President George W. Bush and now under President Obama, a punitive raid has been turned into an exercise in nation-building in a place that does not have a nation in the modern sense of the word. We could reform Germany and Japan after World War II because they were countries before the war. We will never turn Afghanistan into anything capable of exercising close authority over all its land.

The public knows this, even if our government does not. A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed that, for the first time, fewer Americans support U.S. involvement in Afghanistan than oppose it: 44 percent of the public supports the U.S. role there, with 50 percent against. In September, 49 percent supported U.S. involvement, with 41 percent against. Among Democrats, just 33 percent say the U.S. is doing the right thing in Afghanistan; 62 percent say it’s not. Among independents, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has 40 percent support; 54 percent oppose. Republicans are the only group favoring the U.S. commitment, supporting the war 64-31.

The public needs to make a lot more noise about this. We need to save the lives of our troops now from their heroic sacrifice. Where are the tears for our sons and daughters on the front lines? A war that can’t be won should never be fought.

Tony Blankley is the author of “American Grit: What It Will Take to Survive and Win in the 21st Century” (Regnery, 2009) and vice president of the Edelman public relations firm in Washington.

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