Lindsey Graham is right. There are no good options in Afghanistan. If we go there could be a cost, if we stay there could be a cost. Donald Trump AND Joe Biden both came to the conclusion that leaving was the only sensible thing to do. Both sides of the isle have internal opposing views on the subject. It is not a Republican vs Democrat view (even though Fox is inferring that it is Joe Biden making a mistake and seeming to forget that Trump was all about getting out by May 1).
There is a reality that I had to learn myself in backing an entertainment project for half a decade loosing money over and over again. The lesson was that if you try to win and loose, then try again and loose, then try again and loose, if you continue to do this the lesson will eventually become clear. How many times to you have to loose until you face the reality that winning is not going to happen?
In Afghanistan it is true that US departure will likely help the Taliban once again take over the country. Once again women will loose their rights; all sorts of bad things can happen. But that will be the case next year, the year after and twenty years from now. How long is the US intending to be there? It is NOT like Germany, Korea, Japan and other countries where American troops are stationed. In those countries we are welcome guests by the vast majority of the people AND the government. In Afghanistan, at best, half of the country objects to the US being present there and actively work to undermine any advances made. The US is an occupier, pure and simple. Meanwhile keeping a few thousand troops there does nothing we cant do with the usual spies and secret operatives the US has always used. CIA do your job!. Why use the Army to do it for you?
As far as the women go – one has to sympathize but then again in the US women had few rights until relatively recently. Afghani women need to stand up just as Saudi women are starting to do. It was a long process in the US and it will be a long process in Afghanistan and many other countries but the US cannot do the job women need to do for themselves.
The Republicans have always argued for small government and few hand outs to the disadvantaged. They argue that making people depending on the Government is “socialism” and a disincentive for the individual to solve his or her own problems. Why is that thinking not applied to Afghanistan? Another lesson I learned while I lived with my family in the Middle East. When the US Government funded improvements via foreign aid, USIA etc. what we Americans assumed would be welcomed were often not considered important by the local people. In one instance when an aid person saw that in one village women had to walk several miles to get fresh water and carried water back to their village with jars on their heads – the decision was make to put in pipes to bring the water to the village and save the women the need to do that long walk. After the pipes were installed and the aid people left, when they returned later to see the fruits of their contribution to the village, they were surprised to see that the pipes had been dug up and sold to give the villagers what they really wanted; a TV set. The explanation? “Why do we need pipes when we have women to go and get the water?”
The point is that if you want to win in places like Afghanistan you need to do what we did in Japan and Germany. Obliterate the status quo of the past and start anew. We bombed Germany – totally destroyed the Nazi party, reeducated the people with “politically correct” views while we occupied the country AND then rebuilt it via the Marshall plan in an image we wanted. We destroyed the religion of the Nazis. In Afghanistan we never totally defeated the Taliban nor reeducated the population overall (especially in the provinces to think like we want them to think. We did it half ass, we are always going to do it half ass, so getting out is the least of the bad options. Meanwhile we have other fish to fry. Much bigger issues exist that need full attention. Afghanistan is a diversion we can do without. And we need to do without.