A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that the American people are split down the middle on supporting the war in Afghanistan. The poll was conducted on October 22-25 by Democrat Peter D. Hart and Republican Bill McInturff, and has a statistical error of 3.1 points. Here are the polls findings about Afghanistan:
47% support increasing the troop level
43% oppose increasing the troop level
58% support delaying a decision until after Afghanistan's presidential runoff and the political situation there becomes clearer
55% could accept sending 10,000 more troops
43% could accept sending 40,000 more troops
45% favor withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan
My question is, why does anyone think sending more troops will accomplish anything at all, let alone a victory, in Afghanistan? Didn't the Soviets try that with little or no success? Why should we think we would be more successful than they were?
The truth is the Taliban has enough support and enough hiding places (many of them in Pakistan) to prolong this war for years. The only number in the above poll that I can see getting larger is the 45% who say we should withdraw our troops. With each year that passes with no real progress, the number of people who realize we have gotten ourselves into a no-win Vietnam-like situation will grow.
We could put another 100,000 troops into Afghanistan, and it would not create a situation where we could win that war. The Taliban (and al Queda) would simply go to ground and do more guerilla operations, accomplishing a small but steady death toll of American soldiers. Then as we withdraw troops, they would come out of there holes and fight larger operations until they take over again.
Years ago, I supported the Bush administration invasion of Afghanistan (although I always opposed our adventure in Iraq). I was wrong about Afghanistan, and I'm ashamed of my former opinion. I thought we could go in and capture or kill al-Queda, and then get out. I had no idea Bush would half do the job, then invade Iraq, and then try to engage in "nation-building" in both countries -- a concept that has been an utter failure.
We needed to capture al-Queda and bring them to justice, but we didn't do that. We didn't need to engage in nation-building, and we're still trying to do that (poorly). Whether we want to admit it or not, we have failed miserably in both countries. Continuing will only cause the deaths of more American soldiers.
Let's bring the soldiers home now.