Opinions on Afghanistan

I am standing on a soap box. I am an Independent candidate with about 150 signatures, and I need 10,000 to be legitimate. Still, I am a registered with the US Federal Elections Commission (FEC)  for US Senate in 2022. And I know that each of those who signed my petition believed in my purpose. So I continue. I have not been approached by any of the media — no cable networks, no newspapers. My Tweets probably make little difference.  I don’t have 1 million $ in my election fund.

On this blog, I offer these humble opinions as starting points for thought. I don’t profess to know whether I am right, or whether the actions which may be inferred are guaranteed to work. As Senator, my first job will be to listen. Not to a blind poll, but to the common sense and reasoning of the Missouri voter.

In my blog entry “The Afghan War”  I wrote about the domestic politics that I believe are the cause of this August’s withdrawal.. This was an analysis and a history with blame spread on several administrations.  But it did not offer a prescription on what we should be doing now.

The partition of India in 1947 and the role of the British colonial powers is perhaps appropriate history. Or the experience of the Russians in the 1980s. All of these occupations ended in violence.

I do take exception that our mission in Afghanistan was a failure. Every year that we spent there, we provided a stable force, which I believe had a positive influence on the Afghan people. The world is quite a different place in 2021 than it was in 2001. Just because we did not ‘win’ the war does not reduce the contributions that we made to the country. “Nation building” was not a mistake. And for those who argue the futility of the forever war, forget the fear that we felt in 2001 when the towers came tumbling down. Every year that we occupied Afghanistan was another year of stability. Successive administrations agreed that the threat of radical Islamic terrorism justified our presence.

We can’t know what kind of country Afghanistan will become under Taliban rule. We can hope that they have some common sense, and allow some secular liberal thought to flourish. Letting people get vaccinated. Giving women an equal role in society. Letting people listen to music. I don’t know all the modernizations we can hope for. Do the jihadists believe in climate change? “Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea for what mankind’s hands have earned…”

There has always been an isolationist streak in American politics and policies of appeasement. If there are any lessons to be learned from the last one hundred years is that we cannot as Americans shy away from our global leadership role. This is our destiny and in my opinion we need to keep our commitments and responsibilities.

The worst mistake we can make is to appear weak. We need to project our strength. The key question we need to answer is what is being strong all about? And how can we appear to be strong. I ask you to think seriously about this question. Because I believe that the answers to this question will lead us to a bright and hopeful future.

Added August 30, 2021. Now that Afghanistan has fallen, I am bewildered, amazed, aghast at the sheer incompetence of our military and government. Where is the adult in the room?

I blame our response on the sheer power of our political parties. Decisions and planning were vetted by the politburo and the political officers with unquestioned party loyalty. Party Loyalty, not professional competency. Throw common sense out the window. Party loyalty means a career, money, and power. I call them bumper sticker pols. As your independent Senator from Missouri, I promise that I would ask the hard questions and take the tough stands.

And I do have an opinion on the Taliban. They are terrorists. Please, convince me otherwise. The threat of radical Islamic terrorism is real. Some of this ideology is awkward but livable — outlawing music., destruction of images. But when the beheadings start, the sheer brutality of the zealots, and the renewed terrorist attacks of the West start again — that’s when we may realize we made a big mistake of trust. Can the Taliban show that they are civilized? Do they care?



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