Afghanistan off the Top of My Head

Afghanistan

Currently were in the middle of what could be called the largest finger-pointing, blame game, we’ve ever seen in the United States. Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for the dramatic pictures that we are seeing out of Afghanistan. American troops are pulling out after 20 years. President Joe Biden has decided that it is time for our troops to come home. We must understand that Donald Trump had already negotiated with the Taliban and set in stone that the American troops were coming home. Of course, it was possible for Joe Biden to reverse this decision and escalate the conflict.

We’ve been in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. We spent over $2 trillion. Thousands of Americans have died. Tens of thousands of Americans have been wounded/injured. Isn’t that enough?

What went wrong? In order to answer this question, I think is important for us to go back to the beginning. We were attacked on September 11 by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda was being shielded by the Taliban in Afghanistan. We decided to go after Osama bin Laden. In December 2001, we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the Tora Bora mountains. We had the Taliban on the run. We had additional assets in the area. For some reason, as far as I know the exact reason has never been pinpointed, we did not deploy additional assets in order to capture Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden slipped into Pakistan. Shortly thereafter, we turned our attention to Iraq.

Killing or capturing Osama bin Laden the Tora Bora mountains would’ve ended our military involvement in Afghanistan. Our troops would have come home. There would’ve been no discussion about nationbuilding. Instead, we would’ve discussed mission accomplished.

Overall, I think that we fell into a trap. We continued to throw good money after bad. We just “knew” that another surge would fix the problem. We didn’t want our prior blood, sweat and tears to be for nothing. We didn’t want to be labelled as a quitter. We … should have come home over a decade ago. That’s the real truth. There was no “good” time. No matter when we decided to come home there were going to be problems. There was going to be the problem of a Afghan military that simply wasn’t up to the task. We entered a lose – lose situation.  This is the truth.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

Books

A Letter to America

The Thirteeneth Juror

Where is The Outrage Topics
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