What happens if we fail?

President Obama laid out his strategy for Afghanistan last night, one that involves adding more troops and a time line for withdrawal based on the theory of leaving behind an strong Afghan government and an Afghan people willing and able to take care of themselves.

Obama proposes that this strategy can be accomplished in 18 months and that his time line is the motivation the Afghans need to get their acts together and get something done. I pray that he is right.

He was right about his acknowledgment that Afghanistan is not Vietnam, and it is from the perspective of that acknowledgment that Americans must consider the potential consequences of any Afghanistan strategy.

When the United States failed in Vietnam, it consigned the Vietnamese people to 30 years if communist rule that crushed that nation’s economy and hope. Yet, other than the emotional scars, the United States suffered few direct ill effects from failure in Vietnam as a nation.

Afghanistan is not Vietnam. The people who attacked us on 9/11 planned, funded, and trained in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda had safe bases for operation there. The Taliban created perfect conditions for recruitment and obfuscation there. If we fail in Afghanistan, the Taliban will retake that country and al Qaeda will have its most secure base of operations back. And now, if we fail, the Taliban and al Qaeda will turn their attention to taking over Pakistan, and at this point in history, they have a great chance of succeeding.

What would result from failure is a region stretching from the Persian Gulf–yes, I am including Iran here–to India containing a billion people ruled by religious extremists in possession of nuclear weapons or the technology to build more. The United States cannot afford such a failure. The world cannot afford such a failure.

It has been a long eight years. A lot has happened that has led to the moment the world now faces, but whatever might have happened, the moment must be faced. The United States must succeed in Afghanistan because failure is an option no one wants to live with.


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8 Responses to What happens if we fail?

  1. Wade says:

    I thought what was missing from his speech was the Pakistan piece of the equation. He eluded to it but the surge must be as focused at Pakistan as Afghanistan and are the Pakistanis realy on board? That is the big question.
    I think the timeline was also bad idea. It will take four months to get our personnel in and 30,000 combat troops really equals 60,000 troops for support. Now we are down to 14 months. How do you set a timeline if your plan is just about to be implemented? Remember, the enemy has a say in strategy also.

  2. dlhitzeman says:

    He does need to focus on Pakistan, but I want to see what he will do in the next months before I make judgment one way or the other.

    As I see things, this is Obama’s moment to do the right thing. What he does in the next several months will show whether he will do it or not.

  3. djhitz says:

    There is no true winning against this enemy.

  4. dlhitzeman says:

    DJ, I disagree, but I think that true victory over the likes of al Qaeda and the Taliban require a kind of investment on the part of the rest of the world very few people seem to be willing to make.

    I guess, because of that unwillingness, that makes you effectively right, but I do not believe victory is impossible.

  5. djhitz says:

    The enemy is Islam, DL. Middle Eastern, terrorists use Islamic beliefs to justify their actions while more peaceful sects on Islam apologize for their redicalness. The radical Moslems say, we have unleashed our own personal Jihad with them all by invading their geographical field and trying to impose our way. There’s as many in their religion as there are “true citizens of the US, some 300,000,000+ from Spanish Sahara to Malaysia and beyond into our nation as well. Yes, we have religious freedom in our nation that used to be found on Christian ideas but according to our Pres. We are not a nation of ideals anymore. Just ideas. Islam is the Christian Church’s biggest P.I.T.A. as far as I’m concerned. Yes, unbelievers are truly the biggest, PITA but Allah’s followers are unbelievers in Christ with one heck of a conviction.

  6. dlhitzeman says:

    All the same, as long as we accept that things from Spanish Sahara to Malaysia (and the Philippines and beyond) are the way they are, we will only suffer defeat at the hands of the radicals you site.

    Instead, we need to focus our energies on bringing a different way of thinking to those regions in all its aspects including belief.

    If we believe in the One who has overcome the world, then how much more are we obligated to overcome ourselves?

  7. djhitz says:

    The “One” knows there will be wars and rumors of wars. He said so. This actually depicts ordinary world order. That figures.
    How can we spread a different way of thinking to the Islamics? When certain people at work tell me,”I don’t want you preachin’ on me.”
    I was just sharing Jesus with him.
    Some of our citizens prove “Bin Laden-ish” type thinkers, right. They who think the US is too decadent. You know we’re good but there’s citizens over there. Who US odinance killed their relations. You see where I’m going with this? It’s one thing to try to convince people to see things through different eyes but…you know the rest. There’s alot of ancient doubt.
    This different way of thinking ought to be presented to a group of people who aren’t much more advanced than the ancient, Ninevites. Look what Jonah did for them. How many more Mohammeden souls will be lost in the meantime? Is that any of our concern? It’s mine.

  8. dlhitzeman says:

    There are two things that must be resolved.

    First, we were attacked; we did not attack first. If we leave Afghanistan, we will be attacked again, Pakistan will fall, and we will be back there fighting an even more brutal war that involves nuclear weapons. For that reason, we must do our utmost to secure what can be secured. Our government does not bear the sword for nothing.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, thanks be to God that it is not our effort that saves but the Word that saves us. Sure, people may tell us they don’t want to hear about Jesus, but if we speak the Word in its purity and truth, that is all we are called to do. God sent Jonah to Nineveh to prove to Israel that His grace extends to those who repent, which Israel certainly was not.

    Who knows, but our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq may well lead to those places becoming bastions of faith and liberty long after we have ceded ours. Remember that faith in God’s word survived in Babylon long after it had died in Jerusalem.

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