Gallup: More Americans think Afghanistan war a “mistake”

posted at 12:01 pm on February 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

It took more than twelve years of the hard slog in the original post-9/11 theater, but according to Gallup, Americans have finally made the transition to opposition to the Afghanistan War. Or, actually, maybe not quite yet. The result of their latest survey is a virtual tie well within the margin of error, but there’s no debating the trend.

Even Gallup seems a little mystified on how to report the findings. Their headline states, “More Americans Now View Afghanistan War as a Mistake,” but note the subtle difference in the lead, emphasis mine:

For the first time since the U.S. initially became involved in Afghanistan in 2001, Americans are as likely to say U.S. military involvement there was a mistake as to say it was not.

Both are actually true.  On a percentage basis, more Americans than ever before think the war was a mistake — 49%, as opposed to 44% last year and 43% in 2010. Forty-eight percent believe it was not a mistake to send troops to Afghanistan in 2001. Given the vagaries of the margin of error, it’s both “as likely” that Americans consider it a mistake and that the numbers of those who think so have grown.

It may not yet mean that more Americans think it was a mistake than those who don’t, as National Journal assumed in the virtual split:

A plurality of Americans now believes that it was a mistake to send soldiers to fight in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, marking the first time in the war’s history that fewer Americans supported the combat effort than opposed it.

Forty-nine percent of Americans now believe the war was not ours to fight, according to a new Gallup Poll, compared with 48 percent who still believe chasing the country’s Qaida cells was the right thing to do. The margin is slight, but it marks a steep decline in those favoring the intervention over the years, which once registered at a high of 93 percent in early 2002.

But it has taken Americans longer to turn on its longest war than any other fought since the Korean War. It took the country only six months to sour on that campaign, in part due to Chinese intervention in North Korea that helped create a quagmire.

Similarly, Americans turned against the Vietnam War relatively quickly. About a quarter of Americans told Gallup they opposed what Lyndon Johnson once dubbed “that bitch of a war” when the polling service first gauged public opinion in the early summer of 1965, while six in 10 supported it. By October 1967, 47 percent saw involvement there as a mistake, compared with 44 percent who supported it.

This is hair-splitting, though. Even if this isn’t the precise moment when the calculus flipped, it’s coming and probably sooner rather than later, as Gallup’s series shows:

gallup-afghanistan

When Barack Obama took office in 2009, the split was more than 2:1 in favor of the war. Obama campaigned in part by promising to end the “distraction” in Iraq, where we were fighting al-Qaeda, and increase troop strength in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. George Bush ended up authoring the Iraq drawdown, and Obama did increase troop levels in Afghanistan — while talking about withdrawal at the same time. As I wrote at that time, his speech announcing his version of a surge sounded more like “a slow-motion Dunkirk” than a plan for victory. In fact, Obama never mentioned “victory” in a speech that ran more than 4,000 words.

That was more than four years ago. Since then, Obama has given Americans no solid justification for conducting the war in Afghanistan, preferring to discuss withdrawal timetables and focus on exit strategies. The surprise here isn’t that public opinion is turning; the surprise is that it took as long as it did.


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Average American.

“We’re still there?”

hawkdriver on February 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Poorly said on my part. I should have said, Much of America.

Conservatives, regardless of their feeling on the war, are well aware of current events in Afghanistan.

hawkdriver on February 19, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Average American.

“We’re still there?”

hawkdriver on February 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM

That’s a fair point, now that FDR is no longer with us.

Shy Guy on February 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Hillary, the slavish cow, did Nothing for the women.

She enabled the war on women, along with obama.

They continue to do so.

Schadenfreude on February 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM

1 nuke over Tora Bora would have ended it all.

nobar on February 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM

12 years, thousands of lives and we still support that corrupt drug dealing, Taliban supporting Karzai that openly pockets US taxpayer dollars to his secret international bank accounts. This is what American blood was shed for…

PatriotRider on February 19, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I think that it was a mistake in this respect: We NEVER should have sent in ground forces except to grab important Al-Queida members we wanted.

We are NEVER going to turn Afghanistan into a civilized nation because it NEVER HAS BEEN ONE. The Taliban will be back in charge 5 minutes after our last troops are out. We never should have spilled our blood TRYING to civilize them.

The whole war should have been one long bombing campaign to PUNISH both the Taliban AND THE CIVILIANS WHO ENABLE THE TALIBAN for 9/11.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Bring the boys home.

Drop massive ordinance on the whole country.

Kill the will of the opposition to fight on through mass slaughter.

The only way it will be *WON*.

Defenestratus on February 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

That was more than four years ago. Since then, Obama has given Americans no solid justification for conducting the war in Afghanistan, preferring to discuss withdrawal timetables and focus on exit strategies. The surprise here isn’t that public opinion is turning; the surprise is that it took as long as it did

…when you don’t want to win the war…what is the surprise?

KOOLAID2 on February 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM

1 nuke over Tora Bora would have ended it all.

nobar on February 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM

If there was ever a provocation for use of nukes in war since Pearl Harbor it was 9/11.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM

U cant blame them fro crossing the boarder to improve there lives in America now can you?

Rachel Jeantel on February 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM

If there was ever a provocation for use of nukes in war since Pearl Harbor it was 9/11.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM

+1,000

VegasRick on February 19, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Afghanistan was obviously hopeless ab initio but any war with a Commander-in-Chief whose loyalty is questionable is likely to fail no matter the quality of the troops.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

How hard an it be to transport comments from the headlines thread when a post gets promoted?

From the headlines thread:

You can’t do nation building in a medieval shithole like Afghanistan unless you are prepared to occupy them for at least three generations. In Afghanistan we would have been required to impose a democratic form of government specifically excluding Islamic law and state religion, educate three generations of children and empower their women, all the while policing the country and engaging in endless warfare with the Taliban, the warlords, the drug cartels, the ISI, etc., ad nauseum.

The alternative was to go in, destroy the Taliban, and make such a horrific example of the consequences of terrorism against us that the Afghans themselves recognized the Taliban, et al, were a deadly threat to Afghanistan. We would have to teach the Pakistanis a lesson too, as they are a major source of Islamist terror and Taliban influence.

Unfortunately, our leadership lacked a clear understanding of the situation, a clear strategy for dealing with it, and a rational end game. Since Obama took office any effort, however misguided, to actually win has been cast aside. The entire situation has been reduced to a tool for Obama to game domestic politics.

Just like Obama did in Iraq. We can see how well that is working out.

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Afghanistan was obviously hopeless ab initio but any war with a Commander-in-Chief whose loyalty is questionable is likely to fail no matter the quality of the troops.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

ROE’s play a big part of the outcome. Our’s suck for our brave men and women.

VegasRick on February 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM

The war itself was not a mistake, I think, though a different strategy could have perhaps been used. But you know what they say about hindsight…

Othniel on February 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM

The US, under R/D presidents, no longer fights wars to win. Period.

Schadenfreude on February 19, 2014 at 12:22 PM

U cant blame them fro crossing the boarder to improve there lives in America now can you?

Rachel Jeantel on February 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM

That’s retarded sir.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:25 PM

You can’t do nation building in a medieval shithole like Afghanistan unless you are prepared to occupy them for at least three generations. In Afghanistan we would have been required to impose a democratic form of government specifically excluding Islamic law and state religion, educate three generations of children and empower their women, all the while policing the country and engaging in endless warfare with the Taliban, the warlords, the drug cartels, the ISI, etc., ad nauseum.

The alternative was to go in, destroy the Taliban, and make such a horrific example of the consequences of terrorism against us that the Afghans themselves recognized the Taliban, et al, were a deadly threat to Afghanistan. We would have to teach the Pakistanis a lesson too, as they are a major source of Islamist terror and Taliban influence.

Unfortunately, our leadership lacked a clear understanding of the situation, a clear strategy for dealing with it, and a rational end game. Since Obama took office any effort, however misguided, to actually win has been cast aside. The entire situation has been reduced to a tool for Obama to game domestic politics.

Just like Obama did in Iraq. We can see how well that is working out.

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM

+100,000

We lost the war in Afghanistan the moment George W. Bush called islam a “religion of peace”.

As long as that is our policy towards that barbarian “religion” we will never defeat the terrorists.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM

the issue was how we fought it.
should have leveled it.

dmacleo on February 19, 2014 at 12:28 PM

This is not surprising given that Obama massively increased the number of American deaths and casualities with his insane rules of engagement.

tommyboy on February 19, 2014 at 12:28 PM

When Barack Obama took office in 2009, the split was more than 2:1 in favor of the war. Obama campaigned in part by promising to end the “distraction” in Iraq, where we were fighting al-Qaeda, and increase troop strength in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. George Bush ended up authoring the Iraq drawdown, and Obama did increase troop levels in Afghanistan — while talking about withdrawal at the same time. As I wrote at that time, his speech announcing his version of a surge sounded more like “a slow-motion Dunkirk” than a plan for victory. In fact, Obama never mentioned “victory” in a speech that ran more than 4,000 words.

That was more than four years ago. Since then, Obama has given Americans no solid justification for conducting the war in Afghanistan, preferring to discuss withdrawal timetables and focus on exit strategies. The surprise here isn’t that public opinion is turning; the surprise is that it took as long as it did.

The current polling is the linkage between Obama’s fecklessness towards pursuing the war and the growing anger the American’s are feeling towards the corrupt and vapid leader of Afghanistan – Hamid Karzai, who doesn’t appear to be interested in anything beyond surviving and lining his pockets.

Another effect might be related to the perception that the majority of the Afghans don’t appear to appreciate the investments of blood and treasure made to keep them from returning to the hell that is the 7th C mentality and governance of the Taliban.

But I believe that one of the biggest reasons why this perception has begun to take hold is that the people there, listening to Obama and not only his inability to use the word ‘victory’, but also focusing more on exiting, have decided that they’re ultimately going to get the same treatment from the US that the South Vietnamese got from the US in the spring of 1975.

What’s being forgotten by those like Obama is that when a nation and a nation’s leader is unwilling to articulate that the goal is victory – enemies are emboldened.

Athos on February 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Wasn’t this the war the liberals considered the just war?
All that blood and treasure and liberals can’t be bothered.

They’d rather complain about gay couples being denied service by a florist than a country where homosexuals are killed for being gay.

gwelf on February 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

My son’s best friend was wounded there…so his injuries are for nothing?

ladyingray on February 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Not to mention the men/women that sacrificed their all?

ladyingray on February 19, 2014 at 12:32 PM

It was a mistake to not win the Afghanistan War.

southsideironworks on February 19, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Defenestratus on February 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Were you not alive when the Soviet Union tried that? After a nuclear war the only creatures alive will be cockroaches and the Taliban. Oops, sorry for the repetition.

Deano1952 on February 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

was a mistake to not win the Afghanistan War.

southsideironworks on February 19, 2014 at 12:32 PM

It was a mistake to even think we could.

The only way to defeat uncivilized barbarians like muslims stuck perpetually in 636AD is to kill them so they can’t kill you. You can’t reform them, you can’t civilize them. Afghanistan has been stuck in 636AD for over 1,000 years.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:37 PM

We lost the war in Afghanistan the moment George W. Bush called islam a “religion of peace”.

As long as that is our policy towards that barbarian “religion” we will never defeat the terrorists.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM

To my mind, Bush’s biggest failure as President was his failure to recognize the evil and perverse nature of Islamism and the deadly threat it poses to every human being on the planet.

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Gallup: More Americans think Afghanistan war a “mistake”

It’s really more a referendum on how Obama has handled the War in Afghanistan.

Quite a comedown for “the good war,” isn’t it.

Why, it’s almost like the it was only called “the good war” as a way to slam Bush and the Iraq War.

At any rate, there’s a huge difference between saying, “it was a mistake to start this war in 2001″ and “at this point, the war is a mistake.”

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

After 9/11 I thought it was imperative that we go to war against the Taliban. I even thought it was imperative to remove Saddam.

However, I am absolutely opposed to continuing to fight this ridiculous ‘war’ our elites have us fighting there.

I was thinking we were going to fight a war. They have us nation building.

Was it a mistake for us to go into Afghanistan? I am thinking so more every day. It is becoming apparent America is unable to fight a war like a war.

We can only fight one like we’re a Peace Corps with guns. I guess there is just not enough money in invasion and removal of malevolent regimes. We have to rack up the endless billions nation building, or it isn’t worth it to our military industrial complex.

So no wars. Not for any reason. Not until we can fight it like we mean it and then stop when we’re done. Rubble and dead enemies is what we should be leaving behind, not stinking rich corruptocrats.

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

It wasn’t a mistake to go with the intent to go in and kill bin Laden and his supporters.

Now that he’s dead, it is a mistake to remain.

SPCOlympics on February 19, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Bring the boys home.

Drop massive ordinance on the whole country.

Kill the will of the opposition to fight on through mass slaughter.

The only way it will be *WON*.

Defenestratus on February 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

What you advocate – which is evil – will guarantee eternal war.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

The bigger question is why anyone assumed a war could be “won” in Afghanistan in the first place. “Winning” was an impossible goal from the beginning.

History is a great teacher in this regards. We should have gone in, hard, taken out those that supported the 9-11 attacks and then left the country to fester as that was going to happen whether we had a presence there or not.

CaptainJack on February 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Afghanistan was obviously hopeless ab initio but any war with a Commander-in-Chief whose loyalty is questionable is likely to fail no matter the quality of the troops.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

…ok!…don’t shit your pants!…but I agree with you!

KOOLAID2 on February 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM

To my mind, Bush’s biggest failure as President was his failure to recognize the evil and perverse nature of Islamism and the deadly threat it poses to every human being on the planet.

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

9/11 should have been used to PERMANENTLY DE-LEGITIMIZE islam’s standing as a legitimate religion deserving recognition as anything but a treasonous death cult.

Because that is exactly what it IS. That opportunity lost will lead to something much worse than 9/11 happening because this “religion” is allowed to openly practice in the United States.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:48 PM

What you advocate – which is evil – will guarantee eternal war.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Every non muslim on Earth has been in perpetual war with islam since 636AD, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Because islam is in perpetual war WITH US!

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

What you advocate – which is evil – will guarantee eternal war.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

You’ve got it exactly backward. It is tit-for-tat that guarantees eternal war.

What ends war is breaking the will of the enemy. That is the only way any real war ever ends.

Did we break the will of the enemy? Are we anywhere near breaking the will of the enemy? Did we even try?

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Im2bo, the mistake was not in going in per se, the mistake was the use of kid gloves coupled with staying too long as nation-builders trying and push and prod pre-medieval Islamic savages forward into the modern family of nations.

The rebuilding of Germany after WW2 worked because much of that country was reduced to rubble and Germany shared at least some Christian heritage and shared culture with the Allied powers.

Likewise, the rebuilding of Japan worked because that country was bombed into submission and the Japanese bought into the MacArthur model of reconstruction with all their hearts and minds starting one hour after the surrender ceremony aboard the Big Mo in Tokyo Bay.

No such connections were, have been or imo ever can be established with Muslim nutters such as those who populate and run Afghanistan. Every ISAF trooper should be removed today and never return.

Sacramento on February 19, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Afghanistan was obviously hopeless ab initio but any war with a Commander-in-Chief whose loyalty is questionable is likely to fail no matter the quality of the troops.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

ROE’s play a big part of the outcome. Our’s suck for our brave men and women.

VegasRick on February 19, 2014 at 12:21 PM

The war was hopeless because of the fundamental nature of the Afghan people. The ROE had no effect on that.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

You’ve got it exactly backward. It is tit-for-tat that guarantees eternal war.

What ends war is breaking the will of the enemy. That is the only way any real war ever ends.

Did we break the will of the enemy? Are we anywhere near breaking the will of the enemy? Did we even try?

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 12:52 PM

How did we win World War II? By negotiating with the Nazis? By accepting Hitler ruling “a little bit less of Europe than all of it”? By allowing the Japanese Regime to continue?

NO! We REDUCED BOTH ENEMIES TO RUBBLE, REMOVED any ability to RESIST, THEN we made peace.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Of course they would, but the real problem is that the REB has totally f’d up both Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, as in the Vietnam War, Democratics have a unique ability to lose a war retroactively.

slickwillie2001 on February 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Let me guess 47%?

nazo311 on February 19, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Americas mistake was deciding to say it was a handful of whacky religion hijackers who were out to give beautiful Islam and its Muslims a bad name. Only Al-Q was bad and important, Islam is peace and beauty and a bunch of imperially oppressed little poor brown folks without a lick of responsibility for their actions and ideology. It helped greatly that every level of government was topped up with Muslim advisers who could explain Islam to Americans who can’t be bothered to find out on their own. Plus, with all the financial connections to Islamic oil that many American power brokers hold, well, you were toast before the first tower fell.

BL@KBIRD on February 19, 2014 at 1:05 PM

How did we win World War II? By negotiating with the Nazis? By accepting Hitler ruling “a little bit less of Europe than all of it”? By allowing the Japanese Regime to continue?

NO! We REDUCED BOTH ENEMIES TO RUBBLE, REMOVED any ability to RESIST, THEN we made peace.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

We are fighting an evil ideology, not a standing army. You cannot defeat that ideology by killing innocent people. Our ideology is superior to theirs. You would degrade us and give them even more reason to fight us.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Next time we go to war, can we figure out what we intend to accomplish FIRST? Can’t really blame Obama for not mentioning “victory” when it was an undefined condition. I’d settle for destroying all their airports, seaports, major bridges, and energy/communications infrastructure and then let them figure out what they want to do the next time somebody has the bright idea of sponsoring terrorism against us. Shouldn’t take more than a week.

Socratease on February 19, 2014 at 1:18 PM

It was a mistake to kill the people who attached us on 911? What kind of morons are we producing in this country?

cajunpatriot on February 19, 2014 at 1:20 PM

The war was about vengeance. After destroying everything, we should have left. But the R/D establishment loves a good expensive war and ran up the clock to score points.

All those who died will have done their best, but no real solutions will come out of the whole exercise.

When you think about it, one of the reasons we have a huge military is to mask enormous systemic unemployment.

antisense on February 19, 2014 at 1:21 PM

You cannot defeat that ideology by killing innocent people. Our ideology is superior to theirs. You would degrade us and give them even more reason to fight us.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 1:15 PM

I suppose you have a point, given how we keep having to fight those Nazis. And those Japanese Shinto Supremacists just won’t quit!

My Dad was a B-17 bombardier. I suppose he shouldn’t have dropped all those bombs, since many innocent people died, too.

You are pitching nonsensical, feel good talking points. You have not thought this though at all.

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 1:21 PM

We are fighting an evil ideology, not a standing army. You cannot defeat that ideology by killing innocent people. Our ideology is superior to theirs. You would degrade us and give them even more reason to fight us.

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 1:15 PM

“Fascism” wasn’t an ideology?

Socratease on February 19, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Basilsbest on February 19, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Enough with the straw men.

Of course you can’t “defeat” Islamism. But you sure as Hell can destroy the Taliban as an effective threat. You can convince the average Muslim that terror jihad leads only to death and destruction. But you must recognize what is required and what it will cost. Most of all, you must have the will to see it through.

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Another issue that will be a strength of a Rand Paul candidacy.

KirknBurker on February 19, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Obama used to describe Afghanistan as “a war of necessity,” a “war that we have to win.” He does not indulge in such brave talk any longer. Now the president seems resigned to a reluctant retreat from Afghanistan—the sooner the better, of course, so long as it does not adversely affect his image.

J_Crater on February 19, 2014 at 1:29 PM

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Did AQ gas 6 million Jews + another 5 million slavs, Catholics, and others?

Did AQ starve 20 million people?

Did AQ invade other countries and fully occuply them?

Did AQ brutally butcher 300,000 chinese in a few days in Nanking with bayonets, rifle butts, bare hands, rocks, torture, etc.?

AQ is bad, but not worth detroying this country ala Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick”.

This country’s foreign policy needs to be more middle of the road like the Palin Doctrine or what Rand Paul will push.

KirknBurker on February 19, 2014 at 1:31 PM

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Reading through your various comments, I am left with nothing to say except, “Bravo.”

DrMagnolias on February 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

AQ is bad, but not worth detroying this country ala Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick”.

KirknBurker on February 19, 2014 at 1:31 PM

That must be what I am proposing, since I don’t want us to nation build./

You win a war by breaking the will of the enemy. If you do not have the stomach to break the will of the enemy, then do not go to war with him. Negotiate and, if necessary, submit.

That is what we are doing in Afghanistan. We do not have the stomach to actually crush the Taliban, breaking their will, so we are negotiating terms.

It is sickening, but it is where people like you bring us.

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 1:35 PM

If WW2 happened today Nazis would take over the world. Too many softy Americans.

The Notorious G.O.P on February 19, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Did AQ gas 6 million Jews + another 5 million slavs, Catholics, and others?

Did AQ starve 20 million people?

Did AQ invade other countries and fully occuply them?

Did AQ brutally butcher 300,000 chinese in a few days in Nanking with bayonets, rifle butts, bare hands, rocks, torture, etc.?

AQ is bad, but not worth detroying this country ala Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick”.

This country’s foreign policy needs to be more middle of the road like the Palin Doctrine or what Rand Paul will push.

KirknBurker on February 19, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Given the opportunity, do you really think AQ would act any differently?

bigmacdaddy on February 19, 2014 at 1:39 PM

The Democrats talked a line of bull about how important Afghanistan was, but as soon as they gained the White House, the agenda changed to withdrawal.

oldennis on February 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

My son’s best friend was wounded there…so his injuries are for nothing?

ladyingray on February 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Sadly the answer is yes. Nation-building after post-WWII is a non-starter, especially in the historical armpit of the world as is Afghanistan. My son’s best friend also came home wounded. For what end result? What exactly was accomplished? Hmm?

1 nuke over Tora Bora would have ended it all.

nobar on February 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM

War is an unfortunate part of the human condition. Either do it to win, with conviction, or walk away and endure continued consequences. And we will continue to have consequences.

Infidelius on February 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM

The war in Afghanistan was never going to be won the way we were fighting it. We should have gone in with massive force, killed (yes I said kill, not capture and send to Guantanamo) as many al Qaeda and Taliban members as we could find, and then we should have left. And if they attacked us again, hit them even harder. Even attacking Afghanistan briefly two or three times would have been cheaper (in both blood and treasure) than staying tied down there for over 12 years.

We should have mounted what the British used to call a “Punitive Expedition,” where you go in and teach the locals a lesson they would never forget, making them think twice before they would ever consider fighting you again. The British were experts at punitive expeditions and, in fact, they mounted a highly successful one in (of all places) Afghanistan under Lord Roberts.

The British had no intention of turning Afghanistan into a parliamentary form of government or a model of democracy. They understood that these people were nothing better than desert nomads that had nothing in their lives except their religion and their tribes, and in that order. The British went in with a large army, defeated the locals, put in power a king that was a British puppet, and then left, bringing literally decades of stability to that pathetic “country.”

But no, we had to go in there and try to turn Afghanistan into a model of Jeffersonian democracy. And how did that work out for us? Perhaps in the future, when getting involved in Third World countries, we should read more British history than recent American history. We may end up winning more wars that way.

Libertyship46 on February 19, 2014 at 1:48 PM

To my mind, Bush’s biggest failure as President was his failure to recognize the evil and perverse nature of Islamism The Left and the deadly threat it poses to every human being on the planet.
novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Yeah, Islam’s a problem but The Left poses an even worse problem since it is responsible for undermining the moral fortitude it would have taken to at least keep Islam quarantined.

Islam has only become the threat it has since the Biblical foundations of the West have been effectively neutered.

Bush’s, and by extension, the Republican establishment’s failure to recognize this is our greatest problem politically right now.

Cleombrotus on February 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I’m still mad at FDR for getting into that war.

/what?

Ward Cleaver on February 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM

You win a war by breaking the will of the enemy. If you do not have the stomach to break the will of the enemy, then do not go to war with him. Negotiate and, if necessary, submit.

That is what we are doing in Afghanistan. We do not have the stomach to actually crush the Taliban, breaking their will, so we are negotiating terms.

It is sickening, but it is where people like you bring us.

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I am waiting with bated breath for you to enlist in the army and lead the charge, old bean.

Old Fritz on February 19, 2014 at 2:24 PM

J_Crater on February 19, 2014 at 1:29 PM

There is NO reason to believe Obama’s “support” for the war in Afghanistan was anything other than a craven and unprincipled political ruse, intended to protect him from criticism and project a false but more electable image.

novaculus on February 19, 2014 at 2:36 PM

. . . and the sun will set in the West.

rplat on February 19, 2014 at 2:38 PM

It always was the wrong war.

Blame democrats.

Murphy9 on February 19, 2014 at 2:48 PM

It was a mistake to think Washington had learned anything enduring from Vietnam, even though the conduct of the First Gulf War indicated so. I will oppose any future adventures. Our leaders are like juvenile delinquents that cannot be trusted with the keys to the car.

claudius on February 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM

I am waiting with bated breath for you to enlist in the army and lead the charge, old bean.

Old Fritz on February 19, 2014 at 2:24 PM

I am dazzled by your rhetorical genius./

You miss the point entirely. Your response is insipid, cowardly and intellectually bankrupt.

It takes fewer troops to fight war the way it should be fought. What takes a monster sized standing army is a policy that refuses to target breaking the will of the enemy but engages in nation building instead.

A country that is always prepared for war but only goes to war for the right reasons and then fights the war like war must be fought will rarely ever have to go to fight.

Our enemies will know better than to screw with us.

Those who dream of Islamic global dominance know we won’t really fight to break the will of those who would attack us as they did on 9/11. That assurance they have that even a 9/11 would not make us really fight like we are in a war is why Islamic Supremacism continues its ascendancy.

When our backs are to the wall and we finally really do have to go to war, we will be much weaker, our enemy will be much stronger, and the world will be awash in blood.

I don’t have this philosophical outlook because I love war. I have this outlook because I hate the never ending brutality and slaughter and social disruption of the wars we won’t fight as wars.

It is people like YOU who think tit-for-tat is just dandy who actually love war. You don’t really want to make the enemy stop because then you wouldn’t have a battleground.

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 3:14 PM

The reason why it was a mistake? We should of just annihilated the taliban and got out..our rules of engagement should of been much lighter..could of saved many Troops lives I bet..also if we really wanted to change the hearts and minds of Afghans well there should of been no Sharia Law in their constitution that we helped with…none..we should of tried to make it more of a secular state instead of one governed by Islam….yeah we failed in Afghanistan no doubt and I hate to say that

sadsushi on February 19, 2014 at 3:16 PM

It was a mistake to think Washington had learned anything enduring from Vietnam, even though the conduct of the First Gulf War indicated so. I will oppose any future adventures. Our leaders are like juvenile delinquents that cannot be trusted with the keys to the car.

claudius on February 19, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Exactly. Idiots like Fritz think I am arguing for more war when what I am arguing for is a policy of not fighting unless we are going to fight like we really mean it.

fadetogray on February 19, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Forty-eight percent believe it was not a mistake to send troops to Afghanistan in 2001.

I don’t think sending American troops there in 2001 was a mistake. What was a gigantic mistake was keeping them there past about 12 days or maybe 12 weeks, with all this mind numbingly stupid Petraeus COIN “Great Islamic Society Nation Building”/”Trillion Dollar Bridge To Nowhere”/”Mad Hatter Sociology Experiment From Hell (with American troops used as Human Sacrifice Lab Rats)”

VorDaj on February 19, 2014 at 3:23 PM

We lost the war in Afghanistan the moment George W. Bush called islam a “religion of peace”.

As long as that is our policy towards that barbarian “religion” we will never defeat the terrorists.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. It’s a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It’s a faith based upon love, not hate. Mohammad’s word has guided billions of believers across the centuries, and those believers built a culture of learning and literature and science. All the world continues to benefit from this faith and its achievements. The Islam that we know is a faith devoted to the worship of one God, as revealed through The Holy Qur’an. It teaches the value and the importance of charity, mercy, and peace. - George W. Bush !!!

Just from his It’s a faith based upon love, not hate. and his All the world continues to benefit from this faith and its achievements., Bush should have been committed to a mental institution.

VorDaj on February 19, 2014 at 3:30 PM

It was not a mistake to go in. But, our strategy should have been the destruction of the Taliban, offing UBL (took too long)and getting out, letting the 7th century tribes going back to what they do best – killing each other. Our leaving after 12 years will have made zero diff to the ultimate outcome – Muslim fundamentalists will duke it out in both Pakistan and Afghanistan for supremacy. The northern tribes will break away (as in Iraq) and the Shia and Sunni will continue their quest for hegemony. Or, not…

vnvet on February 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Every non muslim on Earth has been in perpetual war with islam since 636AD, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Because islam is in perpetual war WITH US!

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Once upon a time, long ago, America had a President who had a brain and a clue and some decency, unlike the ass we now have as a President and the ass of a President we had right before him, and the ass of a Pentagon that spanned both of them.

John Quincy Adams on Islam.

In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he [Mohammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.
Between these two religions [Christianity and Islam], thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus.
The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion, is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomination of Christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike—all acknowledge its obligations; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of Christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them. Its effect has been upon the manners of nations. It has mitigated the horrors of war—it has softened the features of slavery—it has humanized the intercourse of social life. The unqualified acknowledgement of a duty does not, indeed, suffice to insure its performance. Hatred is yet a passion, but too powerful upon the hearts of Christians. Yet they cannot indulge it, except by the sacrifice of their principles, and the conscious violation of their duties. No state paper from a Christian hand, could, without trampling the precepts of its Lord and Master, have commenced by an open proclamation of hatred to any portion of the human race. The Ottoman [Muslim] lays it down as the foundation of his discourse.

VorDaj on February 19, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Afghanistan wasn’t a mistake – Iraq is arguable. The mistake was the strategy we adopted – Counterinsurgency (COIN)…though the Generals were screwing up the strategy and ROE starting in 2004 when I was in Iraq. COIN will work if you’ve got 20-30 years to mess with it, are a native with interest or a colonial power with intent to stay there forever and ever amen. As we see, not being a colonial power and not intending to stay there, the bad guys start back up as soon as you leave (like in Iraq). Afghanistan will be an even bigger disaster after 2014. In any case the tremendous fraud and waste can be laid at the feet of State and all their libtard pop-psych theories on how “Poverty Causes Terrorism” and if we just created a bored middle class anesthetized with porn, sports and stuff (USAID), they’d be too lazy to strap on a bomb.

John_G on February 19, 2014 at 7:49 PM

And no one is factoring in the heroin epidemic in the U.S. fueled by unmitigated opium production in Afghanistan (which our army has to protect). If that detail was brought out into the open, then there would be a tidal wave of opposition to this non-war war.

Myron Falwell on February 20, 2014 at 12:22 AM

How did we win World War II? By negotiating with the Nazis? By accepting Hitler ruling “a little bit less of Europe than all of it”? By allowing the Japanese Regime to continue?

NO! We REDUCED BOTH ENEMIES TO RUBBLE, REMOVED any ability to RESIST, THEN we made peace.

ConstantineXI on February 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Russia beat Germany and killed 90% of Nazi troops on the Eastern Front. Propaganda from the cold war insists we were the ultimate victors, but historians beg to differ. The much delayed big push at Normandy was as much to stop Soviet advancement across Europe as to end Nazi Germany.

As far as ‘The Graveyard of Empires’, it was arrogance thinking we could fight in such horrendous terrain.
Alexander the Great, the Iranians, the British Moguls and the Russians found that out the hard way.

When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier.

Rudyard Kipling

Nape-wa-ste on February 20, 2014 at 10:04 AM