It is tempting to blame Washington elites, or the deep state, or the military-industrial complex for America’s misbegotten Afghanistan policy. And I, among others, have been critical of all those forces. But as a 21-year-old who favored the Afghan War when it began, I was among the majority who believed that the anti-war leftists of 2001 were wrong in their dire warnings of quagmire. So I am painfully aware that the American masses, almost the entire populist right, the center-left, and Bush-era elites joined forces in supporting the war in Afghanistan, while a tiny faction of anti-capitalists, paleoconservatives, and libertarians opposed it.

Some anti-war signs held aloft at small protests included unhelpful comparisons of George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler and mistaken assertions that racism had motivated the intervention.

But the dismissive response to those anti-war protesters extended to more reasonable claims, some of which proved prescient. An illustrative example, published at The American Prospect on October 2, 2001, took aim at a sarcastic protest sign that declared Rush In, Think Later.