Gallup has a new poll out: 49% now say the war in Afghanistan was a “mistake,” an all-time high. You can view the public opinion graph since the beginning of the Afghan war in 2001 here.
No matter where a person stands on American policy, past or present, regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some common ground might exist with this simple proposition: how about politicians avoid war until they learn how to garner public support for the effort — and then learn how to maintain that support through to victory?
Along those lines, here are the comments of two veteran commentators on the recent developments in Iraq and Afghanistan. First, Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
“Nothing is more foolish — and immoral — than sending men into battle to risk their lives winning victories that are later lost by politicians for political reasons.
That started long before the war in Afghanistan. Vietnam was a classic example. Years after that war was over, the communist victors themselves admitted that they lost militarily in Vietnam, as they knew they would.
But they won politically in America, with the help of Americans, including the media — as they also knew they would.
The war in Iraq was more of the same. American troops won that war, but our politicians lost the peace. Terrorists have now taken over, and raised al Qaeda flags, in some Iraqi towns that American troops liberated at the cost of many lives.”
If we can’t be serious, we have no right to send young Americans out into the hell of war.
Read more: Thomas Sowell.
Next is Dennis Prager, a radio talk show host, syndicated columnist, author, and public speaker:
“[T]he Iraqi and Afghan wars have not “ended.” Only America’s involvement has “ended.” In Iraq, the war between violent Islamists and other Iraqis is intensifying; and in Afghanistan the war between violent Islamists and other Afghanis will begin as soon as, or even before, American troops leave.
Second, when a country leaves a war before achieving victory it is not called leaving. It is called defeat. The only goal of a war is victory. Even if you have been victorious on the battlefield — as we have been in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and as we were in Vietnam — if you leave before securing your ends, you will have lost the war. Had America left South Korea after having won the Korean War on the battlefield, there would still have been a war on the Korean peninsula — a war that South Korea would have ultimately lost, and thereby disappeared from the map. All of Korea would have then become the concentration camp that North Korea is today.”
If America is not prepared to stay indefinitely — and to stay does not necessarily mean to continue fighting — in a country in which it fights, it should never engage in that war.
Because when the decent leave, the indecent win.
Read more: Dennis Prager.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.