Senate votes to speed Afghanistan withdrawal

| November 30, 2012

The Associated Press reports that yesterday the Senate voted 62-33 to end our participation in the war in Afghanistan earlier than the Obama Administration planned for the end of 2014;

Although the vote was on a nonbinding amendment to a defense policy bill, its significance could not be discounted amid the current discussions.

Thirteen Republicans, including Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, backed the measure.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., its chief sponsor, argued that al-Qaida is stronger in other parts of the world and that nation-building in Afghanistan has gone off track.

At this point, I have to agree somewhat. The Obama Administration has no intention of bringing the necessary pain to al Qaeda or the Taliban. The Afghans themselves seem perfectly content to let the Taliban take the country back. No one seems committed to winning the war against terror except the troops who are sacrificing themselves at a higher rate there than ever before.

The Obama strategy seems to be only to give the impression that we’re involved, what with adopting the robot ninja zombie strategy of Joe Bite-Me which is only one degree better than the Clinton cruise missile solution to his terrorist problems.

The sooner we can pull our troops out, the sooner they can stop dying to give the public impression that this administration wants to fight terror.

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Terror War

Comments (27)

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  1. USMCE8Ret says:

    IMO, those who cast their vote to end the war don’t recognize that “ending the war” only means that those troops they are pulling out will only have to fight it elsewhere, and that all the $$$ already put in to nation-building in AFG will likely be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Karzai and his ilk surely won’t carry the torch in maintaining security or improvements to the infrastructure there. The Taliban and Al Quaeda will only gain another stronghold. Just a matter of time. I don’t claim to be an expert, but how will maintaining 68,000 troops in the area guarantee any level of security or stability? After a decade of fighting and dumping heaps of money into the place (not to mention those killed or injured), what proof, in the end, will we have to show that our commitment to the war on terrorism was to “win it”, not just “end it”?

  2. Doc Bailey says:

    Well things can’t get more fucked up over there than they already are. What’s the worst pulling out in disgrace is going to do?

  3. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    The troops have done what they were ordered to do and a dear price has been paid by many of them. A largely ungrateful nation, more interested in updates regarding American Idol contestants than it is in the accomplishments and status of American fighting forces, and the self-serving politicians, have failed the troops. If our people were rolled out of there by noon tomorrow, that would be good news to me.

  4. 2BlueStars says:

    USMCE8R, we aren’t fighting a war anymore. We are trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit. It is very sad but what can you do with a culture that is 90% illiterate? How do you build a security force when they can’t read, write or count? Not to mention their tribal society. It would take generations to get them to be somewhat functioning and the military can’t provide what they need.

    I’ve never been to either but everyone who I have talked to who went to Iraq and then Afghanistan was like WTF? Going there was like being on another planet.

  5. CAs6 says:

    Wouldn’t it just be too bad if AQ regrouped in Afghanistan and plotted another major terrorist attack, like somewhere in California or New York or Massachusetts or somewhere else nice and blue on this map

  6. CI says:

    I agree with this vote; we’re not bringing the pain to al Qaeda as long as we’re entrenched in AFG. THAT needs to be the primary focus of our defense and intelligence apparatus for the near term.

  7. SGT E says:

    @ 2-17 Air Cav, “more interested in updates regarding American Idol contestants” – kinda funny, my wife and I started watching American Idol a year or so before I enlisted. So while I was in BCT, my wife would write me letters while watching the show – tell me about each song, what the judges said, who got voted off, etc. I had a whole group of guys looking forward to those updates each week, to see if the hippie had been sent packing, or if they judges saved the hot chick…

    Of course, that said, we were still WAY more interested in “the accomplishments and status of American fighting forces” than American Idol…still, kinda funny…

  8. 2BlueStars says:

    My son got back from Astan in April. He is in the Army Infantry and was in Panjwaii. Every day they would go out patrol and get in firefights. When they did develop a plan to combat the ambushes offensively they were told to stop. My son cynically said their job was to get shot at and find the IED’s by stepping on them.

  9. USMCE8Ret says:

    @4 – It’s just that I’ve always been hopeful for a better and more deliberate outcome. None of us who have served either in IRQ or AFG never, for one iota of a second, wanted to quit at something that had already been sacrificed for so much. The job just isn’t done. But I agree with you and your sentiments – so I must quote comedian Kathleen Madigan: “Fixing Afghanistan is like trying to fix the moon.” Sadly, perhaps it will take something to the magnitude of something like 9/11/01 to make this country remember why we set out to accomplish our mission in the first place. I truly hope I’m wrong. I truly do.

  10. OWB says:

    Have said many times that if we are not going to fight to win, then bring the troops home. It’s the only intelligent thing to do.

  11. USMCE8Ret says:

    @10 – I certainly agree. Too bad they’ll come home under such circumstances.

  12. 2BlueStars says:

    @9, People call me a sap. It breaks my heart no matter who they are or where they are to see people living so oppressed. There is evil in this world and unfortunately we don’t have the will to confront it. Truthfully, I don’t even know if another 9/11 will get people to see, they will find excuses and probably blame us. The mindset we are seeing today is frightening to me. Our military is NOT made up of quitters! If it were y’all running the show instead of the politicians there probably would have been a different outcome.

  13. 2BlueStars says:

    @6, Al Qaeda is openly operating now in more countries than before 9/11. It seems to me this administration has accepted their existence and the political power they are gaining.

  14. CI says:

    @13 – You’re correct, though that migration of TTPs and mentorship to affiliated movements began around 2003.

  15. 2BlueStars says:

    @14, I watched James Clapper testify before the Senate months ago, when asked about Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula he replied that he wasn’t too worried because now that they were in control of the area they would have to worry about “municipal responsibilities”. I actually laughed out loud thinking, what? Garbage pick-up? Zoning compliance? Getting the water company up and running?

  16. Nik says:


    No. Christians to stone. Genitals to mutilate. Women to stone. You know, the usual. :p

  17. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Air-Cav the troops always do what they’re ordered to do, the ending of this war won’t be all that different from 40 years ago…we will leave and the enemy we were fighting will take over the areas we were defending….at least after this war ends you won’t need such a large wall in DC to hold the names of the dead….when you don’t fight a war to defeat your enemy into total surrender, the outcome can’t vary much from what is happening now.

    There was not a recognition of the culture and obstacles in nation building in a stone age nation….it requires 50 years or more of occupation and investment to change Afghanistan into maybe a third world nation at best…there was never that level of commitment or planning in this endeavor.

    History will ultimately judge the decisions made versus the actual outcomes. It should make for some interesting reading for future leaders, perhaps they will learn something useful.

  18. Dave says:

    VOV – Maybe military leaders will learn; our civilian leadership seems unable or unwilling.

  19. The Dead Man says:

    Well. I always wondered why people forgot what General Sherman said, but in this situation? I don’t see a better option. Our leadership spends too much time in the mirror, the people have effectively mentally checked out in many cases and we don’t have any good propaganda coming out. So we don’t have the effective leadership, we don’t have the support of the people for no reason other than it was Bush and we aren’t winning the hearts and minds, or crushing in another case, of the enemy

  20. USMCE8Ret says:

    @17 VOV – “It should make for some interesting reading for future leaders, perhaps they will learn something useful.”

    We can only hope so, because those who lead today certainly haven’t learned the lessons from history – which is destined to repeat itself as it is today.

  21. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @20 I have been disappointed in the prosecution of this conflict for some time. There seemed to be no plan in place at the start, and little consideration of what the long term outcome should be for our security interests. Nation building works best if you start with a nation. Afghanistan was never that, not in the sense we consider nation states. It appeared to me that no one accounted for the stone age education, lifestyle, and tribal influences in the initiation. Probably because it’s harder to sell a conflict where there will be 50 or more years of occupation required to create a nation with such a primitive starting point.

  22. Common Sense says:

    Nation building in Afghanistan was doomed to failure from the beginning. Read Steven Pressfield’s The Afghan Campaign. If Alexander the Great (without any stupid ROE) couldn’t tame the place, what ever made us thing we could?

    We have the greatest military in the world. If we’re not willing to use the full might of it to win decisively as quickly as possible, then we shouldn’t enter a conflict to begin with.

  23. NHSparky says:

    Is it any wonder that nobody has really won in Afghanistan for over 3000 years? First off, the natives know that era far better than we, considering they’re much closer to it, and second, it’s so far been 11 years of, “I know you are, but what am I?” type of reasoning with these idiots.

    My only hope is NOBODY takes Karzai and he has to sit in Kabul just long enough for the Taliban to get their mitts on his worthless backstabbing ass.

  24. CAs6 says:

    “If Alexander the Great (without any stupid ROE) couldn’t tame the place, what ever made us thing we could?”


  25. Sig says:

    The problem isn’t winning in Afghanistan. It’s that there’s nothing to win.

    If they called me up tomorrow, I would go, and happily, because as long as we have troops on the ground I have a mission and I like doing it. But when announced our intent to not even try to win, we announced our willingness to lose; it’s all over but the final tallying of the dead.

    I’m willing to concede the field because you do not waste strength on something you cannot move, and you do not throw good lives after bad.

  26. Unfortunately, this was inevitable. We lost this early on when we failed to use the strategy we used in WWII with Japan and Germany.

    This is one of the best essays on the war effort I have ever read. Expresses my thoughts on it better than I ever could. When I first read it back in 2006 or so, there were times I wanted to get up and cheer what he was saying: “No Substitute for Victory”
    The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism

    The simple summary? As soon as we took over both Afghistan and Iraq, our first order of business should have been to ban Islam from government and WE would write their constitutions, just as we banned Shintoism.

    A bit of a read, and really there’s so much good about it that it’s tough to excerpt, but here’s an excerpt:

    In short, the second, pragmatic, altruistic approach has failed. In the five years since 9/11, the motivations behind the Islamic attacks have not been suppressed — and this is the real failure of these policies. The number of particular attacks is not the measure of success or failure. The Islamic Totalitarians remain physically intact, spiritually committed, and politically empowered. The Islamic Totalitarian movement remains — distributed, without the strong central command Al Qaeda once had, but still energized — and it appears like hidden gushers, the jihad bursting forth in seemingly random places by internal pressure from an underground stream. Our acceptance of pragmatism, the policy of short-range trial and error that rejects principles on principle — and altruism, the morality of self-sacrifice — left no other result possible.

    The reason for this failure is that every one of the ideas we used to evaluate our options is wrong. In every case, the opposite of today’s “conventional wisdom” is true.

    —A strong offense does not create new enemies; it defeats existing foes. Were this not so, we would be fighting German and Japanese suicide bombers today, while North Korea — undefeated by America — would be peaceful, prosperous, and free.

    —Poverty is not the “root cause” of wars. If it were, poor Mexicans would be attacking America, not begging for jobs at Wal-Mart.

    —Democracy is not a route to freedom — not for the Greeks who voted to kill Socrates, nor for the Romans who acclaimed Caesar, nor for the Germans who elected Hitler.

    —A culture of slavery and suicide is not equal to a culture of freedom and prosperity — not for those who value life.

    —The world is not a flux of contradictions, in which principles do not work. If it were, gravity would not hold, vaccinations would not work, and one would not have a right to one’s life.

    —Being moral does not mean sacrificing for others. It means accepting the American principle of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — and living for one’s own sake.

    History is clear: All-out force against fanatical killers is both practical and moral. It led us to our two most important foreign policy successes — the defeats of Germany and Japan in 1945 — and to the permanent peace with those nations that we take for granted today. Such a course was practical and moral then, and it is practical and moral now — an affirmation, and a defense, of life and civilization.

    Rights-respecting people, those who do not initiate force against others, have a right to defend themselves for their own sakes — because they have a right to live. To do this, they must approach their enemies in a principled, self-interested way. Ayn Rand, in her essay on the nature of government, observed a vital relationship between man’s right to life and his right to self-defense:

    The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.

    If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.

    These words ring especially true in the war against Islamic Totalitarianism. The consequence of our failure to respond forthrightly to these attacks has been precisely to encourage and reward this movement. We have granted it a safe haven, allowed it to claim victory through continued existence, appealed to its apologists who spread anti-American venom, and emboldened those who wish to take up the fight against us. The solution is to renounce altruistic appeasement and pragmatic compromise, to recognize our own value, and to defend our lives by right. We must defeat these enemies, and we can.

  27. Ex-PH2 says:

    They want to speed up withdrawal from Afghanistan?

    Maybe they should stop publicizing it. This just appeared at 11:45PM CST:

    If the media could ever get anything right, I’d be surprised. I don’t think the publicity is helping our people in Afghanistan one little bit.