When Quitting is Winning: Time To Get Out of Afghanistan

"If I can just see the European war out I think I might feel justified in quitting the war." -Ernie Pyle

“If I can just see the European war out I think I might feel justified in quitting the war.”
-Ernie Pyle

Is the Obama administration pulling a “cut and run” in Afghanistan?  Politico writer Dan Reiter certainly thinks so, and he’s right to say that this isn’t the American way of war.  Americans are notorious for wanting a clear and concise “victory”, but there’s more to war than “winning” or “losing” and the increase of power we seek in a victory isn’t always related to completely and utterly crushing an opponent on the battlefield.

I’m not much for guessing what the administration’s real reason for bailing out on Afghanistan is, but if I had to guess I’d say they’re trying to get in shape for the 2016 elections.  The withdrawal of nearly all American troops by 2016 is a signal that we’re going to stop making so much war in the Middle East, but the severely underwhelming and over sensationalized “slash” in the 2015 defense budget says otherwise.  I also doubt that the Defense Department’s war agenda is going to become any less ambitious or even that we’ll stop fighting wars for Israel any time soon.

I don’t feel like a democrat, but their recent moves with the defense budget and the recently announced plans for a draw-down in Afghanistan are “looking” good to me.   This is trouble for the GOP because the only thing I can hear them saying right now is “more spending, more war, and less immigration enforcement”.  If we’re getting out of the business of making war in Afghanistan then we should back out of this one with some measure of finality.  The only thing that could mess this up is if the future president’s administration decides that we have to go back to Afghanistan in early 2017.  To fight and die for something once is bad enough, but to needlessly do it twice is adding insult to injury.  Does anyone else think that this scenario sound similar to the First and Second Battle of Falluja?

But more on point, it’s not correct to think of our exit from Afghanistan as a loss.  Continuing to fight a war that has no benefit to America would be a loss, so this is actually the smartest decision that anyone has made about the whole let’s-have-a-war-in-Afghanistan thing.  It was a bad decision to get involved in Afghanistan in the first place, and it doesn’t look any better that we’ve been at it for the last 13 years, but endlessly grinding on would be doubling down on failure with delusions of grandeur.

American philosopher Francis Parker Yockey defines politics as “activity in relation to power”, so it’s telling that we’ve finally signaled our time to leave Afghanistan.  There was never any reason for us to be in Afghanistan in the first place, and it’s not like we were going to increase our own political power by fighting there.  If it wasn’t so expensive the Defense Dept. probably would’ve gone right on fighting there.  As this relates to politics as activity in relation to power, we’re quitting the war in Afghanistan either because it has become such a costly drain on our own political power, or the Defense Dept. is preparing for war somewhere else.

Americans still think of the first and second World Wars as the last “good war”, but if we’re judging the value and justification of war in relation to our sense of morality and justice then we’re really going to hell in a basket.  Yockey says that the only time that war is justified is when it increases our political power.

“Units engaged in politics may gain or lose power.  Instinct and understanding direct them to seek to increase power.  War is the most intense method of trying to increase power.  Thus a war which has no practically foreseeable possibility of increasing power is not politically justifiable.  A war which promises an increase in power is politically justifiable.  This is what the word success means in this connection, i.e., that increased power is the result of the war.  When diminished power is the result of the war, the war was unsuccessful.”

If you doubt the gravity of this proposition then just take a look at what happened to the British empire in the decades that followed the first and second World Wars.  The British weren’t able to claim that the sun never set on their empire after they “saved the world from fascism”.  Seems like a fair trade, right?  They helped defeat Nazi Germany in exchange for the collapse of their own empire, and the genocide of an entire generation of German youth.  I’m not going to talk about the financial cost of those wars because nothing compares to the cost of lives lost.

If the British and the Americans weren’t fighting for themselves, who were they fighting for?  Yockey explains that not all armies are supporting the country in which they are in service to and just because you fight under the banner of your own country doesn’t mean that you’re fighting for it’s own interests.

“But if there were more than two powers engaged in a war, and a military victory was gained, one or more powers must have gained the political victory, i.e., must have increased in power.  Thus if any power, despite the fact that it was on the winning side in a military sense, nevertheless emerged with less power, it was in fact fighting for the political victory of another power,.  In other words it was not actually an independent unit, but was in the service of another unit.”

Care to take a guess at who won the first and second World Wars?  If you’re a die hard American or British patriot you’re not going to like the answer.  The only country that came out on top after WWII was Israel.  The Jews got their own country out of the whole ordeal, and both America and Great Britain have been sucking Israel’s hind tit ever since.  Using our excellent powers of hindsight, does anyone want to guess at who why we’re fighting in Afghanistan?  The first hint is free:  It’s not for our own best interest, and the answer rhymes with isn’t-real.

Dan Reiter’s article about the Obama administration’s decision to “cut and run” from Afghanistan was right to point out that there’s no danger in leaving them to their own devices.  He also pointed out that we had no business in Vietnam either.  The only war that America has fought that actually increased our political power was the American War of Independence.

I’m doubtful that the next war we get into is going to be beneficial to America’s political power.  For the record, don’t think that America won’t be trapped into fighting another one very soon, and the reason why is that so many of our wars are at the behest of Israel.  Pulling a cut-and-run from one war is perfectly justified if it protects or increases our own political power, and we should double down on that kind of success by bringing our troops home, defending our own borders, and telling Israel to fight their own wars.
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When Quitting is Winning: Time to Get Out of Afghanistan by Thomas Buhls is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

One Comment


I believe America was justified in attacking Afghanistan because Al Qaeda was operating from that country. The war derailed when the mission expanded to become a nation building exercise. The Taliban were never really about international terrorism. They are Pashtun nationalists and now that the US is withdrawing, it will be forced to negotiate with them.

While Israel may have been a motivating factor, the military industrial complex also drove US involvement in Afghanistan. I am a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. While I was in country, I witnessed the vast amount of money being spent. The war was used to justify the vast transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the coffers of big business.

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