e-Ariana - Todays Afghan News
 Contact Us  
 An Ariana Media Publication 04/24/2014
 Messy Afghanistan War heads for uncertain ending

USA Today, Editorial

[Printer Friendly Version]

It's official. The United States and its war weary NATO allies are pulling out of Afghanistan — win, lose or draw. A year from now, primary combat responsibilities will belong to the Afghan army, and by the end of 2014 America's longest war will end, 13 years after it began, save perhaps for a small residual force.

This will happen even if the Taliban is recovering from its losses of the last year. And it will happen whether or not Afghanistan's rapidly expanding but still undertrained military is ready. The timetable is "irreversible," NATO proclaimed Monday.

President Obama and other leaders tried, not very successfully, to paint a pretty face on their plan. But the hard fact is that the Afghanistan conflict will go into the history books in much the same way that every major war since World War II has: an unsatisfying, incomplete mess.

There's no mystery about the reasons, and no shortage of blame to spread around.

Most editorials are accompanied by an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature that allows readers to reach conclusions based on both sides of an argument rather than just the Editorial Board's point of view.

By the time Obama came to office — proclaiming Afghanistan to be a "war of necessity" — it was already beginning to look like a quagmire. A year later, Obama concluded as much. According to an extraordinarily detailed account in The New York Times, he cut the military out of the decision-making, narrowed the war's objectives and committed to a rapid pullout on a fixed timetable, even as he announced a surge of U.S. forces.

Timetables and plans without generals are no way to win a war. But 13 years also is too long to fight one. With Americans and Afghans both turning against the war, a clear-cut victory is no more attainable than it was in Vietnam, Korea or Iraq.

In that light, Obama's decision is encouraging. It is the latest signal of his conclusion that the nation is ill-served by massive, optional ground wars. That's why there were no troops on the ground in Libya and why there are unlikely to be any in Syria.

There will instead be financial support for Afghanistan, without which the government would collapse, and a sharp focus on al-Qaeda, which continues to pose a threat to the United States.

That's hardly a happy ending, but given the poor options, it might turn out to be a smart one — particularly if the United States finally learns to fight wars only as a last resort and then only with precise objectives and overwhelming force.

Back to Top

Other Stories:

20,000 Heratis being sent to Iran for work
Pajhwok (12/27/2013)

At Kabul airport, exodus of U.S. aid goes on
The Washington Post (12/27/2013)

Haqqani Network leaders sexually abuse teenager boys
Khama Press (12/27/2013)

Unemployment, Crime Rising Ahead Of Troop Pullout
Tolo (12/27/2013)

British army head warns Taliban could retake key territory in south
Khama Press (12/27/2013)

Election Officials Emphasize Impartial Surveys
Tolo (12/27/2013)

A Complete US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Would Be 'A Complete Catastrophe' For Civilian Aid
Reuters (12/27/2013)

Facing Big Changes, Anxious Afghans Hope For The Best In 2014
NPR (12/27/2013)

Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia Are the World's Most Corrupt Countries, With China in the Middle
businessweek.com (12/04/2013)

Poetry of Betrayal: Afghan Elections and Transitional Justice
Beacon Reader (10/25/2013)

Couple beheaded in Helmand province for having love affair
Khaama Press (10/25/2013)

US senator says no aid for Afghanistan unless security deal finalized
Khaama Press (10/25/2013)

Would-be child bombers detained: NDS
Pajhwok (10/25/2013)

Afghanistan’s Next First Lady Could be a Christian
PJMedia.com (10/24/2013)

The Afghan dead find a list
Inter Press Service (10/24/2013)

10 runners shortlisted in 2014 presidential race
Pajhwok (10/24/2013)

Next Afghan president: A pen or bulldozer?
Asia Times (10/24/2013)

Afghan Election Frontrunners
The Wall Street Journal (10/09/2013)

Karzai Lashes Out at U.S. for Its Role in Afghanistan
The New York Time (10/08/2013)

Karzai offered my party $100m, Noor claims
Pajhwok (10/07/2013)

Gen. Dostum apologizes for his role in Afghanistan civil war
Khama Press (10/07/2013)

27 Candidates nominated for 2014 Afghan presidential election
Khaama Press (10/07/2013)

Karzai’s elder brother Qayum Karzai nominated for Afghan presidency
Khaama Press (10/06/2013)

Afghan mines minister Shahrani resigns to run in 2014 elections
Khaama Press (10/06/2013)

Dr. Zalmai Rasoul nominated for 2014 presidential elections
Khaama Press (10/06/2013)

Ghani formally launches quest for presidency
Pajhwok (10/06/2013)

Limited VP choices put wannabes in tight spot
Pajhwok (10/05/2013)

US embassy rejects Karzai chief of staff Karim Khoram’s remarks
Khama Press (07/18/2013)

Afghan women suffer setback as parliament lowers quota for female lawmakers
NBC News (07/18/2013)

Afghanistan, US Dispute Millions in Customs Fines
Voice of America (07/18/2013)

Back to Top