Afghanistan, the Graveyard of Empires

It’s disputed who said it first, however it has rung true through the ages: Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. What is meant by that? Well, that the British Empire, Soviet Union, Persians, Turks, Mongols and, as of this past week, the United States were unable to defeat the Afghans on the field of battle. In what is truly a shocking twist, a twenty year war, America’s longest by far, ended in a solemn and stunning eleven days as the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan once again. It’s a sobering notion to consider that on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this year, Afghanistan will be, seemingly, right where we started the war on terror, in the hands of the Taliban.

How the United States got here unfortunately is as tragic as it is predictable. Over 2,400 brave American service members lost their lives in the fields, deserts, mountains and cities of Afghanistan over the last twenty years and the U.S. has spent $2 trillion in supplying our armies and training Afghans while engaging in a process known as “nation-building.” There’s a famous saying from the 19th century attributed to Prussian Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke the Elder where he is alleged to have said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

President Joe Biden erroneously asserts that the U.S. was never in Afghanistan to nation-build but instead it was overtly a war against terrorists that planned and executed the horrific events of September 11, 2001. It has recently come to light that for at least the last decade, U.S. intelligence and government officials alike have lied to the public and behind closed doors have known that Afghanistan was an unwinnable war but were more than happy to punt that withdrawal and political football to the next president.

Make no mistake, President Biden absolutely did the right and overdue thing by withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan but the way that it was executed and the blatantly obvious fact that our intelligence agencies were duped to no end with our political and military leadership not having a clue about the realities on the ground jarred not just Americans, but those that look to the United States for leadership the worldover.

It has long been time for the United States to tend to its own backyard, investing in infrastructure, clean energy, and most importantly its own people. However, President Biden and his allies cannot make the same mistake as President Trump and his team made when they callously and morally wrongly left our Kurdish allies to twist in the wind in the face of a coming ISIS onslaught.

There are Afghans on the ground that were invaluable to the United States over the last 20 years, often to their own peril, in the name of freedom and changing their country. America must make it a point to not only help them flee Afghanistan now that it has fallen back to the clutches of the Taliban but resettle many of those brave souls within our own borders. No, they will not take all of the jobs America has to offer, they will enrich our country as immigrants and refugees alike have done since the founding of the United States.

A profound thank you to the brave men and women who honorably served the United States of America in Afghanistan, despite the stunning collapse of the country, your service was not in vain, Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, an entire generation of Afghan women grew up going to school and learning values from the west that they otherwise would not have under Sharia Law. We love and appreciate you for your service, sacrifice and dedication to keeping us safe.


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