Afghanistan = Vietnam

In my day, it was Vietnam. I joined the Navy in January of 1973, six months before my high school graduation, so that I wouldn’t be drafted into the Army or the Marines.

Little did I know of course that the draft would be ending, but it was also one of the few ways for me to become an independent adult, considering the rural area I came from and the lack of jobs and money. I don’t regret it at all.

All over the news this week is President Biden pulling out of Afghanistan, and the counties rapid collapse with the Taliban taking over. To many Americans, this is seen as a failure, much as Nixons withdrawal from Vietnam was seen also as a failure.

But, how long can the American taxpayer be expected to foot the bill for policing another countries royal mess? The Afghan people are clearly unable to maintain any facsimile of western democracy, and why should we expect them too?

Joseph de Maistre and Alexander Hamilton got it right when they said that people get the government they deserve. If people really dislike the government ruling over them, they will change it. It has happened many times in our human history, and is most often bloody and violent.

I’d bet my next social security check that fully half the people I know couldn’t point to Afghanistan on a map, even though our tax dollars have had tens of thousands of soldiers there for two decades. I’m not sure there is much there to warrant anyone’s presence, other than the locals who want to live there. It is a hotbed of religious and political violence and has been throughout much of my adult life. We have no business being there unless we have every intention of turning it into another state, which of course would be ludicrous.

I fully support our decision to withdraw, even though people will be hurt, people will die because of their political support for us in the past, and the women of the country will be ushered back into servant status. But, if the Afghan people really want change, then why did their military, trained by us, funded by us, and with plenty of modern hardware at their disposal, give up in less than 2 weeks? Many of them simply tossing their arms to the ground and walking off. Why should we pay to support a people who clearly aren’t convinced they can support themselves?

It is high time we stopped dumping dollars into Afghanistan and I for one am relieved that we can now spend that money at home, where it is needed far more than some dusty desert on the other side of the world.


By Jim Richardson

A cranky moderate gay democrat making his way through his sixth decade on earth.

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