The Bigger Picture
Published on December 17th in Metro Éireann By Charles Laffiteau
Last week I began discussing why I believe President Obama’s decision to use another “surge” of American troops in Afghanistan was the most moral decision he could have made under the circumstances. The primary reason I cited was my belief, shared by President Obama, that America had a moral obligation to try to bring enough order and stability to Afghanistan, so that we could leave there with some hope that its citizens will be able to maintain this on their own after we are gone. But there are other reasons too.
I would ask those on the left who are critical of President Obama’s decision to send more American troops into Afghanistan instead of withdrawing them, to seriously consider what would most likely happen if America simply pulled out of the country. Do they honestly think the Taliban insurgency would collapse? I could be wrong but I doubt that very many of those who oppose Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan have taken into account what will likely happen if the Taliban insurgency was to continue after an American pullout. So allow me to paint a picture of the two possible scenarios that could unfold if America pulled out of Afghanistan next year.
In an ideal world it is possible that an American withdrawal will leave the Taliban without a foreign enemy that it can use to motivate its fighters and or encourage more Afghanis to join its ranks. Under this scenario the Taliban wouldn’t be able to muster the resources they need to engineer a complete takeover of the country and or their Afghani opponents would be able control significant portions of the country. Possible? Yes. But likely? Hardly. That’s because, unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.
I would therefore contend that the most likely effect of an American withdrawal would be an ensuing takeover of the entire country. Given their past history of providing quasi-governmental support for al Qaeda terrorists, it is also more likely than not that the Taliban will do so again, especially since al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in the Pakistan frontier regions are now engaged in a heated conflict with Pakistani government troops.
As such, another Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will likely lead to the re-establishment of a base of operation for al Qaeda from which it can plan and train for more terror attacks against innocent civilians in the US as well as other nations around the world. Spain, the UK, Kenya, Indonesia. Do any of those names ring a bell?
Furthermore, with a secure base of operations in Afghanistan, al Qaeda terrorists will also be in a position to launch attacks against its Muslim neighbors in the region such as Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China too for that matter. While it is indeed possible that the Taliban will try to discourage these kinds of cross border attacks by its al Qaeda allies, no evidence currently exists that suggests they are likely to do so. However, based on the Taliban’s current support for al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Pakistan, the only hard evidence we have to date tells us we can expect more rather fewer attacks on the regimes that control countries on Afghanistan’s borders.
Why should this concern my friends on the left here in Europe and in America? After all, these countries are thousands of miles away from our homes in America and Europe so any instability in this region of the world is unlikely to ever affect us or our way of life. The problem with this line of thinking is that it fails to properly consider the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the pseudo-religious al Qaeda terrorists.
I would contend that anyone who believes that al Qaeda wouldn’t try to gain control of some of these nuclear weapons or that al Qaeda wouldn’t actually use them if it succeeded in acquiring them, is also ignoring the Taliban and al Qaeda leaders’ track record of recruiting and training suicide bombers to kill innocent mostly Muslim civilians indiscriminately. They have no regard for human life so why would they let the thought of killing a few million Muslims stand in the way of using nuclear weapons?
While some of my friends on the left may not wish to acknowledge the reality of the very real threat posed to millions of innocent people by these pseudo-religious Muslim terrorists, the vast majority of political leaders around the world agree that this threat is very real. That is also the reason why you don’t see or hear any of them criticizing Obama’s decision to devote more resources to the conflict in Afghanistan.
But there is one more reason I want to cite which gives the greatest support to my argument that Obama’s decision represents the most moral choice that he could make under the circumstances. It is also something none of my friends on the left appear to have ever considered. It is the fact that most Afghani civilians don’t want America to leave and allow their country to fall back into the clutches of the Taliban.
Unlike most of my leftist friends, I have actually discussed this issue with native Afghan men and women. They are disgusted by the inefficiency and corruption that characterizes the current government in Kabul but they have a much greater fear of what will happen to their friends and family if the Taliban ever regain power. They reminded me that they had lived under Taliban rule once before and that they didn’t know a single person back in Afghanistan who wanted to ever live that way again.
One woman also asked me to consider the fate that awaits women should the Taliban ever come to power again. Having done so, I would now ask my friends on the left to also take a moment to talk to some Afghan women about Obama’s decision before they begin trying to organize protests against it.
Next week I’ll discuss Climate Change!