"Time to Get Out of Afghanistan" is the headline of George Will's column today, a welcome affirmation by a conservative of my own rather lonesome position as first expressed five months ago in "Let Afghanistan Go", which draws on the military expertise of Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (USA ret.), and in various writings since.
Will's heavy-weight weighing in prompted headlines everywhere, driving Surger-cons at NRO's The Corner and Hot Air, into rapid-response-mode to bat down Will's heterodoxy. This is a good thing because there has been no debate on the Right on this vital national concern.
It will be a hard slog, however. What animates and drives the more or less institutional Right is its vision of Iraq as a "success," and its desire to repeat that "success" in Afghanistan. But, as noted here, "an infidel nation cannot fight for the soul of an islamic nation." Correction, it can fight -- which US forces have been doing for the past eight years -- but it cannot win. There is nothing to win, which is why, for example Iraq, after six awful years of US involvement, is still just another stinkin' OPEC-belonging, Israel-boycotting, Hezbollah-sympathetic, anti-US entity with new and improved ties to Iran. The fundamental reason for this, the truth that is never admitted in our PC-educated See-No-Islam-ever dhimmitude, is that our belief systems, Islam's and the West's, are diametrically opposed. Left and Right in this country rigorously scrub this truth and its centuries of confirming history from all policy -- an excessively antiseptic way to view conflict in the world that will always miss the cure by ignoring the germs.
On this count, Will's column is no different, never once mentioning Islam. Which is why his conclusion may be a little fuzzy. He writes:
So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
Me, I would remove all forces in carrying out that "comprehensively revised policy" -- comprehensively revised to reconfigure our strategic alliances to include only anti-jihad, anti-sharia nations. This is the thesis of Defeating Political Islam by Moorthy Muthuswamy, which I agree with and reviewed here.
I'm not sure what Will means by calling Pakistan "a nation that actually matters." Certainly, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal matters because it could be used against us, and thus US national security demands an execution-ready plan to neutralize it. But Pakistan, a pro-sharia, pro-jihad culture, doesn't "matter" in terms of amounting to an ally, ever. How can the US even imagine alliance with a nation where the army's motto is "Faith, piety and holy war in the path of Allah"? How can the US even imagine alliance with a nation where, for example, 78 percent of the people support the death penalty for leaving Islam? (See the latest Pew data from just last month here.) But such has been our blind and thwarted policy desire for decades, now manifested in a delusional strategy for US forces in Afghanistan to ally with Pakistan to squeeze antiseptically-named "extremists" in the middle. Is Will supporting some lighter-footprinted variation of this doomed policy? Unclear.
More clarity required. This means reckoning with Islam -- jihad, sharia, dhimmitude -- as a strategic factor in US policy.