It is almost eight years since American forces smashed their way into Afghanistan along with anti-Taliban militants and within a month had rid the country of its hated rulers. It apparently was a quick victory, and it was expected that an Afghan army would be trained to assume control of the nation. Hundreds of billions of dollars later, the United States is just beginning to organize the semblance of an Afghan army while the government is still run by tribal rulers who regard government as a means to gain wealth.
Steven Biddle, of the Council on Foreign Relations, emphasizes “we will need a large combat presence for many years to come, and we will probably need a large financial commitment for longer than that.” Over 700 American troops have died fighting in Afghanistan and the current rate since Obama ordered a “surge” is running at close to twenty-five to thirty a month.
The real question is whether the American people will support a decade long involvement in Afghanistan without evidence there is a commitment on the part of the Afghan government for honest, effective leadership. It would not be shocking if the central political issue in the 2012 presidential reason is “who got us involved in Afghanistan?”