voice for democracy

Opinion/August: Democratic Afghanistan was not in the cards – The Providence Journal

Richard J. August, of North Kingstown, is the Gold Star father of Army Capt. Matthew August, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. 
In The Washington Post of Aug. 9, 2013, the late Dr. Charles Krauthammer wrote: “Jen Psaki, blameless State Department spokeswoman, explained that the hasty evacuation of our embassy in Yemen was not an evacuation but ‘a reduction in staff.’ Thus continues the [Obama] administration’s penchant for wordplay, the bending of language to fit a political need.”
Rather than call our chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the collapse of its army and government what it was, the Biden administration wordsmiths describe it a remarkable evacuation of thousands of people. Ms. Psaki, now President Biden’s press secretary, has apparently retained her “penchant for wordplay.”
Another example is Army Major Nidal Hassan, a physician who went on a shooting spree on Nov. 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 soldiers and wounding 32 others. Hassan is a radicalized Muslim who committed an act of domestic terrorism, which is defined as a “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.” The Obama administration chose to call it “workplace violence.” As a result the soldiers killed and wounded in the attack were denied being awarded the Purple Heart medal for suffering wounds inflicted by an enemy.
In his letter to the editor on Oct. 7 (“Biden true to his word on Afghan pullout”), Matthew Willoughby opines that “the ‘worst incompetence in our history’ was going to Afghanistan in the first place.” How quickly we forget that country was the place from which the attacks of Sept. 11 were orchestrated. Who can forget the image of Special Forces operators charging into battle on horseback with warriors of the Northern Alliance? Have we forgotten that al-Qaeda was wiped out and the Taliban demolished in Afghanistan in a matter of weeks?
This remarkable success encouraged Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his minions to convince President George W. Bush that we could replicate this in Iraq, thereby providing the impetus for the spread of democracy in the Middle East.
Many Americans, me included, think it was ridiculous to believe a largely illiterate, tribal society that speaks more than five languages and in most areas is content to live in the seventh century could be converted into a Jeffersonian democracy in less than a generation.
Moreover, as I have stated before, conventional forces cannot defeat an insurgency that has the willing or coerced support of a significant part of the population and has a place of refuge (Pakistan) where it can rest, recruit new fighters, be re-equipped and retrained, especially where we are propping up a weak, unpopular central government. See any history of our war in Vietnam for proof.
The United States signed an armistice in 1953 with the communist dictatorship of North Korea and has combat forces in South Korea, a prosperous democracy, ever since. A final peace settlement has never been achieved. Should we have expected anything less in Afghanistan?

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