Two columns on how the current Afghanistan horrors could have been avoided.

(August 16: U.S. should have stayed in Afghanistan) The humanitarian, diplomatic, and military disaster unfolding in Afghanistan right now need never have happened.

Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden both deserve ample blame — especially Biden . But so do all those in positions of authority who dismissed Afghanistan as a “forever war,” when it was a mere police action from which both human rights and U.S. interests were greatly benefiting.

Yes, I’m saying U.S. forces should have stayed in Afghanistan indefinitely.

With the long-term deployment of fewer than 10,000 troops, the United States was accomplishing quite a bit, and it could have continued doing so. From a purely self-serving standpoint, the U.S. secured A) the advantages of a superb, forward-deployed air base useful for American interests throughout an otherwise remote area of the globe; B) deterrence of major terrorism by denying evildoers a base of operations; C) a significant locus for intelligence operations into terrorist networks, for preparation and (again) deterrence; and D) tacit pressure on the neighboring state of Pakistan, an Islamic nuclear power, to remain at least somewhat restrained and nominally neutral in the civilizational sectarian struggle that others in that part of the globe are prosecuting with zeal…. [The full column is here.]

A Chaplain from Taskforce Strength, Combined Joint Task Force 76, Afghanistan hands a bag filled with clothing and toys to an Afghan father.

 

(Aug. 16: Sen. Sasse rightly blames the last two presidents) Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has hit home with a series of blunt critiques of the Afghanistan-withdrawal policies of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Both presidents and their top national security aides deserve all the criticism Sasse gives.

Sasse consistently opposed Trump’s determination to withdraw from the south Asian country without a lasting peace, and last November described it as a “weak retreat” that is “not grounded in reality and will make the world a more dangerous place.” He cannot be accused of merely piling on in retrospect…. [The full column is at this link.]

 

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