Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why are we fighting?

A couple of weeks ago, CIA Director Leon Panetta said that there were fewer than 100 al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. Maybe only 50. So why are we fighting a major war against the Taliban???

Last month, 100 NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan. That's more than one allied death for every living al Qaeda member there. In just one month.

The latest estimate is that the cost of fighting this war in 2010 will be $100+ billion. That's $1 billion for every al Qaeda member thought to be living there. In one year.

This sounds completely disproportionate to the threat.

Are we fighting the Taliban simply because they are al Qaeda's ally? Is that a good enough reason?

Is that worth the tremendous time and energy and financial cost, not to mention soldiers' lives, to prosecute a major land and air war against them?

Keep in mind that the Taliban are almost entirely Pashtuns. And Pashtuns comprise nearly half of Afghanistan's population. Is there any reasonable expectation that we can totally eliminate the Taliban?

Why are we fighting? What do we hope to accomplish that is worth all of this?

These are obviously rhetorical questions, but if you actually have a sane response, let's hear it...

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