By Brandon Whitney
I’m a progressive; I believe in progressive values and am generally anti-war. I believe the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and that many lives and valuable resources were lost because of it. I believe that a great deal of war profiteering took place in Iraq which is borderline treasonous, and that there should be some prosecution to that affect. What I don’t believe is that Iraq should be used as an excuse to leave the job unfinished in Afghanistan.
A lot of arguments have been made for leaving Afghanistan. Vietnam and the pointless loss of American lives there is often brought up. The sin of invading Iraq is often used in the argument for leaving Afghanistan. The anger in the Arab and Muslim world at the presence of Westerners in their lands is also used as a reason for pulling out of Iraq. It has even been said that because no nation has ever successfully conquered Afghanistan is used as a reason for leaving. All of these arguments do not address the principal issue and purpose of sending troops to the country. We invaded Afghanistan in order to catch or kill Bin Laden and destroy the Al Qaeda network.
We are not invaders in Afghanistan; the use of the term was foolish in the beginning and has lead to an obfuscation of the issues. We are there to catch Bin Laden. The Taliban were an oppressive regime, with whom we had ties, and with whom we were indifferent unless they stopped us from catching Bin Laden. When they got in the way, they became our enemies. We must catch Osama Bin Laden because he is still a threat. I know that the previous administration used that fact as a blunt instrument that was used to crush opposition and rush through bad legislation, but is also the truth. If we squander an opportunity to crush Al Qaeda and their allies and we allow Pakistan to become a tool of extremist we are allowing ourselves to be put into mortal danger.
Afghanistan is a nation which is attempting to be born into the fraternity of democracies, and it needs our help. This does not mean we are trying to conquer the nation, or even force them to have a government that mirrors our own form of democracy, but it does mean that we cannot, as we have done to so many nations in the past, leave a strongman in charge because it’s the simplest thing to do. This effectively passes on a great burden to our children and increases the level of animosity towards our nation in that part of the world.
Finally, Bin Laden is still free and will attack us again if the opportunity presents itself. Before 9/11 the World Trade Center was bombed. They failed to destroy it. On September 11, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were successfully attacked and the WTC was completely destroyed. Bin Laden is not going to stop attacking us. I do not state this in order to start a wrong headed crusade against all of the Middle East. We are not at war against the Muslim world, or terrorists. We are not trying to bring democracy to the world through force. We are trying to catch the man who successfully planed an attack against us and shows a willingness to do so again. To disengage in our attempt to seek him out in the places where he is most likely to dwell is not naïve, it’s suicidal.
Brandon Whitney is the creator of Homelandcolors.blogspot.com a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic Party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.