Rescue America by leaving Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria to Mr. Putin

So why is the U.S. military staying longer in Afghanistan to keep bleeding in a war that was lost long ago? Why is President Obama leaving behind a force whose story may turn out to be a reprise of an old western movie in which a valiant but tiny cavalry unit mans a fort surrounded by savage Indians and waits for reinforcements that do not come in time to rescue it? Why do we care what happens in Afghanistan after already losing the war, wasting the lives and limbs of several thousand U.S. Marines and soldiers, and expending a trillion wasted dollars, a goodly part of which cannot be accounted for?

The answer to each of these questions is that President Obama and his party (and apparently many Republicans and the Joint Chiefs of Staff) do not give a tinkers’ damn about the lives of our military personnel — in Afghanistan, Iraq, or the hospitals of the Veterans Administration — because most do not vote Democratic and because the Democrats will soon have in their thrall millions of illegal-immigrants made into illegal-voters by the Democratic criminals who govern California. The latter issue, and the 2nd Amendment’s role in it, is a story for another time, but there is an answer to Afghanistan and it goes as follows.

First, acknowledge that the Afghan war is irretrievably lost. The Joint Chiefs are now headed by a Marine general, Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., for whom truth, courage, regard for his troops’ lives, and frank manliness ought to be second nature, and who has been taught that the best generals know victory when they see it, but also know and admit when they are beaten and prefer to stop the waste that is the only product of reinforcing defeat. He should publicly say what he knows to be true and then resign his post.

Second, welcome and act to immediately exploit the tremendous opportunity to escape Afghanistan presented to the United States by Russian President Putin. Putin already has the Russian military positioned to further intervene in the Ukraine. He also has started what will be a long, costly, and losing war in Syria, a place that holds a potential threat to Russian security because of the thousands of Russian and CIS Muslims — up to 7,000 the Russian media claim — who are fighting there alongside the Islamic State. The real and immediate Islamist threat to Russia and the CIS states, however, is Afghanistan.

Third, recognize that the Afghan threat that Putin’s Russia now encounters is far more formidable than the one from Syria. Afghanistan has a long and relatively undefended border with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and each of these Central Asian states — add Kyrgyzstan to the three noted — has a restive and increasingly militant Muslim population; all four also have contingents of their nationals fighting with the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. This is a problem in itself for Moscow, but Russia’s outlook is further darkened by the growing power of the Taliban in northern Afghanistan — note the recent battles in Kunduz — and the fact that much of the currently non-Taliban population of the northern region are ethnic Central Asians, many of whom fought as mujahideen against the Red Army in the Afghan-Soviet War (1979-1992) and still seek revenge on the Russians for their barbarity in that war.

Fourth, conclude that the Taliban’s growing strength in the north is bad enough for Russia, but that the arrival and quick numerical growth and geographic dispersal of Islamic State (IS) forces gives Moscow, the Central Asian regimes, and China a near-term and deeply unsettling nightmare. IS forces, of course, are in Afghanistan to try to displace the Taliban as the primary Sunni Islamist organization in the country and region. They also are there, however, to try to expand the IS’s caliphate into Iran, India, and Pakistan, but most especially into Central Asia and western China. This is a reality that Putin, the Central Asian leaders, and Beijing cannot ignore. They would have to fill the Afghan void created if the U.S. military presence and U.S. funding are terminated because neither the Kabul government nor its military are viable without substantial and prolonged foreign military protection and money.

Fifth, regard any U.S. politician, pundit, reverend, or academic who whines that a complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would betray “our Afghan allies” as a person to be netted and packed off to an asylum. The Afghan regime will not fight, cannot govern, stole tens of billions of U.S. dollars, traffics in heroin, and is asking Russia for military and financial assistance. Clearly, the United States can only gain by losing this ally.

In their totality, these five factors demand a quick and complete termination of the U.S. military presence in and funding for Afghanistan. Such an action will get U.S. Marines and soldiers out of harm’s way, save the bankrupt U.S. Treasury from borrowing billions more from China to give to the thieves in Kabul, and, most important, leave Putin mired in expensive, lengthy, highly lethal, and losing interventions.

Unlike mindless, democracy-mongering U.S. interventionists, moreover, Putin must stay the course and try to win militarily in each theater because each poses a genuine national security threat to Russia; the strategically vital Crimea cannot be returned to the U.S.-EU-created, anti-Russia regime in Ukraine; the many thousands of Islamist fighters from Russia, the North Caucuses, and Central Asia now serving with IS in Syria/Iraq cannot be ignored until they return home as skilled and veteran mujahideen; and Central Asia cannot be allowed to be inundated by IS-led Islamists who will recruit numerous local fighters and civilian supporters and wage war against the four Central Asian regimes, none of which is much if any better than the Afghan regime in terms of governing capabilities and military prowess.

With the stroke of his fabled pen — and, for once, constitutionally — President Obama can turn over Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to President Putin and let him supply the immense amounts of soon-to-be wasted money and blood that have heretofore been provided by U.S. taxpayers and their soldier-children. Putting this mess on Putin’s plate should keep Russia stuck and bleeding lives and resources for years and would intensify the Shia-Sunni war that is an unmerited godsend for the United States — and perhaps for Europe, if it can muster enough manliness to evict unarmed, unwanted, and social-cohesion destroying refugees.

The only effective U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, then, is to immediately and totally withdraw; stop berating Putin as he tries — but will fail — to defend Russia’s genuine national interests in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan; quietly rebuild the worn U.S. military for use in decisively closing the southern border; and silently observe and learn from Russia the immense costs involved in necessary and losing foreign interventions, while reflecting on the enormous human and monetary costs the U.S. governing elite has incurred with its always bipartisan, always unnecessary, and always losing overseas interventions.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.