The War in Afghanistan Essay
561 Words3 Pages
The War in Afghanistan
In response to the September 11 attacks, the United States should declare war on the responsible group. As a nation, we should do only the actions that bring about the best consequences, and the best consequences would occur by bringing the responsible group to justice. In this case, killing the Taliban and its supporters is the right action because it produces the greatest amount of good. The theory that we should only do the actions that bring about the best consequences is a consequentialist theory. Consequentialism is correct because if the action taken creates the most possible good, then that action must be the right action. Consequentialism leads to the right action because the right action is the…show more content…
After these targets are destroyed, we should use ground troops and aircraft to search for and destroy the enemy and its resources. These resources include: factories that produce bombs, guns, etc.; command centers; and all wartime equipment.
In a war, innocent people will die. It cannot be helped. Although bombing runs may kill innocent civilians, they must be done. For example, a school with 50 children in it is located next to a Taliban bomb factory. The U.S. should blow up the bomb factory even if it means that the 50 children will die. This is because the bombs that are produced in the factory can be used to kill many more than 50 people. These deaths are justified because a greater good will come from the destruction of the factory. Until it is feasible for a war to be fought where no innocent people will die, these civilian deaths are justified because a greater good will come from the destruction of a threat to a greater number of people.
So far, the Taliban has reported that 1,500 people have been killed on the U.S. bombing raids. (Washington Post) Even though these numbers are suspected to be exaggerated, these deaths are justified because the Taliban has the potential to kill many more than 1,500 people. The September 11 attacks prove that. Also the Taliban is partly to blame for the high number of civilian deaths because they have
Whether or not investigators find connections between these bombings and American action in Afghanistan, it is increasingly apparent that America’s public and policy makers alike would rather not address their faraway, largely failed war.
Neither party has an incentive to call attention to this bipartisan failure. Neither has a better policy to offer. And neither sees any political gain in raising it. Voters, entering their fourth consecutive presidential election with the United States at war, seem happy to pretend that the Afghan war, which has killed more than 2,300 American service members, doesn’t exist.
The result is an awkward national silence whenever Afghanistan’s chaos inevitably imposes itself on our attention, like a family pretending not to hear the troubled relative pound the Thanksgiving table.
It is not hard to see why Americans shun the topic. They have experienced the war as a long series of bitter failures and of noble missions that turned out not to be. They have disengaged out of moral self-preservation as much as exhaustion.
For decades, leaders portrayed Afghanistan as a beautiful but lawless land to which the United States would bring order and American values, somewhat similar to the old Western frontier. Their adventure began in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded and the United States armed Afghan rebels. President Ronald Reagan called this “a compelling moral responsibility of all free people” and a battle for “the human spirit.” Rebel leaders were romanticized and taken on tours of American churches, according to “The Looming Tower,” a book by the journalist Lawrence Wright.
Those rebels turned against one another in a long civil war that gave rise to the Taliban. Americans were then sold on invading Afghanistan in 2001, to bring the Sept. 11 attackers and their accomplices to justice. The Taliban government quickly fell, raising a question that became obvious only after it was raised: Now what? What should take the Taliban’s place, and how to make it stick despite the group’s continued support?
Iraq quickly distracted attention and resources from the Afghanistan question until 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president while promising to end the former and win the latter. Afghanistan became the good war. Americans were sold on promoting democracy and, later, on saving the women — an ambition captured by a 2010 Time magazine cover showing an Afghan woman who had been mutilated by Taliban officers.
But practice did not match the ideals. Seeking allies where it could, the United States often directly empowered warlords whose corruption, drug trafficking and violence seemed little better than the Taliban’s. Drones proliferated overhead and airstrikes killed civilians on the ground, provoking anguished debate at home. Pakistan, at once Washington’s closest and least reliable ally in the war, played both sides.
Americans were left feeling they had compromised their morality, and to little gain. As the 9/11 attacks receded more than a decade into the past, it became harder to argue for the war’s necessity. American gains against Al Qaeda only drew more attention to the loftier goals that never seemed to advance.
The operation so completely failed to uproot the Taliban or build a functioning government that American officials became convinced that withdrawal would lead to total collapse — and that collapse would be unacceptably costly. With even the most meager goals unmet, the Obama administration settled on something even less ambitious.
Douglas Ollivant, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, put it bluntly when he told The New York Times last year that Americans had quietly decided on spending “somewhere between $10 and $20 billion per year in perpetuity for the privilege of Afghanistan not totally collapsing.”
That is not an inspiring mission. But voters, tired of inspiring Afghanistan missions, have stopped asking why we’re still fighting. So political leaders have not bothered to contort themselves into providing an explanation. Rather, in regular-as-clockwork annual speeches, Mr. Obama has simply delayed or slowed troop withdrawals.
Normally, an opposition party might profit from Mr. Obama’s broken promises and policy disappointments. But in 2012, neither he nor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, showed much desire to debate Afghanistan. Both candidates offered policies that were functionally the same: withdrawal.
Neither wanted to promise a solution, knowing he would have to deliver. Neither offered a way to end the chaos before departing, or to cope with its consequences once American troops had left.
Four years later, the country is barely standing, the Taliban is resurgent and refugee outflows are high. The United States has assumed an unspoken role as indefinite occupier, with just enough troops to stave off Afghanistan’s implosion but not enough to make that implosion any less inevitable. The question of whether the United States should play this role has not really come up in the presidential primaries or the general campaign, partly because so few Americans want to even acknowledge it is happening.
There is no known link yet between Afghanistan’s deterioration and the attacks in which Mr. Rahami is charged. Even if one emerges, it will have little bearing on the roughly 100,000 Afghans in the United States, many of whom are refugees from this long war and pose no unusual threat; attacks by Afghans appear no more common than those from any other group. If anything, the significance is for the thousands of innocent Afghans still fleeing the country, often on dangerous, desperate journeys to Europe.
But even the search for links between Mr. Rahami and his birth country has reminded Americans of their unacknowledged 51st state, where Washington has ruled — indirectly, and to little positive effect — for longer than most hereditary monarchs.Continue reading the main story