Out of Afghanistan Now!

It's time for U.S. forces to pack up and leave.


Memo from the people of Afghanistan to the United States: Get out! Now!

The mass demonstrations in Afghanistan, punctuated by anti-American violence, carry a clear message: After more than a decade, the U.S. empire should pack up and leave. It's long past time.

The news media, in its typically shallow fashion, attribute the current popular outrage to the "inadvertent" burning of Korans in a trash pit at Bagram air base. For most pundits and politicians, history always begins the day before yesterday. But it's more sensible to look at the Koran-burning as the last straw. Consider Bagram. The U.S. government has a prison there—sort of a Guantanamo East—where men are held indefinitely without due process. The detention center is "worse than Guantanamo," writes Daphne Eviatar, an attorney for Human Rights First. Things have only gotten worse under Nobel Peace Prize-winner President Obama: "There are now 3,000 detainees in Bagram, up from 1,700 since June (!) and five times the amount there when Barack Obama took office," writes John Glaser.

That's far from the end of it. U.S. military units and special-operations forces have free rein to do as they wish. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. government's hand-picked figurehead who barely governs the capital, Kabul, has repeatedly beseeched Obama to stop the night raids on Afghan homes, but the raids do not stop. As Glenn Greenwald reminds us, former top American general Stanley McChrystal acknowledged that an "amazing number" of civilians have been shot dead at checkpoints. Added to the assaults on the ground are those from the air, which have taken many innocent lives. Obama insists that only "militants" are killed in the bombings, but we may infer from the U.S. record that a "militant" means anyone killed by American forces. That lexicon apparently also includes as its definition of "Taliban" anyone who objects to the U.S. occupation.

The American occupiers are not limited to mass murder and other disruptions of life. They have added much insult to injury besides the burning of Korans, such as urinating on corpses. Americans forget, but the Afghans do not.

Greenwald writes,

It's comforting to believe that these violent protests and the obviously intense anti-American rage driving them is primarily about anger over the inadvertent burning of some religious books: that way, we can dismiss the rage as primitive and irrational and see the American targets as victims. But the Afghans themselves are making clear that this latest episode is but the trigger for—the latest symbol of—a pile of long-standing, underlying grievances about a decade-old, extremely violent foreign military presence in their country.

Defense [sic] Secretary Leon Panetta says U.S. combat forces could be removed in mid-2013, but to the long-suffering Afghans that is surely too long to wait. They are sick of having foreigners run rampant in their country. Under similar circumstances Americans would be too, and the word "insurgency" would suddenly become expressed favorably.

The latest incident shows the bankruptcy of the American strategy. The stated plan is for U.S. forces to bring the Afghan security apparatus to the point where it, rather than the Americans, can do the heavy work of winning an unwinnable civil war. The theory requires trust between the forces—which by all signs is missing. After the Koran-burning, two NATO officers were shot at point-blank range by an Afghan security official inside the Afghan Ministry of the Interior. "For now … much of the cooperation between U.S. advisers and their Afghan partners is on hold.… [I]t is not clear how U.S. troops will be able to reestablish trust with Afghan security forces," The Washington Post reported.

But conditions were bad before the Koran burning. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis is only the latest source to report "the absence of success on virtually every level," including rising violence and the incompetence and corruption of the Afghan government and forces trained by American personnel.

What makes this all so absurd is that it is to no good purpose whatsoever. Repeatedly we're told that al-Qaeda has been reduced to insignificance, so even the rationalization for occupation is gone. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan has no bearing on American security. It's just wanton violence.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va., author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine. This article originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Get us out of Afghanistan and end the wars.

    This attitude proves we're shills.

    1. ...the Prisoner's Dilemma.

      The Prisoner's Dilemma provides the logical foundation of why civilization must always continue to grow. Each society faces a choice: do we continue to intensify production, adopt greater complexity, and increase the size or scale of our society, or do we happily accept the level we're already at? If you choose not to intensify, you will be out-competed by those who do ? and your lower level of intensity and complexity will become a resource they can absorb to fuel their further acceleration, whether by outright conquest or more subtle forms of economic or cultural exploitation.

      This is the underlying logic of Joseph Tainter's argument concerning collapse in peer polities in The Collapse of Complex Societies.

      Thesis #12: Civilization must always grow.

      1. The same logic was successfully applied to the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The growth of civilization can be seen in similar terms. Even when the problems of unrestrained growth are recognized by a society ? even when all can plainly see that a smaller-scale, less complex society would be preferable [LIKE MANY PAULBOTS] ? there is no option to make use of that knowledge.

        Thesis #12: Civilization must always grow.

        That's why...

        "War is a staple of civilization."
        ~John Zerzan
        On the Origins of War

        1. Ron Paul is correct that we should be less warlike.

          The NeoCons are correct that we can't be less warlike, or we'll be hostile takeover fodder.

          Quite the quandary agricultural city-Statism puts us in.

        2. I liked your Thomas character more.

  2. But if we don't fight the terrorists there we'll have to fight them here!

    This entire country will become a battleground as the insurgents who are attacking the best equipped military in the world cross the oceans and attack civilians instead!

    The carnage!


    1. The Afghans pose an existential threat to us, with their thousands of land based, intercontinental ballastic missiles (all MRVed), and supersonic bombers with cruise missile technology, as well as the nuclear powered submarines. Afghanistan constitutes a threat that we cannot, and must not ignore - our very existence is at stake...
      Huh?? The Afghans don't have any intercontinental nuclear MIRVed missiles? Not one!?? Are you sure?
      What about their hundreds of warships and dozen nuclear powered aircraft carriers? Whats that you say - they don't even have a rowboat?!?
      Wow....maybe we should leave....

  3. Agree with this, Afghanistan is a debacle. More than that, NATO needs to be disbanded as well.

  4. The American people have spoken. A little less than half have liked the man who campaigned on the "good war" and is keeping it up, and the other half just voted against the guy who wants us out of Afghanistan.

    Nope. The United States has stuck its dick in the region and the people want it firmly planted there until the job can be credibly spun as done.

    1. Simple enough. Say the war was about bin Laden, declare victory and come home.

      1. Yes. What we should have done 8 years ago!

        Get out asap, we are accomplishing nothing.

        1. Get a load of the cut-and-runners over here. It's so obvious what actual victory would look like in Afghanistan that I'm not even going to bother articulating it.

          1. They won't be free until Disney builds a theme park there. Opiate-Disney.

            1. They'll have to put Minnie Mouse in a burka. And Donald will have to wear some pants.

              1. Pants? They won't be free until they, too, are stupefied by the question, "When is Donald Duck nude, and why does it matter?"

                1. The more important questions: why can donald duck wear a jacket and no pants, and I can't?

          2. You won't "bother articulating it" because you cannot articulate it. No one, from Obama on down, has any notion what "victory" in Afghanistan might look like.

            It's long past time for us to get out of that backward, barbaric hell-hole and leave its inhabitants to murder each other.

      2. These are resource control wars.

        Declaring victory and coming home won't help control those resources.

        1. It seems to me the war is to secure resources for China so they won't stop loaning us money.

    2. It seems that America would rather have its dick amputated than admit defeat.

      1. ...when they admitted defeat?

        Now you know why.

      2. You have it backwards. Rather than declare victory, we would rather sit around fighting until we find a way to lose.

        The '91 Gulf War is the only one I can think of where we won, and went home. We left Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and kept only a small presence in Kuwait.

        Every other war we have some kind of long postscript. The Spanish-American War left us with a guerrilla war in the Philippines. WWI we had the League of Nations mess. WWII the Marshall Plan and NATO. We are still in Korea and we thought ourselves into colossal acts of stupidity in Vietnam.

        We won the war in Afghanistan in 2002. We should have left then, or if we really wanted to be nice - in 2004 after the elections. There is no excuse to still be there.

        1. Agreed. The difference is that the guerrillas in the Philippines and such didn't launch a successful attack within the US. People are so afraid that the AQ will attack us again that they toss reason out the window. Fear is a major factor.

        2. The '91 Gulf War is the only one I can think of where we won, and went home. We left Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and kept only a small presence in Kuwait.

          Actually, we were still at PSAB for several years until 2003-2004 (one of the reasons Bin Laden was pissed at us), and maintained the no-fly zones. So we were still sending men and materiel to the region in enough numbers to enforce those zones, albeit not nearly on the same level as Desert Storm. Technically speaking, we've had our dick in the Middle East's chili for over 20 years straight now.

          I do agree that we should have left Afghanistan a long time ago--if not in the timeframes you mentioned, at the very least we should have packed up our shit and gotten out less than a month after Bin Laden was killed. I could see keeping some sort of presence there to try and get him, but now that he's dead? What's the point anymore?

          1. Bo Fucking Ho. We saved their asses, and then didn't pack up and leave fast enough. Fuck him.

    3. Its been 10 years....I'm pretty old, and I whack off too much, but even I would have cum by now...

      1. Tantric wargasms. They go on forever.

        1. Tantric wargasms

          Dibs on the band name.

  5. Afghanistan is a casualty of stupid academic multiculturalism.

    So many people who are supposed to be -- and need to be -- experts on other parts of the world, including generals and diplomats, have been blinded to the reality of different cultures.

    As a libertarian, I can't help but to believe that individual liberty is a human yearning, not just an American, or Western, one. Even if I'm entirely correct about this, it does not mean that Americans can force, hard-sell, or even soft-sell, the idea of forming a US-like society to people with such a completely different baseline set of assumptions, experiences, etc.

    If the Afghan people want liberty, democracy, and modern society, they'll have to get it themselves. That's not a threat; that's a fact. Denying this fact will likely make things worse for everyone, not least the people of Afghanistan.

    1. ^^^^^ THIS!

      The defenders of Pashtun culture claim that their customs are intended to protect women from harm and that this is a high priority...

      Yet, people raping girls/women - intending to force their victims to marry them by making their victims into damaged goods do not trigger the outrage that the desecration of books does.

      No matter how many of the infidels the U.S. army slaughters in its jihad, they will not convert them via the sword to being like us.

    2. I can't help but to believe that individual liberty is a human yearning

      I'm not so sure. Individual liberty means nobody giving orders and no need to ask permission.
      Seems to me that there is a yearning for control and stability - some authority telling people what they may or may not do.

      Liberty means nobody shouting orders, and people doing things without getting permission.

      To many that is nothing short of frightening.

      1. I think that individual liberty is universal. It's extending that liberty to others that is the hard lesson to learn.

        Even the most ardent lover of rules doesn't believe they are in place to restrain his behavior. Yokes are for those not already content to pull the plow.

      2. Seems to me that there is a yearning for control and stability

        The entire human history has been about generating economic stability. Liberty is a new concept that I think will take a little more than 300 years to grow.

        1. The entire human history has been about generating economic stability. Liberty is a new concept that I think will take a little more than 300 years to grow.

          You really believe that bullshit, don't you?

          It sounds exactly as informed by empirical data as some Fundamentalist asshole talking about "Freedom in Christ."

          1. I know you're trolling, but I'll give you a little satisfaction as I'm feeling a bit generous today.

            Why would humans develop agriculture if not to generate some semblance of stability?

            1. That was odd.

              I'll try again.

              Why would humans develop agriculture if not to generate some semblance of stability?

              Beer. The first known crop was not wheat for bread.
              No. It was barley for beer.

              1. I think it was actually Taro.

                That said, I like where you're going with this.

                1. Beer saved the world.

                  I'm serious.

                  Google it.

                  1. I guess I overlooked how beer provided a contaminant-free source of hydration.

                    1. Oh it's more than that.

                      Some of the first known writing was a recipe for beer.
                      Written language was invented for beer!

                      Germ theory? Pasteurization wasn't invented to preserve milk.
                      It was applied to beer 22 years before it was used to preserve milk!

                      What was the first practical application of artificial refrigeration?
                      Cold rail cars for transporting beer!

                      The list goes on and on.

                      Beer is the cornerstone of civilization.

                    2. According to Ban Franklin, it was also proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!

                    3. This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about... BEER

    3. ""As a libertarian, I can't help but to believe that individual liberty is a human yearning, not just an American, or Western, one.""

      I see no proof that America or any other Western country is interested in individual liberty.

      1. country =/= culture

        government =/= individuals

        If these things WERE equivalent, it would be easy to force Afghanistan to become whatever we want it to be.

      2. I would not go that far, just because the welfare states are very entrenched in most of Europe, and America is more or less there as well now, does not mean that the ideas of liberty and the freedom from government power are utterly erased.

        Think of the rise of the pirate parties in Europe, or in America the support of Ron Paul by many youngsters.

        1. The ideas are not erased. But they have been beaten into submission. No political party is interested in promoting individual liberty. Ron Paul is running on a individual liberty platform and not many voters are interested.

          ""government =/= individuals""

          True. But individuals elect those that make laws in government. If enough individuals were interested in individual liberty they would elect officials accordingly. It's clear that we have little interest.

          1. Say it's Obama vs. Romney.

            How do you cast that vote?

            1. For Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party.

          2. That's the paradox of libertarianism - you organize, giving up some of your individualism, to elect someone who's task is to dismantle the very institution of which he is a part. He is given power over others, while you expect his principles of individual liberty to be the utmost, without power over anyone.

            1. If your goal is really individual liberty, then your only choice is to drop out of the system completely, because participating in the system, even if to dismantle it, compromises your principles of individual liberty.

  6. Let's leave and make it clear that we'll blow shit up again if we're attacked by people they harbor. That should satisfy everyone, right?

    Frankly, where this is going to lead is to a Western--mostly U.S., of course--occupation of the whole region (including Afghanistan as the "Middle East" for the purposes of this comment). I say we try a different approach and just leave it the hell alone. If we must be world cop, at least pull back to containing the crazy to the region and not doing much else.

    1. Who says America has to be world cop ?

      1. Not me, but after Paul failed because he repudiates that title, apparently many of us do crave that role.

        1. I think the true cost is hidden from the "man on the street." For someone without relatives deployed there, it's just another segment on the TV news.

        2. Our economic problems will eventually cure us of a lot of our other side distractions.

    2. it would satisfy me. This endless slog is serving no one. However, to say that "we will blow up shit again if screwed with" only has weight if the speaker is credible. Obama is not; the man oozes weakness almost as much as he does smarm.

      Let folks run their own regions with a simple caveat: if the US, its allies, or its interests are attacked, we will respond in a grossly disproportionate manner. In other words, we'll take the death-penalty-for-speeding-tickets approach.

      1. Your kidding right? Obama has proven he has no problem blowing people up. Even if an American citizen.

        1. Drone process, bitches!

      2. I don't like death penalty for speeding, the same principle applies for international relations, no killing of innocents no matter what they did, that includes a nuclear bomb going off in a city.

        1. Luckily for you, not all of us are retarded pussies.

          1. Luckily I don't have a problem saying that I don't like the idea of killing innocents, unlike murderers like you.

      3. ""In other words, we'll take the death-penalty-for-speeding-tickets approach.""

        We are already pretty good at that. How many Islamics did we kill after they killed about 3000 of us. It's not just a foreign policy think. I think our post 9/11 airport security fits under that ideology too.

        If you accept government taking that approach, they will use it where THEY see fit. Not where YOU sit fit.

      4. Fibertarian LULZ

  7. If we leave AQ will return thus win the battle. They are rebuilding in Iraq since we left. It's worth every dime and every drop of blood spent to keep the world safe of the Islamic threat. We are the world police. We must save them from themselves. Think of the children!

  8. Yup it's time to leave. Or at the very least it's time for the forces to be cut drastically (90%).

  9. It's time for U.S. forces to pack up and leave.

    And don't let the RPGs smack you in the ass, NOT!!

  10. If our military pulls out, what NGOs will be stupid enough to remain behind?

    This is a ridiculous hypothethical.

    1. We can hope they all are stupid enough.

  11. I've been working on a plan to get us out of Afghanistan as well. I understand how complex the situation is, so bear with me. It goes like this:

    Leave a note on the embassy door saying: "You guys don't want us here and we've decided to leave. Feel free to use the military hardware we've left, but I warn you, it may be booby-trapped. Good luck treating women with less respect than a book. Hope it works out."

    At the same time, remove every American soldier and contractor out overnight.


    1. These are resource control wars.

      Declaring victory and coming home won't help control those resources (or, more accurately, deny them to competitors.)

      That's the reality.

      1. Your local landfill has more resources than Afghanistan.

        1. Unless you really like opiates. Which hey, who doesn't?

          1. Afghanistan has significant precious gems and rare earth metals, which they could develop if they weren't so into this "I want to live in the 13th century" shit.

            1. No kidding. All they'd need to do is up that to the 19th Century and they'd do a lot better.

              Maybe we could sell them on that.

              "We respect your right to be an anachronism. But can we interest you in a 150 year lag behind the present, perhaps?"

          2. True. Nobody just throws away opiates in the US.

  12. I say we nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  13. " The detention center is "worse than Guantanamo," writes Daphne Eviatar, an attorney for Human Rights First."

    Worse? So they don't have a new soccer field? Bsrbaric.

    1. We didn't build them a Buzkashi playing field - look it up - it's a popular sport among barbarians in Afghanistan who fight over the carcass of a goat, kinda like football, but no rules at all (no helmets or pads either). If we had built them a Buzkashi stadium, maybe they'd like us better.

  14. Packing up and leaving Afghanistan in droves as if the last 10 years never happened will be easier said than done. There are obviously people who worked with us to achieve what little was achieved in that place. What happens to them?

    The US may have free rein (SOFA protects American soldiers elsewhere), but does that mean we're engaging in "mass murder"? If the Taliban can blend into their society seamlessly, then collateral damage would be high. We could adjust to new tactics that involve the public and spare innocent lives, as we did in Iraq.

    "Leave AFG now" is as plausible as "Let's get rid of the dept of education". Good idea perhaps, but a pipe dream given certain reality. We're able to leave Iraq now because that place is relatively stable. We're probably not quite there in AFG.

  15. I work in a VA hospital and if anyone thinks we should stay anywhere in the ME and Afcrapistan, you should see what we have done to this generation of broken young men and women. They who have seen such misery, death, IEDs, missing limbs of friends and the death of teammates by a "friendly" ANP it will make you sick and break your heart.

    And for the chickenhawks, before you send another of our young to die, send you son or daughter there first. Then get back to me about staying there or being the world's cop.

  16. "Mass murder", blah blah blah. If you want to be taken seriously, make a serious argument. This is 60's anti-war bumper sticker bullshit.

    The cave dwellers in Afghanistan really ARE primitives, and they really ARE religious fuckwits who will happily kill for the sake of their holy book, regardless of whether America is the villain du jour or not. We shouldn't be in Afghanistan any longer, but non-existent genocide and the sensibilities of religious fanatics are not even in the top 10 thousand reasons why.

  17. British Empire
    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
    United States of America

    Afghanistan 3, Global Superpowers 0

    Don't fucking mess with the Graveyard of Empires...

  18. We can't pull our troops out of Afganistan, damn it! We need them there for our coming war with Iran, so that we'll be able to invade that nation on two fronts. Also, having U.S. miltary bases in Afganistan, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Australia, Diego Garcia, and so on - and eventually Iran - is part of our overall strategy for controlling oil supplies and containing Russia, China, and India, all real or potential threats to our security, both military and economic.

    1. That sounds so bizarre, but what's scary is that what the establishment really thinks.

  19. It's time to get out of Afghanistan and all those other places where our lads perform what those nations' soldiers ought to be doing. So, we get out and let all of those fine sons of Ismael take care of themselves. Freedom? Democracy? Capitalism? Let them get those things the same way we did: second-hand, when nothing else would get our folks off their duffs to throw out poor ole King Georgie (the third of that revered name). Then, of course, our own home-grown wanna-be tyrants - gradually and slowly over the course of four or five generations - snatched those things back, 'cause our fathers and grandfathers were too busy working to ride enough politicians out of town on a rail and keep 'em honest. Oh, yeah, Afghanistan: hell yea, get out of there, too!

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