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Why Should We Get Out of Afghanistan? Because Imperialism Is a Fool's Game

Imperial occupations have become geometrically more difficult since the Second World War.

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Or invade Afghanistan and get into a quagmire like we’re in? Maybe they are that stupid.

Better them than us.

The war in Afghanistan has cost $228 billion (, so far. And we seem to take one and a half steps back for every step forward.

So why are we there?

The real answer is, we’re embarrassed.

The sole superpower in the world defeated by semi-literate, religious wackos from medieval times? Hey, we proved that we could succeed where the Russkies failed! Thus demonstrating our superior superiority! Except we haven’t, quite yet, and if we withdraw, we’re failures like them and if Obama pulls out the Republicans will label the Democrats weak war-losers for another 50 years!

That's the same reason the Russians stayed. The same reason we stayed in Vietnam. The fear of admitting a mistake and the fear of the domestic political consequences of that admission.

How do we get out of Afghanistan?

Get Osama bin Laden.

Nobody seems to remember, but this whole thing started with a small gang who hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center and who hoped to commit more such heinous acts. They were led, we’ve been told, by Osama bin Laden,

We asked the Afghans for bin Laden. The Taliban were willing to turn him over to another country for trial, but not to the United States. So we invaded.

Even before we commenced hostilities, the goals had shifted; to launch a global war on terrorism, and specifically, to invade Iraq.

Let’s go back to basics.

Osama bin Laden conspired to commit mass murder. He deserves to get got. That’s a legitimate target and a legitimate mission.

It’s hard to believe that for $20 billion or $40 billion or $228 billion, with all the resources of the United States armed forces and the intelligence services of all the Western countries, we can’t get him. If that’s what we want to do.

In any case, it is an achievable objective. Making Afghanistan a stable, democratic, Western-friendly country, instead of a narco-state, or an oppressive theocracy, or a divisive collection of squabbling tribes, is probably not.

President Obama should call in his generals and intelligence chiefs and say, “Get this guy." If they can’t, he should fire them like President Lincoln used to do, until he finds the General Ulysses S. Grant who can get the job done.

If they can’t do it, then yes, the entire U.S. military and intelligence establishment is a failure.

If they can do it, it’s a success.

It makes the essential statement that has not been made all these years, that America cannot be attacked with impunity.

Then we can withdraw. Without embarrassment.

Larry Beinhart is the author of " Wag the Dog ," " The Librarian ," and " Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin ." His latest book is Salvation Boulevard . Responses can be sent to

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