The United States’ sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a catastrophic disaster.
As American forces withdraw from the region, the Taliban have continued to sweep across the country, with the remaining Afghan forces falling apart under their rapid advance.
And while Democrats try and paper over this colossal failure — with President Biden shuffling home to Delaware to hide from the latest example of his foreign policy ineptitude — there are some conservatives who are looking at the collapse of Afghanistan under radical Islam as a necessary evil at best, or an unimportant event on the other side of the world at worst.
To the contrary, the only true conservative position when it comes to the war in Afghanistan is that the recent withdrawal is utterly wrong, on both a pragmatic and moral level. Here’s why.
When it comes to the pragmatic argument in favor of remaining in the region, the logic is simple. The isolationist view that the United States can withdraw from areas of the world without consequence is both naive and historically ignorant. The application of a relatively small military force in key positions — in return for greater protection against domestic and international attack — seems like an appropriate use of resources, especially when the alternative is to wait for an inevitable attack which will require greater force in response.
Estimates put the number of American troops in Afghanistan toward the end of the conflict at around 14,000, with numbers dwindling to around 3,500 in the final months. With total U.S. military personnel numbering in the millions, this investment seems reasonable if it knee-caps the spread of one of the greatest ideological threats on the world stage: Radical Islamism.
When it comes to the moral argument, the logic is even more simple. The United States, and the West more broadly, made a commitment when they invaded Afghanistan in 2001. That commitment was not just to their own people back home, but to Afghan citizens too. Many who support the recent withdrawal base their arguments on the claim that the original invasion was incorrect. This is, however, irrelevant. This “coulda, woulda, shoulda” response is meaningless when it comes to the current-day reality of our collective actions, and the responsibility that follows as a result.
As conservatives, we claim to be advocates for truth and morality. The Taliban, and the terrorist groups they will inevitably embrace, are evil — an evil we promised to eradicate when we invaded. By withdrawing without having achieved this goal — even if this goal was impossible to fully achieve, with the only alternative being permanent on-the-ground mitigation — we have demonstrated to those we leave behind that our self-applied label of moral superiority is ill-deserved.
We made a moral commitment when we invaded in 2001. If we confirm to the Taliban that time is their ultimate ally in the face of Western impatience, then they will have won the ultimate victory.
We faced the following choices:
- Risk the safety of a comparatively small number of brave souls who volunteer to join the military in order to both protect American citizens and honor our ethical commitments.
- Shirk our moral responsibilities and hide behind our borders, leaving those we took responsibility for alone in the face of evil, and wait for the inevitable attack against American civilians as radical Islam — once again — festers in the East.
The United States chose the second option.
The first option is the only option that aligns with fundamental conservative values.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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