"Keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of Obama's choosing. This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.... if [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood that you know that's the one thing you don't do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan?"-Micheal Steele
Micheal Steele must go. Now.
I'm not exactly a GOP activist. I joined the party last year because I felt I could do more in the system than out by supporting libertarian-leaning and/or national defense hawk GOPers in Utah primaries (I supported Mike Lee, for those who care). I'm not usually a party guy, but today I am because Micheal Steele is a giant idiot.
Afghanistan wasn't a war of Obama's choosing. It was a war brought to us by Al-Qeada and the Taliban. It was brought to us way before 9/11 (WTC Bombing, Embassy Bombings, USS Cole), but it was 9/11 that brought us to Afghanistan. We defeat the Taliban and drove it back to its Pakistani base. We've harassed Al-Qeada for almost a decade now, keeping it on its toes and killing major players. While we've yet to capture or kill Osama bin Laden or his deputy, we've done so much damage that AQ's branch in Yemen is working harder than is core in Pakistan.
Afghanistan was never going to be an easy war, no matter what anybody said. It was always going to be a long-haul, decade(s)-long counter-insurgency against a fanatical grouping of terrorists. They're dug in there forever. They want to rule and expand their ideology, no matter what. Its a battle of wills, as a great general said a few days ago.
Everyone who says no one has ever conquered Afghanistan forgets that we're not there to take it over. We're there to deny it as a base to our very active enemies. We're not the British or the Tsarist Russians or the Soviets. We're there to deny access, not to rule. If we were there to rule and reap, would we allow Karzai to dictate our air war policy? To insult us publicly? To mismanage his government? No.
Honestly, Steele is talking like the fringe libertarian/far left. Ever since Iraq, the anti-war crowd has crowed that Iraq took away from winning Afghanistan. The President ran on that issue, even though he said we were slaughtering civilians as well. Now that Iraq is inching every closer to complete victory, we hear from them that Afghanistan is lost. It's not. Its just that the anti-war folks have no knowledge of this kind of war and have no backbone. Or worse, they've always wanted us to lose.
The long and short of it is that:
1) Afghanistan is important enough to GWOT that we must stay in for decades. Maybe not at the levels we have now (98 000), but we cannot abandon it as we did right after the Soviets left. This is one nation building project that's actually vital to our national security.
2) With Russia throwing its weight around and Iran following suit, having Afghanistan in our geo-political pocket is vital to our ability to hold off Russia and its Iranian client in Central Asia. Unlike the rainbow-dreaming folk in the White House, Russian dominance in the region will not bode well for us in the next decade or so. If this means pulling out of Western Europe (Oh God, pretty please), then so be it. If NATO has to be dissolved, so be it. The key to the next two decades of geopolitics is Central Asia, not Europe. This means turning places like Afghanistan to us. Also, countries like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia (especially Georgia), Armenia, Azerbaijan, and so on are all perfect for us in both anti-terrorism and counter-Russian planning. We need allies more in tune with our goals, not in tune with their navels.
3) Micheal Steele is a giant moron and needs to resign from his position as head of the party for his comments. Really now, when you can't tell the difference between the head of the GOP and Code Pink, you're pretty much screwed.
If the GOP doesn't do anything about Steele, his flubs will sink the party even further than it's already fallen.