Why We Ask: Our mission and operations are funded 100% by conservatives like you. Please help us continue to extend Liberty to the next generation and support the 2021 Year-End Campaign today.

Erick Erickson / January 17, 2020

Why Are We Still There? When Do We Leave?

My children go to a small Christian private school. One of the most popular teachers has been called up to go to Afghanistan for another tour. He will leave behind his wife, children and school. My kids are distraught.

My children go to a small Christian private school. One of the most popular teachers has been called up to go to Afghanistan for another tour. He will leave behind his wife, children and school. My kids are distraught. My oldest asked me a question for which I have no answer: Why are we sending soldiers to Afghanistan?

Nineteen years ago, before my children were born, terrorists who trained in Afghanistan and coordinated with the Taliban government plotted and carried out the 9/11 attacks that killed over 2,000 Americans. President George W. Bush rallied the nation and launched an invasion of Afghanistan to root out the terrorist masterminds and end the Taliban’s rule. The situation proved more difficult that our military leaders assured us. Undoubtedly, part of the problem was American pride wanting to show the Russians that we could tame a country that Russians still call their Vietnam.

Even a decade ago, I could have rationally explained to my kids why we went into Afghanistan and why, nearly a decade later, we were still there. The government struggled. We had not exterminated the Taliban. We needed to help the government get on its feet. We needed to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a terrorist safe haven.

But now, nearly 20 years removed, the situation has not changed. In fact, in a breathtaking report from The Washington Post with a treasure trove of documents from the Pentagon, it turns out our military leaders do not know why we are in Afghanistan either. The government continues to be corrupt. In fact, corruption is systemic and endemic to the various tribes and political classes inside Afghanistan.

The American government failed at the core task of taking out the Taliban. The American government further failed to establish a sound government capable of taking out the Taliban after we left. We are now failing by propping up a kleptocracy that has no desire to change.

Both Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama have wanted to leave Afghanistan, but we are still there. We have an understandable reason for remaining in Iraq, but I cannot fathom an explanation for why our soldiers are still getting killed in Afghanistan. The only plausible explanation at this point seems to be the pride of our military leaders. But our young men and women should not die for the pride of others who cannot admit failure. It is a failure.

Trump should begin winding down our operations in Afghanistan now. If he doesn’t, he should provide some reasonable expectations and goals. It is clear from the military documents uncovered by The Washington Post that our military leaders do not really know why we are in Afghanistan anymore, and those under them have no idea what they are doing. This is not good stewardship of our military or resources, and it is terrible for morale.

More importantly, we are raising a new generation of Americans to be cynical about the use of American power. When our children see their teachers, parents, older siblings and family friends head off to a country on the far side of the world, unable to explain why they are going, we risk undermining our kids’ faith in institutions and willingness to serve a cause greater than themselves.

Afghanistan was once a cause greater than any one person. Afghanistan did give a safe haven to terrorists and help them plan attacks against the United States. Afghanistan was run by a rogue government of Islamic fundamentalists. But now, Afghanistan is run by a corrupt regime that makes some of its people wistful for the days of the Taliban.

Someone needs to tell us why we are still going there. Someone needs to tell us when or under what conditions we will leave. Someone needs to tell us what our soldiers are actually doing there. Someone needs to provide goals and purposes. That should be the commander in chief. If he cannot do it, we should leave tomorrow.


Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.