Support for Afghan War crumbling

In December 2009, made common cause with Grover Norquist by insisting on Rahm Emanuel’s resignation as the President’s Chief of Staff (Emanuel didn’t go anywhere until he voluntarily decided to run for Mayor of Chicago in October 2010), thereby setting a precedent for a left-right alliance.

Norquist hasn’t quite duplicated that move as he’s not taking his latest position i concert with anyone. Norquist is now opposed to continuing the war in Afghanistan for an eminently reasonable, fiscally conservative reason. It costs too much and there’s no obvious benefit to continuing it.

Max Boot is a conservative who feels Norquist has lost it, but the best argument Boot can come up with is: “we are locked in an existential struggle against Islamist extremists,” which is, well, really not true. If Afghanistan is lost to the Taliban, nothing really follows. At worst, one more source of oil will be lost, but it’s long past time we weaned ourselves off of fossil fuels anyway. Will al Qaeda make a return and again use Afghanistan as a base with which to attack the US? Considering that the success of 9/11 owed a great deal to the dereliction of duty by the Bush Administration, this seems unlikely and there are better ways to prevent a recurrence than to occupy a country that’s half-way around the world from us. Boot’s comparison of abandoning Afghanistan to the theoretical abandonment of Europe to the Nazis in Wold War II is a pretty hysterical overstatement.

But yes, Norqust is entirely correct in saying that the war in Afghanistan is a huge drain on US resources, which is why conservative disillusion with the war there is only likely to grow.

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