If Bacevich was serious, he would consider not just the strategic risks to a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan — which is what he is apparently advocating — but also the moral costs to be paid by the Afghan people we leave behind. In that light, the moral economics of war are no more black and white than the strategic economics of war. We’re left with hard choices and trade-offs, and the public discourse is very poorly served by those who pretend they are easy.
I’m wondering if we will have a discussion about this sort of thing prior to the next invasion (and there will be one, because that is what dying Empires do), or if there will yet again be enough useful idiots to serve in the role I played before the Iraq war- shouting down those who say slow down, maligning those who don’t believe doctored evidence, uncritically spewing whatever bullshit is on the cable channels, and basically serving as cheerleaders for the powers that be. Because really, the discussion about the impact on the population if we leave should probably come BEFORE we’ve invaded and occupied a nation for ten years. And when they say “moral cost,” what they mean is “How many people will be slaughtered in the power vacuum created when we leave, and how many people who helped us will now be beheaded by a resurgent Taliban?”
Wish I could go back a decade and punch that John Cole jackass in the neck.