lørdag 14. august 2021

America once won it wars. Now it just leaves them

As headlines proclaim the “end” of “America’s longest war,” President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of the remaining US military personnel from Afghanistan is being covered by some in the news media as though it means the end of the conflict – or even means peace – in Afghanistan. It most certainly does not. For one thing, the war is not actually ending, even if the US participation in it is dwindling. Afghan government forces, armed and equipped with US supplies – at least for the moment – will continue to fight the Taliban.

Disengagement from an armed conflict is common US practice in recent decades – since the 1970s, the country’s military has simply left Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan. But for much of the country’s history, Americans won their wars decisively, with the complete surrender of enemy forces and the home front’s perception of total victory.