Another Bush supporter calling for Afghan pull-out

The neocon blog Powerline came into existence in 2003 for one purpose: to support the neoconservative foreign policy of George W. Bush and defend his presidency from leftist attacks. Today, John Hinderaker at Powerline repeats what he first said a year ago, that it’s time to get out of Afghanistan:

The ongoing violence illustrates the primitive level of culture in Afghanistan. The country, if it can properly be called such, is hundreds of years behind modern civilization. I don’t think nation-building is always a bad idea, but a certain amount and quality of raw material is required. In Afghanistan, the prerequisites for successful nation-building are absent. [LA replies: Hinderaker did NOT say in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, or 2009 that the prerequisites of successful nation-building were absent in Afghanistan. It would be nice (a) if he now admitted that he had been for all those years a stalwart supporter of our democracy-building efforts there which he know opposes, and (b) if he explained why he has since changed his view and what brought him to it. Is the reason anything deeper than that Obama is now president, rather than Bush? Let’s put it this way. If Bush were still president, would Hinderaker be urging a pull-out? Would it be unfair to Hinderaker to suggest that the question answers itself? UPDATE: Perhaps the suggestion is unfair. Hinderaker might say that because Obama has already in effect surrendered by announcing a departure date, there is no reason for us to stay longer.]

Our initial overthrow of the Taliban at the end of 2001 was absolutely necessary. The Taliban had harbored al Qaeda and collaborated, in effect, in the September 11 attacks. Since then, we have killed large numbers of Taliban. That is a good thing, but the returns are diminishing. When we leave, the Taliban or similar Islamic extremists presumably will take control of portions, at least, of the country. That is a bad thing, obviously, but the same result seems more or less equally likely no matter when our troops depart.

It has never been clear why we can’t use drones, air power and troops stationed reasonably nearby to prevent the Taliban or other extremist groups from setting up extensive training centers that can be used for attacks on the U.S., such as those that existed before September 2001. [LA replies: if it has never been clear why drones, air power, etc. were not a viable means of keeping the Taliban from becoming a threat to us, why did Hinderaker support Bush’s nation-building policy for all those years?] If such measures are feasible, leaving Afghanistan should not damage our security. And, in any event, if our security depends on Afghanistan becoming a decent society within a lifetime or two, God help us. [LA replies: A welcome statement. However, when Bernard Lewis declared in 2006, to the cooing of the assembled neocon establishment at the American Enterprise Institute, that “Either we bring [the Muslims] freedom, or they destroy us,” meaning, in Hinderaker’s words, that our security depended on Afghanistan becoming a decent society, did Hinderaker disagree? Of course not. But, after all, GW Bush was still president then.]

LA continues:

I highly recommend the linked entry from 2006, “Two neocon formulae for Western suicide,” as well as the one it is based on “The appalling Bernard Lewis.”

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Dean Ericson writes:

Hinderaker writes:

” … prevent the Taliban or other extremist groups from setting up extensive training centers that can be used for attacks on the U.S., such as those that existed before September 2001.”

It wasn’t the existence of Muslim terrorist training centers that caused 9/11. Muslims could have a terrorist training center on every other block in Islamabad and it wouldn’t be a problem for us, provided we did not allow Muslims into the USA. Not one of the nineteen 9/11 jihadists snuck over the border. They, every last damned one, received a visa from our government. Of course it is unthinkable, to the liberal brain, to keep Muslims out of the U.S. If you said to a liberal, “You caused 9/11 by allowing Muslims into our country,” he would give you a blank look, or swell up like a cane toad while screeching about Hitler. It’s not on the list of permissible thoughts. And yet it’s true: if we had not allowed Muslims into the U.S., 9/11 never would have happened. Liberalism caused 9/11. Liberalism caused the subsequent mad folly in Afghanistan. If we were smart we’d have declared war against liberals on 9/12.

LA writes:

A passing trivial point. Bernard Lewis’s linked talk, in Imprimis, was given on a Hillsdale College cruise. But as I remember he made the same remarks in a talk at AEI.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 27, 2012 02:34 PM | Send

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