HuffPo has an interesting story about Grover Norquist's call for an honest debate amongst American conservatives over the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Some more thoughts below the fold.
The whole thing is worth reading, and is full of fun facts such as "The Congressional Research Service estimates that total Afghan war funding in fiscal year 2011 will hit $119 billion, up from $19 billion in 2006 -- and all that in a country with an annual gross domestic product of less than $12 billion."
But I found the last three paragraphs especially interesting. In a nutshell, the article is suggesting that Republicans, many of whom are well aware of the exorbitant costs of the war, continued to support the war because it is politically expedient to do so.
Put that together with what we've heard from those on the left (many of whom are deeply troubled by the war but have yet to publicly advocate for withdrawal the way they did the war in Iraq in 2006) and from the administration (which seems to be aware that it is unlikely that the U.S. will meet its objectives and is aware that the left in particular will not tolerate the war indefinitely and so plans to "begin" drawing down troops this year, but does not intend to leave until 2014), and it sounds a lot like we have widespread agreement amongst elites that this is a war that's not worth fighting, yet the war will continue with more or less bipartisan support for several more years.
Of course, we know democracies abhor violence, are ill-suited for bearing the costs of prolonged war (especially counterinsurgency warfare), only choose wars they know they can win, and win quick, and all of this is true because their leaders are held accountable for their decisions. So something must be wrong here. It can't be that our understanding of how democracy works is deeply flawed.
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