Another one of those Orwellian-sounding project names has popped up recently. We've seen many of them from this White House; "No Child Left Behind" has amounted to a sustained assault on the educational system; The "Clear Skies Act", if passed, would have created such a thick layer of muck in the air that even an industrial chainsaw couldn't cut through it; And perhaps most obscene of all, the USA PATRIOT Act has recreated the Soviet Union's most egregious civil liberty abuses on American soil.
But perhaps none of them are as ironic as this one... "Afghanistan First". For there is no way that we have ever made Afghanistan our first priority at any point since this war began.
See the soldiers in this picture? Sure, they may, at first blush, look like any other soldiers carrying out combat operations in a war zone. Know what's different about these?
Now don't get me wrong--- I'm quite happy that our neighbors to the north felt so strongly about an attack on our soil that they wanted to help out.
But this is our job, and our fight.
There has never been a time since the attacks on September 11, 2001 that Afghanistan has been the first priority of this government. Our entire battle plan was based on the idea of the use of proxies to fight the war. It kept the body count low so that the American public wasn't weary of war before the White House got the fight it actually wanted in Iraq.
Where did it leave us?
The men responsible for making sure that al Qaeda didn't escape through the Tora Bora mountain range into Pakistan didn't care in the least whether or not we met any of our objectives; They wanted their country back from the Taliban, and they didn't really care whether or not we arrested the few people that put any money into the Afghan economy or not. With as little as people earned in Afghanistan (At the time of the war, the average annual income was around $80), it would have been cheaper for al Qaeda members to buy safe passage than bullets.
And as soon as we spent the perfunctory sixty days playing "Osama Whack-a-Mole", we started focusing our attention on a nation that had nothing to do with the attacks on us in any way, had no weapons of mass destruction, and had about as cozy a relationship with al Qaeda as we had.
Now, that war of choice is a drain on our resources. We've got so many boots on the ground in Iraq that we can't devote adequate resources to the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan. The lead in Afghanistan is increasingly being taken by Canadian and British troops so that we can continue to pump over half of our active duty military and our waning reserves into the Mess-O-Potamia we made.
It's time to put an end to the war in Iraq, if for no other reason than there are possible future crises on the horizon, and it might be nice if we're in a position to deal with them. And while we're at it, we'd be able to actually quit turfing out our war efforts to our allies, some of whom have problems of their own.