The bad news from Afghanistan only gets worse. An American soldier slaughtered 17 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children. The burning of copies of the Koran sparked anti-American demonstrations and the murder of American civilians and soldiers by uniformed Afghan soldiers and police they thought they were helping. Now the news that three NATO soldiers were intentionally attacked and killed by supposedly friendly Afghan forces.
It's little wonder that this week's New York Times/CBS poll revealed a dramatic drop in American support for the Afghanistan war, and it is sure to worsen in the wake of the latest developments.
President Hamid Karzai is now demanding that U.S. forces leave early.
We should. And the sooner the better.
The war had been botched by the Bush administration which snapped defeat from the jaws of victory by its disastrous decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan to go fight a needless war based on lies in Iraq, and then by contracting out the hunt for Osama bin Laden to corrupt warlords who had a different agenda.
That tragedy that is Iraq may have removed a tyrant, but Saddam Hussein was no real threat to American – or Israeli – security by the time we invaded, and was a Sunni wall between Iran and Syria.
Thanks to the Bush administration's crusade to get revenge on Saddam – he deserved to die, but not all those Iraqi civilians and American service men and women – Iraq now has a Shi'ite government cozier with Tehran and Damascus than with Washington, which installed and financed it.
President Obama has only prolonged the longest war in American history, propping up the corrupt, inept and uncooperative Karzai government. Now there's talk of negotiations with the Taliban, whose demise, not restoration, was supposed to be a major mission of this hapless war. Obama opposed Bush's surge in Iraq, but now he's pushing one of his own in Afghanistan.
Our mission, says President Obama, is to build an Afghan army that will fight to defend and their country. Defend what? The lousy Karzai regime we installed?
We need a George Aiken solution, the one attributed to the late Republican senator from Vermont who said the answer to the war in Vietnam was to declare victory, go home and have a parade. We've shattered al Qaida and killed bin Laden. Anyone who thinks we can create a free and democratic Taliban-free Afghanistan has been spending too much time sampling that country's poppy harvest.