As we embark on more endless urban renewal in Muslim lands, despite President Trump's campaign promises to the contrary, it's time everyday Americans get some answers to some important questions. Especially since we're being asked to pony up more blood and treasure to make the Muslim world great again.
These are questions that will prove whether we have truly learned our post-9/11 lessons — whether we really know what victory looks like, or even how to get there. Questions that prove we finally understand this is as much a worldview issue as it is a military and tactical one.
There are three simple (but not easy) questions the president should be asking his generals before we put another additional boot on the ground in Afghanistan or anywhere else where they say "Inshallah."
1) Once we remove the current antagonist, who or what group will arise to fill the vacuum of power? Have we vetted them? Are they pro-American/Western?
To put Afghanistan in perspective, the children born the week we first invaded will be old enough to obtain driver's licenses in a few weeks. Two years after that, they'll be old enough to serve in Afghanistan themselves, if they so desire.
To what end does Afghanistan deserve this level of our commitment?
Where is the Nasser or Ataturk, or even el-Sisi, capable of governing once the enemy is vanquished? By the way, I'm not saying those three men are saints. If they ran for office here, I wouldn't vote for them. But over there isn't here.
This is a culture dominated by Islam — so their idea of a saint ain't the same as ours. We have to accept the world for how it is, not how we wish it to be. And history has shown that pretty much the best a country dominated by Islam can hope for as leaders are men such as these.
Well, we've been at it in Afghanistan since the Playstation 2 was new. When the BlackBerry was what the iPhone is today. Before HD television. Before we forgot what a gender was.
There are only two possible reasons we haven't found our el-Sisi in Afghanistan — either we didn't look for him, or he doesn't exist. And those are both bad reasons.
2) Are you willing to stake your whole career on this mission and the credibility of those who will fill the void? Because that's what’s at stake.
In my opinion, Trump should have said this in his speech Monday night, putting the military brass on notice that they are just as accountable to the American people as anybody else calling the shots in our government is. After all, if Trump is going to base his foreign policy on their analysis, then they should bear some of the public risk that goes along with that responsibility. It is time to win, not just kill people. It is time to put America first, not Kabul. It is time to get in and get out, not live in the foreign policy equivalent of Skinner's Box in perpetuity.
3) How come Israel doesn’t endlessly occupy and invade Muslim countries and yet still defends itself?
Literally the day after Israel was given its independence, it was invaded by a coalition of Muslim countries with the intent of eradicating it. This set the stage for the perpetual existential and geographical threat Israel faces to this very day. Yet with the exception of responsive incursions into places like Lebanon, for example, the Israeli people are not asked to spend going on two decades practicing urban renewal in Muslim lands. Yet we do.
Why is that?
The threat against the United States is real, for sure. However, it is not the threat Israel has and does face. Israel is in the more vulnerable position, yet its people are asked to remain vigilant in defending the homeland — not in defending Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq.
Maybe there are some good reasons for this beyond the comprehension of an everyday American such as myself, but this is where President Trump comes in. He was elected to be the voice of everyday Americans the swamp either steps over, ignores, or looks down upon.
So, Mr. President, be our voice. Ask your generals these questions, and then evaluate their strategic advice based on their answers.