This year’s seniors have no memory of life without America maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan. Results from last month’s elections in that country won’t be certified until December, but fears concerning fraud and coercion already threaten to bring escalating levels of discontent and violence once they are announced. Some Western governments, including the United States, don’t want to negotiate with the Taliban until it stops using violence as a means to legitimize its rule; the Taliban insists it won’t stop using violence until it is recognized as legitimate. We seem to be at a decades-long impasse.

U.S.-trained Afghan forces have again proved less than effective in deterring the Taliban, much less defeating it in combat. This in turn emboldens the Taliban–not to mention Islamic State advocates. Add this to the current administration’s strained relationships with Afghanistan’s neighbors, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, and the specter another decade of ideological war-by-proxy looms.

So my question, dear bloggers, is this: at what point do we simply throw up our hands and say enough? Should we worry about a graceful exit at this point? Does pulling out of Middle Eastern conflicts produce a good end, or further destabilize an area where atrocities run rampant? What moral obligations might we have to that region after seventeen years of military conflict?

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27 Responses to Endgame

  1. Erin says:

    Since we have been helping them for so long, I don’t think we can withdraw from the situation without complications. Some people in the country that are not a part of the Taliban are used to being protected, and the US just leaving them out to dry could possibly result in casualties. A moral obligation could be people there assuming the US will always be there to protect them while that might not be the case.

  2. Om Chimma says:

    In all honesty, I think the United States already has its hand in most other countries where its hand doesn’t need to be, causing them to be dependent on the US. Taking out that hand could help them develop a sense self-reliance in most situations. If need be the united states can always help, but not be the county’s mother.

  3. Ryan Holdiness says:

    Leaving now would help in my opinion. Not necessarily quitting but refusing to play the game producing a sorta lose-lose situation. The trained Afghan forces are just a waste of time. Fight stubbornness with stubbornness. Eventually other large countries will tire of immigrants fleeing into their territories and take part themselves. You don’t give the bratty two year old the shiny new toy because they said so, they are supposed to earn it.

  4. Samantha H says:

    This is certainly not a simple situation. However, there are some things to conclude when looking at it from a reasonable standpoint. Firstly, there is most likely going to be a negative outcome if the United States removes its forces from the Middle East. There are many things that are likely to come from this. One scenario is that the Taliban advances from the Middle East and spreads their reign to different areas, like the U.S. itself. They are a terrorist group and have insisted that they will continue with the violence. There are also moral obligations for the U.S. to stay in Afghanistan. Not only to provide protection for the poor citizens that fall victim to the Taliban in Afghanistan, but also for Americans themselves. Ultimately, if the United States there will be negative effect, not only for the Afghan citizens, but also possibly America and other countries. The only time that it would be smart to remove our forces from Afghanistan is if the Taliban and America form a peaceful agreement or the Taliban be completely destroyed.

  5. Alicia Argrett says:

    Us leaving them desolate in the late 1900s was one of the causes of the Taliban to begin with. But staying there will also continue to destroy lives. First and foremost, the US has a moral obligation to protect itself and its allies, but it can’t even do that effectively. Either way, this fight with the Middle East will end badly.

  6. Jane says:

    The government should take a major consideration into the welfare of the people in Middle Eastern countries. Although diplomacy is important, our relations with these countries are strained anyways. At this point, it’s important to consider whether our involvement is even helping the people in this country (which, in all honesty, looks to be a negative. The people are suffering, and our military involvement doesn’t seem to help).

  7. Taylor says:

    I personally think that the U.S. military and government should not stay involved in the Afghanistan situation. With our forces not being effective against the Taliban, our money, time, and resources are being wasted. There are millions of dollars that could benefit the U.S. in other ways going towards a cause that is not necessarily helping Afghanistan. I think that unless the case is terribly drastic and unless other countries can actually make a difference, countries should stay out of each other’s business. I understand that there a moral obligations, but there is only so much we can do. It appears to not be beneficial to either the U.S. or Afghanistan for the U.S. to stay involved in this conflict. Due to the extensive length of the conflict, I don’t think that the withdrawal of the U.S. would necessarily be peaceful, for we have acquired expectations of us. However, I think it is necessary if we think on terms of supporting our own country first. I think it’s a fifty-fifty chance of whether the U.S. pulling out results in good or bad effects. Either way, I feel that the U.S. will benefit in some form or fashion. However, as for Afghanistan, their situation could both possibly better or worsen with out withdrawal.

  8. X says:

    With the current situation, a graceful exit is no longer a topic of worry. As stated, the US is not effective in deterring the Taliban. If the US forces stay in Afghanistan, the Taliban may increase their threat, knowing that they have the power to overcome those military forces. It’s about time for the US to withdraw. Withdrawing will most likely further destabilize an area where atrocities run rampant. However, the US has a history of “butting its head” in other countries of conflict (take the Vietnam War for example). This not only resulted in hundreds of thousands of unneeded casualties but also upset the overall population of the US. It needs to learn by now, that not everywhere in the world MUST have US intervention to win a war.

    There are many moral obligations, such as the US has been helping Afghanistan for the past 17 years, so why should the US withdraw now? Would it be fair to the people who have received so many years of aid to just suddenly have none? How would the US be seen in other countries’ eyes? These questions cause the US to reconsider withdrawing troops. However, at the end of the day in times of conflict, it’s every man for himself. The US should focus on its own problems instead of spending millions on other countries. It’s not doing anything helpful in Afghanistan anyway.

  9. Taylor Shamblin says:

    Throwing up our hands and waving the white flag in hopes that this militaristic group will cease its onslaught of militaristic action is ridiculous. We, as one of the great powers on this planet, cannot allow the Taliban to continue its decimation. America has been trying to display itself as the global police of terrorism, and renouncing our placement in Afghanistan because we cant immediately view positive results will effectively destroy our image. To leave the innocent lives of the Afghan people to the barbaric Taliban, is tantamount to pulling the trigger on all of the undefended citizens ourselves. Afghanistan is overwhelmed by these marauders, so why should we, as the defenders of the helpless, not aid those that are in need. So what if we’ve been waging this battle for seventeen years? With great power, comes great responsibility, and it is our responsibility to prevent the violent forces from taking the helm of an entire country- even if it takes a millennia to destroy the oppressors. We are the guardians, and even though the politicians may deem our fighting as just a maneuver to secure an ally for oil, my observed purpose is that we are fighting for what should be present in every land: peace.

  10. Khytavia Fleming says:

    America is the land of the free, and every since this country has been established it has been our duty to protect others who do not have this freedom. However, in my opinion it’s time America just blows up the Taliban. We don’t negogiate with terrorist and no time soon are we going to legitimize them so why not send a couple missles their way. That’s never going to happen, though, because civilians are scattered everywhere. This conflict in the Middle East has been going on for almost two decades, and I’m pretty sure our men and women in uniform would like to come home. However, because we are the land of the free it is understandable why we have no backed out yet. I 100% suppoert America’s continued presence in the Middle East because if roles and situations were reversed I would hope there would be a country fighting for America’s freedom too.

  11. Linda Arnoldus says:

    The Taliban is a deadly and destructive force that has caused too much death and destruction already. Any militaristic organization that seeks to rob people of freedom and suppress and control them using fear is not one that deserves to be recognized as legitimate. Although engaging in politics with the Taliban has given us nothing so far, I think we should reorient our goals to either 1) destroy the Taliban or 2) completely withdraw from the situation. I think the first option better serves the people of Afghanistan and the second better serves the people of the US. However, this is an issue that the American people would have to vote on after being educated on the issue.

  12. Mykailla Foster says:

    I, personally, feel like if our army has wasted too much time in Afghanistan. We’ve spent two decades in Afghanistan trying to help others when the nation has its own battles to fight. I understand that some might feel as if we would be looked at as “quitters” for giving up but that is the besides the point. If we can help ourselves, how are we going to help someone else.

  13. Xavier Lucas-Cooper says:

    Leaving the Afghanistan country in its time of need, no matter how difficult it might be, is hypocritical of the United States. During the 1900s, the country has been advocating for itself for its duty to protect other countries no matter the cost, so what different is this situation? Granted, it has been almost 100 years since this ideal was prominent, but it should be expressed not in a Social Darwinist, White Man’s Burden, kind of way, but in a caring, diplomatic, and patient way.

  14. Kailah says:

    There was time when I was little that my dad left to fight in a war in Iraq. I didn’t understand what was going on at the time but I remember my mom being worried if he was going to return or not. Fortunately, he did. Now that I’m older and I have the brain capacity to comprehend what war consisted of, the more I’m convinced that there’s no end to. I think that by sending more of our troops to fight is pointless at this point and that there isn’t even a specific goal that being pursued. I understand that it’s beneficial to have the least amount of international conflict as possible but I think it would be best to not add on to it and make further pointless sacrifices.

    • Zakkaria Reaves says:

      I agree with your Kailah. I have had several family members, both men and women, to go off and fight in the war, leaving worried family members behind. It appears to have no end, but all things have an end! If the nations could come together rather than continue to be at odds, AFTER DECADES OF YEARS, the world in its entirety would be a better place. No, not many will be fond of the decision to work hard to end these life threatening disputes, but at this point, it has become pure repetitive. A compromise is needed because our nation continues to fall further into the pool of “at stake”. People are losing their dearly beloved family members due to nations wanting to be dominant separately, when we could be dominant as a whole. Obviously it is a lot deeper than that, but these are my views!

  15. B says:

    The military presence in Afghanistan reminds me of all the times there were military presence in other countries, India, Countries in Africa, and South America. It reminds me of the British occupation in those countries and how they were “trying to help”, but all they did was separate up and disregard the culture and the people there. And the difference is that we aren’t trying to conquer them, but as the saying goes “history repeats itself” and to see what happened in other places and countries it may be considered that if we do leave it may be better for them to figure out and to let them settle it out. Even if a war starts it would be okay because it won’t last long as long as we neglect their needs on warfare and let them burn through the ammunition. Even though we have been there for over two decades it is better for them to learn and teach themselves to be involved.

  16. Catherine says:

    Due to how long the US has been present in Afghanistan, I think it would not be good for anyone if the US withdrew. Since Afghanistan has relied on the US for so long, withdrawing would be drastic for them. The civilians have always had the protection of the US, whether it is affective or not, some may still have lived another day. Although, since it has been 17 years, and nothing has changed, maybe the US just hasn’t had that much of a beneficial impact. The US could withdraw and still give aid, just not have military troops in the country. It is hard to say what they should do, but I think since they have been there for so long, they have an obligation to the citizens of Afghanistan.

  17. David B says:

    The United States has done more than enough for other countries. Some of it good and some of it not so great, but regardless there is only so much you can do to help a country before it needs to stand up on its own feet and re-establish itself. The entire political situation involving the U.S. and it’s heavy involvement in the Middle East is blurry and smeared with dirt and will in all logical sense be impossible to exit the Middle Eastern theater of war gracefully, but it must be done. Fewer and fewer countries in the Middle East are liking our lasting presence because we are Americans and or because the United States has shown very little if any results in the conflict against groups such as the Taliban over seventeen years. The catch is if U.S. troops pull out from a lot of areas in Afghanistan they would lose their only line of defense and the country will most likely be ruled by a Taliban appointed dictator forcing us to re-enter the country and try to solve that problem, but if we stay other countries will only increase to despise us and become more wary of our presence. By saying this do I mean that an all out war is unavoidable and that we should pull out? No. What I am saying is that I would rather go to war against one country, Afghanistan, if we ever did pull out than go to war against at least four other countries who would want our presence removed from the Middle East.

  18. Alyssa says:

    If we pull out right now then the region would become too unstable. I feel as if we should have controlled the situation a long time ago, but now the Taliban has so much control and access to many different technologies so it would be a dangerous. I believe that in other situations we should pull out, because the fight is useless. But there still are places our troops should be in.

  19. Elijah Dosda says:

    The withdrawal shouldn’t be instant, but slow and gradual. Whether or not we’ve been effective in the political affairs of other countries, no one can argue with the fact that many families have been torn apart because loved ones have died while serving in the Middle East for the past 17 years. Although this may be in the best interest of their protection overseas, we should not be the sole authority in maintaining order in the Middle East, especially if we are stationing troops out there when there is no direct threat to the United States like war.
    We should have the UN take care of the Middle East, all of the countries pitch in instead of just us.

  20. \_(OwO)_/ says:

    The Taliban are not viewed in any light from our point of view, however, the U.S. should not be playing as the Planet’s police force. We have our own issues and after a decade’s worth of fighting with no total victories, this is turning into a war of attrition, which there are no winners. In the end both sides just waste all their resources, lives included, on fighting over beliefs. The U.S. have tried and failed. If other countries would unite, then the mission would be feasible, however, that does not seem like it will happen in the near future. At this point, unless we were to just wage nuclear warfare, the Taliban will sustain their current presence. However, withdrawing our presence in the middle east would be worse. This would give way for the Taliban to expand their operations without interference and eventually cause more terror. As I see it, the best course of action would be to keep our presence and persuade other nations to aid us in ending this threat.

  21. \_(OwO)_/ says:

    The Taliban are not viewed in any light from our point of view, however, the U.S. should not be playing as the Planet’s police force. We have our own issues and after a decade’s worth of fighting with no total victories, this is turning into a war of attrition, which there are no winners. In the end both sides just waste all their resources, lives included, on fighting over beliefs. The U.S. have tried and failed. If other countries would unite, then the mission would be feasible, however, that does not seem like it will happen in the near future. At this point, unless we were to just wage nuclear warfare, the Taliban will sustain their current presence. However, withdrawing our presence in the middle east would be worse. This would give way for the Taliban to expand their operations without interference and eventually cause more terror. As I see it, the best course of action would be to keep our presence and persuade other nations to aid us in ending this threat.

  22. N says:

    Because we’ve been wrapped up in the situation for so long, the area would most definitely destabilize much too quickly if the U.S. were to leave right away. In addition to that, the U.S. holds moral obligations to assist our allies in times of need like this. But this decades-long fight has proved inefficient, and the situation is getting nowhere. gradual withdrawal would be best. Not only would it allow for us to take a step back and reevaluate, but opportunity for the people to become more self-reliance and stronger in the fight themselves.

  23. Emily Penton says:

    This is a hard question all around because how do we just leave the people who are in need there. Yet, we have people in our own country who need our help. The countries over there are in such a disarray that it seems like they will never have peace. So how do we leave those innocent children and families, and who’s call is it to make? However, the war has been taking place overseas for years so are they still a threat for us to be attacking? Honestly, the U.S. is so deep into this fight can we ever get out? There are so many things that have to be considered when looking at whether we pull out or not. I’m so glad that this isn’t my decision because I know I would not be able to make it. I think with my heart too much for a situation like this.

  24. Esmond says:

    Withdrawing U.S aid from Afghanistan would have major consequences for the neighboring countries and Afghans. The presence by the U.S has been a beacon for many years and provided protection for thousands. Uncountless stories and lives have been taken by the Taliban group. It seems likely that pulling out would lead to Taliban expansion potentially groups previously protected. The United States plays an important role in combatting terror internationally in the past and today. To remove the support given to their people would be a disservice not only the Afghani families but also the freedom our country prides itself on.

  25. Kinsey says:

    The US really needs to stay out of other people’s business. It is not our responsibility to look after other nations. We have our own problems. It is a waste of money, time, and resources to maintain military force in the Middle East. It does not matter if moral problems or continued instability ensure because it is not our country.

  26. J says:

    One must consider the effect on the average citizen that pulling out of the Middle East may have. While America’s fight against the Taliban has not been entirely successful, a random withdrawal could cause a large and sudden increase in the oppressive power of the Taliban against the average citizen. Perhaps our strategy should change, but it should absolutely not be stopped. However, if a new militaristic priority like war were to be introduced, America should absolutely reconsider its position in the Middle East. Domestic problems should always be the top priority for America.

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