Has the war in Afghanistan been worth it?

Defense.gov

US Army Sgt. Carl Goss secures an area near a bridge construction site in Zabul province, Afghanistan, March 13, 2011. Goss, assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul, 181st Infantry Regiment, also is a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Article Highlights

  • In Afghanistan US has achieved much more than vengeance for the 9/11 attacks

    Tweet This

  • US has paid a terrible cost in Afghanistan but the value earned is priceless

    Tweet This

  • In Afghanistan US has protected against further attack, preserved representative govt, stabilized region

    Tweet This

Yes. On Sept. 11, 2001, Afghanistan was home to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization, Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Today, Bin Laden is dead and what’s left of the Al Qaeda leadership has fled to Pakistan and beyond. But the United States has achieved much more than vengeance for the 9/11 attacks. Afghanistan is no longer a base for terrorists. Instead, it serves as a base for the U.S., as it strives to suppress terrorism and Islamic extremism and stabilize a fragile Pakistan next door.

The U.S. and its allies have achieved a great deal in Afghanistan. The initial invasion quickly ousted the repressive Taliban regime, which had sheltered Al Qaeda. For all its faults and corruption, the current government of Afghanistan has proved durable and is on the verge of a peaceful transfer of power from President Hamid Karzai to an elected successor. That’s something that hasn’t happened in Afghanistan for decades. And, most important to Americans, the U.S. has succeeded in training the Afghan army so it will be able to defeat attempts by the Taliban to reclaim power. 

More than 2,300 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, many more have been wounded, and billions of dollars have been spent. That is a terrible cost, but the value earned in return—protecting the U.S. from terrorist attacks, preserving representative government in Afghanistan, and protecting U.S. interests in a volatile region—is priceless.

This article appeared in The New York Times Upfront on March 31, 2014 alongside an opposing viewpoint from former congressman Ron Paul.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Thomas
Donnelly

What's new on AEI

Study: Piketty tax plan would boost equality by making rich less rich. But poor would be poorer, too
image Rep. McCaul’s cybersecurity information sharing center: If you build it, will they come?
image Halbig and its aftermath
image Culture of how Washington pays for medical care
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 28
    MON
  • 29
    TUE
  • 30
    WED
  • 31
    THU
  • 01
    FRI
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Is Medicare's future secure? The 2014 Trustees Report

Please join AEI as the chief actuary for Medicare summarizes the report’s results, followed by a panel discussion of what those spending trends are likely to mean for seniors, taxpayers, the health industry, and federal policy.

Event Registration is Closed
Friday, August 01, 2014 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Watergate revisited: The reforms and the reality, 40 years later

Please join us as four of Washington’s most distinguished political observers will revisit the Watergate hearings and discuss reforms that followed.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.