It's been more than 10 years since America and its allies threw the Taliban out of power. We screwed up by taking our eyes off the ball so we could whip up a phony war in Iraq. This allowed bin Laden to relocate to Pakistan. This allowed the Taliban to regroup and retake much of the country. Before President Obama came into office and we started taking Afghanistan seriously again, the disregard President Bush showed for clearing out the viper's nest of Taliban and their supporters will go down in the history books as one of the biggest failures of a long list of failures for which his woebegotten administration will be forever stained.
President Obama has been trying to clean up the economic mess Bush and his allies caused, all the while being harassed by the very same people who created the problems in the first place, demanding to be put back in a position where they can get right back to destroying our country. Obama is making headway in cleaning up the economic mess.
Obama has made some headway in cleaning up the mess Bush left in Iraq and Afghanistan. A popular meme you'll be hearing until November -- "GM is alive, bin Laden is dead." So are many other Taliban and al Qaeda leaders that Bush just let go about their business so he could remove a toothless dictator in Iraq.
But some messes are just beyond cleansing. At some point one has to take a look around and decide just how much more blood and treasure one is willing to spend on what seems to be a useless cause.
It's the same argument for leaving Iraq. However long we stay, it won't matter. When we leave, they will do what they will do. Iraq is already quite cozy with Iran, something that was impossible when Saddam was running things. If we stayed another 10 years, another 50 years, the Shi'ite majority in Iraq would be cozy with the Shi'ites in Iran.
Now, with reports of Taliban and their supporters in the Haqqani network having safe havens in Pakistan, havens we know about but can't attack because of the civilians we would kill and the political blowback we would receive from our "ally" in Pakistan, we seem to be at our wits' end as to what to do about it.
Let me put this as clearly as I can. There is something wrong with these people. It's not a Muslim thing. The things the Taliban believes are about as anti-Muslim as you can get. Islam forbids killing innocent people. Islam forbids attacking unarmed civilians. These people call themselves Islamic. They shame Islam. They are as representative of the true nature of Islam as Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church is of Christianity when they hold up their "God Hates Fags" signs at funerals.
Some knuckleheads who didn't know what they were doing because they can't read the language accidentally burned some holy books. Muslims in America say, "Meh, they didn't know what they were doing." Same with Muslims in Indonesia, Africa, Europe and everywhere else in the world. But in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they're killing people because some books got burned.
There is something wrong with these people.
We need to come to a resolution here as a nation. We need to make a decision and make it soon.
If President Obama were taking my advice, here is what he would say at his next press conference.
"I am addressing the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the last decade, we have wasted thousands of lives and billions of dollars trying to drag you into the 21st century. We've tried to instill you with an understanding of democracy as it works in free countries, and how people who live in free and democratic countries do so with far greater comfort and security.
"But there's just something WRONG with you people! Far too many of you seem bound and determined to live in the 14th Century.
"Well, I'll tell you what. You're on! Live in the 14th Century.
"Earlier today, I gave orders to our troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight their way out of your countries. They will board ships and airplanes and will return to their free and democratic nation with the thanks of a grateful people. We will not shed another drop of blood or spend another dollar to force you to live in our century with the rest of the world.
"You want it, kids? You got it. But here's a little warning. If anyone has a working radio in a city with electricity, you might want to spread the word.
"Pakistan, you have nuclear weapons. We get so much as a whiff of a sniff of a hint that you are sharing any of that nuclear technology with people who want to destroy America and its allies? You will receive no warning. Boom. Good bye, Pakistan. India throws us a parade.
"Afghanistan? If you want to have your little al Qaeda and Taliban training camps, you go right ahead. We have satellites that know whether or not you're constipated or have the runs. You think you can get more than three people at a time in one place with guns and we can't see you from hundreds of miles in space, you just give it a try, brother. The last thing you will hear is that few seconds of an ever-increasingly loud hum as the missile from one of our unmanned drones gets ready to send you to your mistaken idea of paradise.
"Put your camps among civilians? Better post signs telling civilians that they are in danger by being close to you. Because they will go to your mistaken idea of paradise right along with you. If you're still teaching people how to read by that point. Not many folks could read in the 14th Century.
"Your martyred leader, Osama bin Laden, explained once that the basic difference between us and you is that we love life and you love death. Well, get ready to love some death because it's coming if any one of you so much as sticks your head out of a cave with the intent of harming an innocent person.
"Do we understand each other? Whatever. The next sound you hear will be American bombs falling on your cities and villages unless you somehow learn to work and play well with the rest of the world."
We have the technology, President Obama. We can keep an eye on them. We can hit them whenever we want to, where ever they are.
It's time to stop throwing good lives after bad. This is a mess Bush made that you just can not clean up.
Get our folks out of Afghanistan. Tell Pakistan they're on their own, financially and in every other way. It doesn't matter to them if we stay 10 more years or 100 more years.
There is something WRONG with those people.