Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute has an article titled, Yes They Died in Vain in Afghanistan on Antiwar.com.
Gold Star families are dealing the tragic reality of the collapse of America’s mission in Afghanistan: their loved ones died in vain. Some 6300 Americans, military personnel and civilian contractors, were sacrificed for nothing.
The geopolitical wreck known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan delivered distressingly little in return for the service, sacrifice, and death of so many Americans – and others, both allied military members and Afghans. Almost overnight a government that turned out to be an international fraud, unable to call upon the loyalty of those it was supposed to serve, disappeared. This could not help but leave friends and family of the dead, as well as the wounded, many of whom continue to suffer from their service, feeling that they lost much, and perhaps everything, for nothing.
Unfortunately, for some the intense pain is made more intense by criticism of the war. To them questioning the value of the cause seems to denigrate the service of those who sacrificed for their country. A plea for peace is seen as an insult to those in uniform.
Accountability is long overdue.
Certainly, both the administration and Congress should review how the withdrawal was handled. However, that is not nearly enough. With America’s participation in the forty-year Afghan civil war over – assuming the War Party is not able to plunge the U.S. back into conflict by backing whatever disparate opposition to the Taliban emerges – Washington’s objectives and management also should be reviewed.
Did the Bush administration develop any alternatives to an invasion? Why did the administration reject the Taliban offer to negotiate a de facto surrender? How badly did the administration’s decision to downgrade the Afghanistan conflict and invade Iraq undermine the war effort, especially the attempt to capture Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora?
What accounted for the fateful decision to shift to nation-building? Did the Bush administration imagine that Afghanistan, too, would be a “cakewalk”? Why did successive administrations insist on creating a government and military along American rather than Afghan lines? How high did the tsunami of deceptions go? To the Cabinet? The President? Members of the congressional War Party? In short, who lied and who was lied to?