‘Combat’ may end, but Afghanistan war certainly hasn’t

The following editorial appeared in the Fayetteville Observer:

The commander in chief didn’t say much about the military during his State of the Union address last week. The little he did say left us worried.

“Tonight, for the first time since 9/11,” President Obama said, “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain.”

Any fewer than that, and the war in Afghanistan will reignite, as surely as Iraq’s peace and order crumbled not long after we unwisely withdrew all our troops.

Islamic State forces – the reason we’ve been drawn back into Iraq – are in Afghanistan now, vying with the Taliban and al-Qaida for control. It doesn’t take much imagination to see what will happen if we bring home the rest of our troops.

But despite his talk about fighting terrorism through coalition-building, training other countries’ armies and diplomacy, Obama later acknowledged the need for American force. He told lawmakers in his audience that, “tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force” against the Islamic State.

We hope he’s serious about that. Because training Iraqis won’t get it done.

Tribune Content Agency