Indiana University Press author Douglas Wissing has penned an op-ed for The Hill, again weighing in on the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Wissing's appraisal is not a good one for the United States:
The Afghanistan War is unwinnable. Partnered with a corrupt and ineffective Afghan government, U.S. forces confront a robust and growing insurgency, substantively funded by skimmed American contracts. After 15 years of dysfunctional U.S. development schemes costing over $100 billion, Afghans remain near the bottom of most human development indices.
Wissing has firsthand experience with the situation in Afghanistan, having spent time embedded with American soldiers in counterinsurgency efforts. He writes that the war has had enormous cost, not just in terms of finances but in human capital:
Endless war has stressed America's military. Veterans Affairs is overwhelmed with post-9/11 wounded and disabled vets: over 1,600 amputees; 327,000 vets with traumatic brain injuries; and 700,000 vets who are 30 percent or more disabled. Post-traumatic stress disorder is rampant. And the burden most often falls on military families, struggling to assist vets wounded in body, mind and soul.
And though it may come at the expense of saving face, Wissing sees but one way forward to end the fighting:
Generals, diplomats and politicians are arguing the U.S. can't withdraw from Afghanistan because of the "investment" of American blood and treasure. There is the wisdom of that great economics concept, sunk cost bias. Smart people are careful to not to throw good money after bad.
President Trump is a pragmatic businessman, who knows when it's time to stop the bleeding. He's clearly not afraid to pull the plug on a lost cause — or a bad "investment."
The entire article is available to read here. Wissing's book, Hopeless But Optimistic, addresses the war in Afghanistan in depth. It is available now from Indiana University Press. The trailer for the book can be viewed below.