In sending more troops to Afghanistan late last year, President Obama justified his actions by stating that Afghanistan was a war of necessity rather than a war of choice. However, most Americans disagree with that assessment and many point to the historical fact that few wars in American history were wars of necessity. Many historians argue that the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Spanish American War were all wars of choice with better choices available for those willing to entertain them.
Experts argue that risk and cost must be taken into consideration when deciding to enter into war. An example could be the Korean War in 1950, where the US jumped in to defend South Korea. However, not doing so would not have been the end of the war. So the question becomes, is any war really, really necessary. Going to war is always a choice, and this holds true for Afghanistan. Obama’s choice to escalate the situation in Afghanistan is really no different than George Bush’s so called preemptive strike against Iraq.
Some contend that Obama claiming necessity in Afghanistan is a grab for moral purity in international affairs, that while apologizing for past American actions, this administration seems to be saying that it won’t commit any new sins, including fighting wars of any kind. All collateral damage in a necessary war is usually forgiven as are all moral ambiguities which are part of any exercise of power. But it’s a dream to think that moral burdens can be shed so easily. Just because America says it doesn’t make it so in the rest of the world. Claiming necessity does not and will not absolve the Obama administration from responsibility for its actions. The problem with Americans, some say, is that America can’t seem to reconcile the fact that exercises of power are always morally ambiguous even when good can and is accomplished.
To put it bluntly claiming to fight a war because you have no choice is bogus reasoning and will not avoid the moral dilemma , costs and burdens of fighting. If America really wants to win the war in Afghanistan, then it needs to pursue it’s opponent more seriously, with the intent of eliminating them from the scene altogether. The Obama administration must realize the immense damage that will be done should a small ragtag band of fanatics defeat the world’s best army. Such a defeat would do a great deal of harm to the world order and stability of the global hierarchy. Many actions are right or just, but are still sometimes not necessary no matter how you paint it. Several months into this latest uptick or surge, the jury is still is still out on why it was better to march forward than to think about pulling out.
Much of the global community continues to see the war in Afghanistan as an imperialistic act on the part of the United States. Many have wondered why the world’s only super power has been warring for so long over a country that is made up of mountains and little else. Few understand that simply pulling out after all this time will be painted as a loss for the Americans, and after Vietnam, this is unacceptable. So it remains to be seen what success will manifest from this latest military action on the Taliban strong hold called Marjah.