The killing of Osama bin Laden presents America with an extraordinary opportunity to declare victory in Afghanistan and accelerate the plan to bring our troops and capital home.
Other than the enemy surrendering, how do you determine the end game of a war? I suggest that bin Laden's demise marks the end of the 10-year war on terrorism that we have won. Of course, there may be sporadic outbursts of attacks against American troops, interests and, God forbid, American citizens themselves. But in the big picture of things, this enemy is done. Put a fork in 'em.
Let's not forget why we went to war in the first place. Unlike the ill-advised "weapons of mass destruction" argument put forth by the Bush Administration in 2003 as justification to invade Iraq, what the American people really wanted was those responsible for 9/11 hunted down and brought to justice. After fighting the "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time," finally under the Obama Administration's capable stewardship, we focused our efforts on the Taliban, al-Qaida and the whereabouts of bin Laden. In the last couple of years, we have successively killed and detained many al-Qaida operatives around the world, crippling their ability to carry out their diabolical plans. Now that we have "cut off the head of the snake," it is time to cut bait and refocus the efforts of our troops elsewhere.
This war in Afghanistan is costing America $8 billion each month. American troop casualties continue to rise. In fact, in recent weeks, several of our troops have been killed by so-called "Afghan friendlies" inside American barracks. What's up with that?
We're never going to make Afghanistan a Western culture. This country has been occupied by foreign armies forever. The American people did not support sending us Afghanistan to nation-build. They sent us there to accomplish what happened on May 1. Obama got it. We have shut down the Taliban, decimated al-Qaida and taken out their poster boy bin Laden. We won... let's move on!
Hopefully, our military leaders and strategic planners have learned some lessons after 10 years of fighting enemies who wear no uniforms, have no tanks or planes or ships or bases. Enemies who use women and children to carry bombs strapped to their bodies into public places to blow themselves up and kill innocent people.
Possibly, we need to rethink the value of sending tens of thousands of our uniformed troops into third world countries to line up Napoleon-like and fight ghosts. Maybe, we need to do more with intelligence and Navy SEAL-like units to carry out covert operations against our enemies.
I'm willing to bet that after the manner in which we took out bin Laden, the terrorists might now be seeing ghosts themselves! How about terrorizing the terrorists for once?
• Jon Beydler is a 33-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler.