I wrote two months ago at Virginia Right and Conflicted Libertarian about the Young Turks of the Tory Party – young MPs recently elected to the British Parliament who might have an impact. It nearly caused me to have a midlife crisis! But the most prominent of the Young Turks is Rory Stewart. He has a splendid and impressive bio; his positions on the war in Afghanistan are enlightening. He recently penned an opinion article in the leading German opinion magazine Der Spiegel on line.
Stewart is his usual erudite best in this article. He suggests that we have formed a fantasy world to justify the war and our intervention:
Just as 8th century Mahayana Buddhists invented world after world, filling them with their distinctive demons and bodhisattvas, our think tanks and governments have also developed their own metaphysical structures, labeling them “failed states,” or “counter-insurgency.”
Who in politics talks like this! Rory Stewart does. He suggests that counter-insurgency has a noble sound to it, but ultimately it won’t benefit the Afghan people nor is it feasible:
Meanwhile counter-insurgency is highly profitable not only to consultants (more than a quarter of the international aid spent in Afghanistan in 2008 was spent on foreign consultants) but also to NGOs. They can easily access money from the US government for repairing a school or rebuilding a clinic on the grounds that development is an important aspect of counter-insurgency.
Instead of trying to produce an alternative theory (on how to defeat the Taliban, create an effective, legitimate and stable Afghan state, stabilize Pakistan and ensure that al-Qaida could never again threaten the United States) we need to understand that however desirable such things might be, they are not things that we — as foreigners — can do.
Had we followed the Constitution and declared war on the Taliban government and used the letters of marque and reprisal to catch bin Laden, we would not be spending billions on this war and men and women who not have died to build a nation that is not even close to our core principles. Stewart is right. Time to, as Cong. Paul put it, “Just come home.” My tea party readers should ponder if the war was worth losing Congress and the Presidency. Was it worth Obamacare? Was it worth billions of dollars and thousands of lives?