Because the war is not directed at discrediting and defeating the "real enemy", which is Islam...
What I Mean by Win
The title of this article may make one assume that this is yet another left-wing writer espousing a doom-and-gloom theory for America at war, but it is not. Far from having a left-wing worldview, I would gladly like to see the Taliban permanently wiped from the face of the earth and I am not the type to be squeamish about how it might be accomplished. In addition, I also readily agree that the United States and its allies, as long as the determination and financial ability to do so remains intact, could continue to do in Afghanistan what has done to date—keep the Taliban out of power, seize and hold any territory deemed worthy of holding, and maintain a more moderate Islamic regime in power than the previous Taliban regime.
So why then do I conclude that the Afghanistan War cannot be won?
It comes down to what is meant by the phrase 'to win the war'. To me, winning in Afghanistan means, at a minimum, keeping the Taliban and similar fundamentalist Islamic regime out of power and keeping Afghanistan from reverting to a place from where 9/11-type terrorist attacks can be planned and supported without the need for United States soldiers and significant financial aid. To completely feel like the war was won, I would want to see a government in place that could and would slowly dampen Islam's influence on the culture over time and make headway toward modernity and a society that was fair and just to women and men equally. In other words, the elimination of Sharia Law and its replacement with a more just legal system and a culture that could and would implement and enforce that new legal system. Unfortunately, the foregoing type of true victory or even anything close to it is impossible to attain for several reasons.
Islam's Grip on Afghanistan Culture and the Minds of its Citizens Must Be Lessened and Eliminated
The Afghanistan Constitution adopted in early 2004 ensures that Islam will continue to hold sway over the minds of the Afghanistan People. It describes Islam as its sacred and state religion. While some non-Sharia civil law is included in the document, it also states that no law may contradict the beliefs and provisions of Islam. Since Sharia Law is so nearly all encompassing, the Afghanistan Constitution is essentially a worthless document. The Constitution also provides that the Afghanistan President must also be a Muslim. It follows that all we have really accomplished in Afghanistan is to replace a strict Islamist regime with one that is less strict in its implementation and interpretation of Sharia Law. Of course, how long that less strict interpretation and implementation will last remains to be seen. I suspect it will not last for too long after the infusion of money and soldiers from Western nations stops or considerably lessens.
A chance of "truly" winning the war in Afghanistan, it would necessitate the implementation of a type of government and constitution that would eliminate the influence of Islam and Sharia Law. Of course, such a government would have needed even more sustained and greater military and financial commitment from the United States, but at least at this point, years after its ascension to power, such a government might have made inroads into Afghanistan culture, diminishing Islam's influence on it and some light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel might be visible. While such an approach may well have been impossible to implement and maintain, it was in fact the only hope for the "true" victory in the long run. Plainly stated, the only chance for true victory or to win as I have described it above is to lessen and eventually eliminate Islam's grip on Afghan culture and the minds of its citizens.
Only an Afghanistan, whose people are not enslaved to Islam, can achieve the economic and cultural success needed to resist the Taliban on their own. As I have explained previously in an essay titled 'Islam Caused Islamic Civilization to Decline', Islam's pernicious doctrine causes Muslim countries fare much more poorly economically. Islam also limits scientific advances and modernization. The degree of impediment depends, of course, on the level of influence Islam has on the country. Unfortunately, in Afghanistan that influence is substantial.
In order to resist the Taliban, the people of Afghanistan would have to be much more strongly opposed to the Taliban's beliefs than they currently are. While many Afghans may well remember life under the Taliban and fervently oppose the Taliban's resumption of power, many of them share the Taliban religious beliefs to one degree or another and are therefore far less determined and opposed to the Taliban than they need to be in order to effectively resist on their own. The Taliban receive support from and sanctuary in Pakistan, and financial support and even members from throughout the Islamic world. Hence, the Afghans are resisting a force that has considerable outside support. To resist the Taliban, the Afghans must be willing to resist the Taliban with their very lives. Without that degree of commitment, there is no possibility that the Afghans can resist the Taliban without the support of a large Western army.
The United State's Long-Term Economic Outlook Indicates That the Afghanistan War Cannot Be Sustained Indefinitely
The United States provides the bulk of the forces and money to fight the Taliban, but how much longer it can afford to do so remains to be seen. Simple mathematics suggests that a nation of 310 million people with more than 13 trillion dollars in debt cannot afford to police the world indefinitely. If the United States cannot maintain its financial integrity it cannot maintain its security. It follows that spending vast sums of borrowed money to fight a war of indefinite attrition that in the end will not be won not only wastes American lives, but hurts its long-term national security, because as the debt level rises the ability to resist Islam and other threats declines. In fact, the government may well perceive Muslim immigration as a means to add to the younger population base and thereby shore up social programs such as social security.
The Primary Reason for American Intervention Has Probably Become Moot Because Terrorists Will Have Many Bases from Which to Operate.
The primary or evidently the most important purpose of American commitment in Afghanistan is the desire to keep the country from reverting back to a place where terrorists can be bred and attacks can be planned against the United States. However, fundamentalist Islam is spreading throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. There are so many places that can be utilized as terrorist bases, including large segments of Pakistan; so preventing Afghanistan from being used as terrorist base may not accomplish that much. The reality is that there are well-documented Islamic enclaves and remote estates of land controlled by Islamists throughout even the United States itself that can be used by terrorists. An ever-expanding network of mosques are in place throughout the world, including in the United States, so much so that a mosque will probably be built near the former World Trade Center.
Europe is slowly but surely being lost to Islam and it is hard to imagine that terrorists, sometime in the near future, will not have many secure areas in Europe within which to plan and implement attacks against the United States.
We Have Ignored Advice from America's Founders and Squandered Resources
The Founders of America warned Americans to avoid entangling foreign alliances. It was good advice. While I do not suggest that America abandon, for example, its close relationship with and support of Israel and other Western and secular-democratic countries, yet any and all entanglements with foreign countries of any nature must be closely scrutinized with the goal of making sure that money is not spent on any country that is not worth the investment. For example, the approximately 60 billion dollars given to Egypt since the late 1970 was a pure waste. The expense has not made us true friends in Egypt nor will it prevent the Islamists from taking eventual control of the country. What it does mean is that when the Islamists do take control, they will have some nice American military hardware they can use to try and 'drive the Jews in to the sea' as is commonly said throughout the Arab world.
Allowing a Muslim-majority country, like Turkey, to become part of the NATO was at best a temporary necessity, but in light of Turkey's slide into Islamism, its expulsion from the NATO is long overdue. Again, beware entangling foreign alliances was good advice and it is even better advice when applied to Islamic nations.
Charitable Aid Can Achieve Much More Outside of Afghanistan
There are certainly some benefits that have been obtained in Afghanistan by American monetary support and influence arising from the military presence such as schools built for women and other such aid. I am generally in favor of such charitable works. However, I doubt that aid will have any long-term benefit in Afghanistan and money for such charity is limited and would be better put to work in places wherein a long-term benefit can be achieved. Afghanistan is an Islamic backwater wherein any investment is simply a waste. When the money has been borrowed, it is a doubly troubling squandering of resources.
Intervention Can Only Be Justified Where It Will Attack the Heart of the Problem and Not Simply Create a Long-Term War of Attrition That Americans Are Ill-Suited to Sustain
I am not a strict isolationist. For example, American and allied intervention against Nazi Germany made sense. However, in that conflict, Americans sought to and did destroy Nazi ideology as a significant influence and power. Islamic ideology is at least as malevolent as Nazi ideology and, in my view, is actually far worse. It is just as full of hatred and violence toward Jews and just as militaristic. If America and its allies were fighting to discredit Islam, the true enemy, I might well be for whatever financial sacrifice was called for as one could be assured that Americans were fighting to build a better day and a world wherein the long-term benefits might exceed the monetary and human cost.
Unfortunately, however, America and its allies are not fighting Islam in Afghanistan. America is simply fighting a never ending conflict that will achieve nothing more than to keep a slightly less tyrannical Islamic regime in place as long as American soldiers remain in significant enough numbers. No significant, long-term improvement in Afghan society will be achieved and any improvements obtained necessitate a continued financial and military commitment that cannot be sustained indefinitely.
Americans are not well-equipped to fighting a long-term war of attrition. Past conflicts have established that Americans want a war fought to victory in a reasonable amount of time and will not tolerate long-term wars of attrition with no end in sight. Have we learned nothing from Vietnam? In Vietnam, had America taken the war to North Vietnam with the goal of wiping out the North Vietnamese government, the Vietnam War may have ended far differently. The current conflict in Afghanistan is the same. American leaders can either implement a strategy for actual victory as opposed to simply maintaining the status quo or the American People will eventually withdraw their support.
American and Allied Lives and Resources Are Being Needlessly Wasted
It grieves me to hear of the terrible loss of human life in Afghanistan. I fear that Americans and other allied countries are sending their young men and women off to a distant land that is undeserving of their sacrifice and whose sacrifice will not make the society significantly better in the long-term. Almost as troubling, money to finance the war is being borrowed and future American generations will have to pay for the conflict at a time when they are no doubt trying to fund their own defence and to pay for the generous social programs their parents and grandparents voted for themselves.
Because of Islam's pernicious influence, Afghanistan is too dysfunctional to be rescued by a Western Culture that is unwilling to recognize the true level of danger presented by Islam in all its guises and, therefore, unwilling to try and eliminate Islam's terrible influence upon Afghanistan. I further suspect that the Western world has so hamstrung itself by fiscal mismanagement and the adoption of too many and too generous social programs that even if the Western nations were to wake up and realize that Islamic ideology needs to be eliminated as much as Nazi ideology was largely eliminated, that Western civilization has long since passed any window of opportunity it had to do so. The best strategy now may well be to withdraw to the Western Hemisphere and to try and contain Islam on the other side of the World.
Of course, that will not happen. Islam will continue its advance into Western culture and slowly but surely the percentage of the World's population that is Muslim will rise with the associated decrease in stability that has already been experienced as the relative percentage of Muslim population increased.
As Western nations become more and more financially insolvent due, at least in part, to misguided wars of attrition in Afghanistan, their ability to resist Islam will decrease and Islam will advance at an even greater pace.