As the House Judiciary Committee drafts articles of impeachment intended to remove President Donald Trump from office, let us pause to reflect on the subject of relative malfeasance. Allow me to stipulate that Trump is unfit for office. He is a coarse, vulgar, and dishonest demagogue. Yet I want to suggest that his transgressions, while notable, pale in comparison with a far greater crime that unfolded right before our eyes, for years, well before his election.
That crime is the Afghan War. Now, withholding security assistance from a beleaguered nation threatened by Russia in return for political favors is a despicable act. This is true even if that nation is one that Washington only recently decided to classify as vital to U.S. interests.
But a misguided war that drags on inconclusively for more than 18 years is, I submit, a far greater crime. This is especially the case if that war has cost the United States more than $1 trillion, with 2,300 U.S. troops and more than 3,800 American contractors killed, and another 20,000 GIs wounded in action, many grievously. And that’s not counting the more than 100,000 members of Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians killed along the way.
No evidence exists to suggest that the United States and its allies are today winning this war. Indeed, the available evidence points in the opposite direction: The Taliban are growing in strength day by day. The on-again, off-again peace negotiations undertaken by the Trump administration amount to little more than a transparent effort to get out of Afghanistan, as the president has repeatedly promised to do, while creating a “decent interval” between the U.S. troop withdrawal and the eventual collapse of the Afghan regime in Kabul.