But that isn't the point. Or maybe it sort of is the point.... the point being.... that things are bad. That's a given. It's war. It looks bleak, it's a grind, good people get killed and maimed, and it's hard to maintain hope on a daily basis. These things are common to all wars. Yet they don't constitute valid reasons, in and of themselves, for withdrawal. Sometimes time takes time. Persistence certainly pays off, most especially against guerrilla enemies. Will it pay off in the long run? I don't know, and neither does anyone else. It most certainly won't pay off if we decide to withdraw just because we're not willing to tolerate wartime conditions while we fight a war.
I think the problem is that it isn’t clear what our objectives are in Afghanistan and what US interests are being served by our continued presence there.
I agree that casualties and a bleak outlook for victory are not valid reasons to withdraw, but I also think that not wanting to “lose” isn’t a valid reason to stay in and of itself if there’s no ultimate purpose to our efforts there.
I think it’s perfectly legitimate for us to re-evaluate our objectives and ask three important questions. 1)What US interests are being served by our operations in Afghanistan? 2)Is this the best way to serve those interests? and 3) Are the interests being served worth the expenditure being made?
If we can’t answer those questions to our satisfaction, then there’s no disgrace withdrawing from an irrational war effort.