Sunk Costs in Iraq and Afghanistan
By David Henderson
Will Joe Biden have the guts and/or the sense to recognize sunk costs?
There’s not a single person that has spent significant time on the ground in either of those conflicts that thinks either of them are winnable, but they just continue off of a sense of momentum. And getting back to that lack of accountability, not actually having anything be aligned to an objective, nobody could say what winning looked like when I was in Iraq. Our job was to run out the clock, turn off the lights, and close the door. In Afghanistan, same thing. The endless wars notion is just that these wars will continue to go on, because at the end of the day they’re not our wars to fight. We’ve inserted ourselves into the middle of civil wars; we’ve taken sides. Sometimes those sides switch. In Iraq, we’re backing the Sunnis one time, we’re backing the Shia the other. In Afghanistan, it becomes a shifting set of alliances.
Ultimately I think that erodes something at the core of our national soul that we kind of paper over. That’s something that I’ll have to sit on a therapist’s couch to better understand.
This is from Matt Welch, “Amash’s Successor Peter Meijer: Trump’s Deceptions Are ‘Rankly Unfit’,” Reason, January 8, 2020.