Our friends at the Center for Security Policy (centerforsecuritypolicy.org) have just released another bombshell publication, Who Lost Afghanistan? which examines how the seemingly successful military campaign to oust the Taliban in response to the attacks of September 11th degenerated into a twenty-year failed campaign, culminating in a disastrous and deadly departure.
As someone who has followed the war in Afghanistan from the beginning, first as a congressional staffer and later as a writer and commentator, I found the book to be an extremely useful resource for its compilation of facts and quotes.
For the layman, trying to understand how America’s 21st century military juggernaut could be driven from Afghanistan by an irregular force inspired by a 7th century ideology using 20th century weapons, the book – particularly the chapters on Islam and its conflict with American values of constitutional liberty – will be an eye opener.
Here’s just one quick excerpt to whet your appetite and encourage you to buy the book:
...Americans tried their best to convey to the Afghans their profound respect for Islam and exhibited absolute horror at the prospect of anyone treating any aspect of it with anything less. Yet this professed respect struck many Afghans as a hypocritical display by unbelievers who claimed they had high regard for Islam even while trying to force Afghans to accept what were viewed as un-Islamic practices...
[In doing so] they undercut the repeated claims that Americans were bringing "freedom" to the Afghans. Did this freedom include the freedom expression, including even the freedom to express contempt for Islam?
The contradiction between the Western and Islamic ideas of freedom, and the place the freedom of speech might ultimately have in a free Afghanistan as George Bush and others envisioned, was never discussed, because the difference between the Western and Islamic views was never even publicly admitted.
We suspect that, for most readers, the most illuminating part of author Robert Spencer’s Who Lost Afghanistan? will be his description of how the American foreign policy establishment’s bipartisan consensus refused to take seriously the theocratic ideology of the Taliban and Al Qaeda or the religious and cultural character of Afghanistan. From inserting Sharia law into Afghanistan’s new constitution to tolerating the bacha bazi culture of sexual exploitation of children, to undermining the freedom of speech rights of American citizens at the behest of Afghan mobs, every decision U.S. leaders made undermined the very reason the U.S. had come to Afghanistan in the first place.
“We saw last year in the horrifically incompetent withdrawal the bloody consequences of two decades of self-deception about the nature of the enemy,” said Center for Security Policy Executive Vice President Tommy Waller, a twenty-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “If U.S. political and military leaders had studied the enemy doctrine to understand what jihadists like the Taliban believe, it would have been a very different outcome. Spencer’s book is the summation of a decades long clarion call that should have been internalized by American policymakers.”
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow. Spencer is the author of 25 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery Publishing), The Truth About Muhammad (Regnery Publishing) and the bestselling The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS (Bombardier Books). Spencer has led seminars on Islam and jihad for the FBI, the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Justice Department’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and the U.S. intelligence community.
Since the Center for Security Policy’s founding in 1988, its team has challenged establishment orthodoxy and refused to sacrifice principles for expedience in Washington. The Center’s work is rooted in the proven concept of Peace Through Strength as applied to the needed 21st Century strategy of America First. Security and freedom depend on a strong America and leaders who will use instruments of national power wisely to keep our nation out of unnecessary wars and to win those we must fight.
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