How many years? What percent of Americans could tell you how many years their country has been involved in a conflict they initiated by invading Afghanistan? Or, sadly, even where is Afghanistan.... It's been 8, making it the longest continous conflict our country has ever engaged in.
For the record, strictly speaking, Michael Steele is a total ass. Barack Obama did not initiate or choose to invade Afghanistan. But, in a sense, Steele raised a point, in the classic sense of thow a truth can be revealed by a gaffe in the worst way possible.
When he said that Afghanistan was "the graveyard of empires" he was correct in that Afghanistan went rather badly for the Russians. Of course, he didn't make any reference to the assistance of the American CIA in financing the Mujahidine Resistance with the brilliant opium poppy heroin export finance scheme, but historically, he was correct. Afghanistan was a disaster for the British as well and could very well another nail in the coffin of the decline of the American Empire.
So, the nascent Peacenik, Steele, in referring to Obama could be considered correct because, Obama has chosen to remain in Afghanistan. Early on, Obama could have done a review of the situation and realized that there is almost no Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, so we won...our presence in Afghanistan is seriously destabilizing Pakistan, which is far more important to US strategic interests than Afghanistan. If Al Qaeda has some camps set up in Afghanistan, we can bomb them. They will start camps in any failed state in the region and we can't occupy them all, so let's go home."
But he didn't. My point is that staying in Afghanistan was choice and Obama chose to stay. Not staying in Afghanistan will not create an existential threat to the US. But Steele is the leader of the republican Party, so he isn't allowed to say things that make sense and contradict Republican warmongering. He made a gaffe which might finally cost him his job.
Now here's another truth that Steele didn't tell. Obama has to stay in Afghanistan because war spending is one of the only reliable forms of stimulus he has. The economy is in bad shape, and it needs that stimulus. Since he can't get a new large stimulus through Congress that means he MUST keep the Afghan war going if he doesn't want an economic disaster, which would then lead to an electoral disaster.
This is the sad truth of America: the only acceptable form of Keynesian spending is military Keynesianism. Instead of hiring tens of thousands of teachers, building a high speed rail network across the country, refitting every building to be energy efficient and doing a massive solar and wind build-out to reduce dependence on oil, well, the US would rather destroy Afghans and Pakistanis with their rockets red glare.
The Rockets Red Glare is what's keeping the American economy from going under entirely. And so, even if it's the wrong thing to do, we are blinded by it, even if it's the graveyard of America's Empire, we are blinded by it, the war will continue.