Best Defense

A comment I liked in the Afghan debate the other day got me to daydreaming

The other day, “Ekofisk,” who I think is new to the site (at least in commenting), wrote, “Why didn’t we pull out in 2002 or 2003, following the successful foray against the Taliban (again, OBL should have been killed at Tora Bora), and come back with JSOC interdiction again if the situation warranted?” This made ...

dream

The other day, “Ekofisk,” who I think is new to the site (at least in commenting), wrote, “Why didn’t we pull out in 2002 or 2003, following the successful foray against the Taliban (again, OBL should have been killed at Tora Bora), and come back with JSOC interdiction again if the situation warranted?”

This made me think. What if this happened?:

–In 2001, we invaded Afghanistan.

–In 2001 we blocked al Qaeda’s exit into Pakistan and killed bin Laden?

–And then in 2002 we left Afghanistan, with Ekofisk’s proviso that we had JSOC on tap to go back as needed.

–And (a biggie) we didn’t invade Iraq in 2003?

I wonder what the Middle East would look like now. On the upside, the United States would be a much more powerful nation. Saddam Hussein likely would be dead or degraded in power, just by aging.

Flickr.com/Hartwig HKD

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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