[above: David Frum]
This week brought the unsurprising news that our war in Afghanistan has long been supported by optimistic claims that were false and known to be false. It is, of course, too late to save the thousands of Americans who have died in Afghanistan or to recover the hundreds of billions—some say trillions—of dollars wasted there. But, perhaps, this latest news will embolden President Trump to follow his instincts and to bring the American troops who are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan home.
The principal objection to a withdrawal has been that it will leave our Afghan allies in the lurch. But I have a solution: the departing American soldiers can be replaced by the neocon pundits who used their influence to push America into a protracted war in the Mideast and who have continued to push for more war in the Mideast, now with Iran. This would not be a voluntary mission—the neocons already declined to volunteer. Rather, they will be conscripted and then parachuted deep into Taliban country to spread democracy personally. The first conscript should be David Frum, who not only wanted us to plunge headlong into Afghanistan and Iraq but branded Iran part of the “Axis of Evil” in the obvious hope that Americans fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan would be followed by Americans fighting and dying in Iran. In the cover article National Review gave Frum to question the patriotism of paleoconservatives, Frum mocked the late Justin Raimondo for writing that the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 “will be hailed as a great success — provided it doesn’t endure much more than a few weeks longer.” It is now 18 years later, and everyone with half a brain knows that Justin Raimondo was right and David Frum was wrong.
Frum should be the first conscript, but he needn’t be the last. As to who the others should be, I leave that to you. As Ko-Ko sings in “The Mikado,” when he is compiling a list of “society offenders who might well be underground and who never would be missed,” “the task of filling up the blanks I’d rather leave to you.”