16 Years Later – the Forever War Rages On

Anthony Alfidi
Show Date
September 6, 2017
Foreign Policy

What President Bush began, and President Obama failed to end, Trump now proposes to extend. The War in Afghanistan is the single longest military conflict in U.S. history – just beating out the 14-year-long Morro Rebellion – leading some to dub it “the Forever War.” Generals who were initially optimistic supporters of nation-building have lowered their expectations, and anticipate decades of involvement just to keep dangerous groups within the region at bay. The rationale for increasing troop presence is that more force will lead to a decisive victory. But repeating the claim that we are going to “win bigly” does not suggest a real strategy that distinguishes Trump’s policy from his two unsuccessful predecessors. Anthony Alfidi is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve who has been to Afghanistan in uniform. He joins Bob in studio this Sunday to offer his perspective on the prospects for an eventual troop withdrawal. The country’s problems go beyond its reputation as a terrorist breeding ground. It has one of the most corrupt governments in the world, high rates of illiteracy (especially among women), and other barriers to effective political and economic development. It seems reasonable to wonder whether U.S. drone strikes and drug raids are helping. Anthony does, however, think there is hope in the form of the rising generation, which is increasingly educated. Tune in to hear how the idea of generational cycles and the “fourth turning” could signal a positive resurgence for Afghanistan.