It should not be axiomatic that if the American people, by a margin of greater than two to one disapprove of a war, than the U.S. should end that war. However, if public opinion runs that strongly against a war, or any foreign policy, the U.S. government should have a clear, compelling and realistic rationale for pursuing that policy. Unfortunately, no such rationale exists for the war in Afghanistan. After more than a decade of war, and despite some significant accomplishments, most notably the killing of Osama Bin Laden, victory in Afghanistan remains poorly defined and elusive.
The latest round of violence in Afghanistan demonstrates the need to continue to withdraw from Afghanistan as quickly as possible. The immediate cause of this upsurge in violence has been the burning of Korans by American troops. President Obama, in a fit of decency, apologized for American actions that could be generously described as insensitive. Obama’s apology was met by attacks from, among others, Newt Gingrich, arguing essentially that the U.S. should never have to apologize for anything. This argument is axiomatically wrong, but it is also very disturbing. Being truly patriotic means loving and caring about your country enough that when those ideals are violated you want your country to act accordingly. Believing you never need to apologize is territory best left to megalomaniacs and bullies, qualities we do not need in an American president.