On Sunday, the War in Afghanistan topped all other conflicts in American history to become our longest war (assuming, of course, you don’t count all the years of uneasy ceasefire in Korea). Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida whose ideas on the Fed and foreign policy tend to be as good as his domestic policy is bad, writes about this landmark in the Huffington Post:
The war in Afghanistan is over eight years old. And we’re sending in more troops. We’re not getting out. We getting deeper in. Would you like to know why? It’s not hard to find the answers. Just read the transcript of Osama Bin Laden’s 2004 speech – right here.
Bin Laden’s strategy was — and is — painfully simple: to repeat his victory in Afghanistan against Russia, by driving us into bankruptcy….It turns out that Bin Laden has a keen grasp of the federal budget: “As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.” ….
And at all times, Bin Laden’s essential strategy has remained the same. Not, as so many think, to launch more attacks on American soil, but rather to make us destroy ourselves: “we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy . . . .”
Listen to Bin Laden summing up his strategy: “the real loser is … you. It is the American people and their economy . . . .”
UPDATE: Arguably the Vietnam War was still longer than Afghanistan? It depends on how you date the older conflict: Eisenhower sent advisors over as early as 1955, and the first American death is dated to 1957. Using either of those dates would easily keep Vietnam in first place. But does it matter how we count?
Of course, the answer to this question says more about how we view the Vietnam War than it really does about Afghanistan and, in the end, whether Afghanistan is now the longest war, or still only our second-longest war, doesn’t really matter in the end. We’ve still got the same strategic problems there that we had yesterday, so slapping a new label on the war isn’t really all that important.