The last week has been hard for me, and yet I can only imagine what this week has felt like, and what the future will bring, for the people—the peoples—of Afghanistan.
Nearly 20 years after it was launched in the wake of 9/11, the long war in Afghanistan, one of the great cruelties of my generation, has unexpectedly reached its expectedly tragic conclusion.
I am certainly not sad to see it go, but it’s difficult to avoid a profound sense of regret at the error of it all. When I recently spoke with Daniel Ellsberg, he pointed out that neither of us is entirely a pacifist. Dan and I agree, and are on-record agreeing, that certain wars are wrong, but if one can conceive of a “just” war—or at least a less-injust war—there are wrong ways to fight it, and particularly wrong ways to finish it. There are also, come to think of it, wrong ways to begin wars too—namely refusing to declare them.
The war in Afghanistan was not one of those wars—it was not justifiable. It was, is, and forever will be wrong, which means leaving is the right decision.