During the Cold War, it was often the complaint of leftists at the time that the United States was the aggressor towards the Soviet Union. That if the United States would relent on its arm’s race and give peace a chance, the Soviets would have done likewise. History proves otherwise as the USSR collapsed. During the War on Terror, this same effeminate mentality reared its head on the issue of drone strikes. The argument that killing terrorists with collateral damage would result in the recruitment of more terrorists is a lie that permeates the military and civilian population alike. This Hydra lie that killing one terrorist creates two more both ignores human nature and the convictions of the enemy.
To start with human nature, most humans are sheep. They will roll over with the prevailing wind. The American Revolution was fought with limited support. Indeed it is always the vocal and sometimes violent minority that dominates public arena. The history of the Islamic State shows that ranks swell when a side is winning or has momentum. During the height of the Islamic State, Muslims were leaving Western European or otherwise more affluent nations than Syria to join the ranks of ISIS. But when the Islamic State was in full retreat this phenomenon grinded to a halt. The demise of the Islamic State in the Syrian Civil War bares many similarities to the War in Afghanistan with opposing outcomes.
In Syria, the city of Aleppo was liberated from jihadist after a concentrated bombing campaign on medical facilities. With dwindling supplies, the city was forced to surrender. The atrocities of war led to a swifter outcome and relative peace, as the Syrian jihadists are largely relegated to the northwest Idlib province.
Syria is a stunning counterexample to Afghanistan. Both have a largely secular government, as the Syrian Civil War was waged to topple Assad to put in place an Islamic government. In Afghanistan, America overthrew an Islamic government to put in place a secular government. But instead of an autocratic regime, it was a democratic one. An Islamic society’s fatalism gives the people there no frame of reference for free will or self-governance. This society lacked the prerequisites necessary to implement an American form of government. The folly of neoconservatism was that American exceptionalism can be parted from the Christianity that made America exceptional in the first place.
America refused to act on an understanding of human nature in Afghanistan. Instead, it tried to terraform Afghanistan with a twenty year long hearts and minds campaign. America gave the Afghanis democracy and built them a country that was improved for when the Taliban took over once more. Yet in an effort to win the hearts and minds of the Afghanis, America imported secularism gave the Afghanis no fighting chance against Islamism. Essentially Afghanistan was divided between secularist and Islamist. The problem is secularism or lukewarm Islam isn’t worth dying for. And so, Afghanistan folded.
I would also argue that it was not drone strikes that bolstered the Taliban ranks but winning and American licentiousness. The growing sense of the American withdrawal had to swell the Taliban numbers as Muslims previously cautious liked the odds of the cause better with America’s absence. Moreover, America’s homosexual agenda being on display in Afghanistan was the recruitment propaganda the Taliban needed to enrage Muslims
The month of June is recognized as (LGBTI) Pride Month. The United States respects the dignity & equality of LGBTI people & celebrates their contributions to the society. We remain committed to supporting civil rights of minorities, including LGBTI persons. #Pride2021 #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/qgKPQAPaOY— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) June 2, 2021
American decadence and secularism was no match for a pagan religion built on militarism. Alternatively, the secular Syrian government was largely able to defeat Al-Qaeda offshoots and the Islamic State with a dictator and a better understanding of human nature.