Why America Failed in Afghanistan

Well it’s over. We lost in Afghanistan. The Afghanis decided to continue to cling to their guns and Korans rather than apple pie, democracy, and the American Way.

Our record is now 10-2, which is not bad as far as war records go. Even the Romans lost a few. If there was a playoff for the militaries of the world, we would probably make it in.

But I feel horrible for those who sacrificed so much to see it given away in a little more than week. They thought they were fighting for an ideal, and the last images we now have are people fighting to get on planes to get out of a place we put so much in.

Of course it is not a total loss. Even if we didn’t change a nation, we did get Bin Laden. And that is the positive spin you will hear from the talking heads and politicians. Unfortunately it cost us twenty years and a trillion dollars, not to mention the lives of thousands of men, women, and children. This was no doubt the most expensive manhunt in history.

So what should we think of this defeat? We should be sad, but we shouldn’t be surprised. We thought if we hung around long enough and the Afghanis got a taste of freedom and the American Way, they would almost certainly come around to our way of thinking. After all, who would choose Muslim tyranny over American freedom?

The problem is that that is a false dichotomy. The only real choice is whether one is a slave to sin or a slave to God. Romans 6:16-18. In Afghanistan, because we never allowed missionaries the access they should have been given, we only offered the Afghans the former and not the latter. We tried to change their minds, but we ignored their hearts.

The Greeks couldn’t preserve their democracy in a pagan culture, nor could the pagan Romans keep their republic from ultimately slipping into dictatorship. Successful democracies presuppose successful self-governance, and self-governance is just another term for righteousness. It is no surprise then that the most successful democracies in the world exist in the context of Christian cultures or even waning Christian cultures.

And here is the thing: if we focused on making Christians, we wouldn’t have to worry as much about making governments. Christians have proven pretty successful at sustaining successful governments spanning the spectrum from the most democratic republics to the most absolutist monarchies. The democratic USA, still fairly young as nations go, and the imperial Byzantine Empire, which survived over a 1,100 years, are two great examples.

Maybe there is still time for Iraq, but I suspect the door is closing there too. But more troops are not the answer, unless they are ultimately serving the right King in the right kingdom. GS

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