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Sunk Costs in Iraq and Afghanistan

Summary:
Will Joe Biden have the guts and/or the sense to recognize sunk costs? There’s not a single person that has spent significant time on the ground in either of those conflicts that thinks either of them are winnable, but they just continue off of a sense of momentum. And getting back to that lack of accountability, not actually having anything be aligned to an objective, nobody could say what winning looked like when I was in Iraq. Our job was to run out the clock, turn off the lights, and close the door. In Afghanistan, same thing. The endless wars notion is just that these wars will continue to go on, because at the end of the day they’re not our wars to fight. We’ve inserted ourselves into the middle of civil wars; we’ve taken sides. Sometimes those sides

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Will Joe Biden have the guts and/or the sense to recognize sunk costs?

There’s not a single person that has spent significant time on the ground in either of those conflicts that thinks either of them are winnable, but they just continue off of a sense of momentum. And getting back to that lack of accountability, not actually having anything be aligned to an objective, nobody could say what winning looked like when I was in Iraq. Our job was to run out the clock, turn off the lights, and close the door. In Afghanistan, same thing. The endless wars notion is just that these wars will continue to go on, because at the end of the day they’re not our wars to fight. We’ve inserted ourselves into the middle of civil wars; we’ve taken sides. Sometimes those sides switch. In Iraq, we’re backing the Sunnis one time, we’re backing the Shia the other. In Afghanistan, it becomes a shifting set of alliances.

Ultimately I think that erodes something at the core of our national soul that we kind of paper over. That’s something that I’ll have to sit on a therapist’s couch to better understand.

This is from Matt Welch, “Amash’s Successor Peter Meijer: Trump’s Deceptions Are ‘Rankly Unfit’,” Reason, January 8, 2020.

David Henderson
David R. Henderson (born November 21, 1950) is a Canadian-born American economist and author who moved to the United States in 1972 and became a U.S. citizen in 1986, serving on President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984.[1] A research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution[2] since 1990, he took a teaching position with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 1984, and is now a full professor of economics.[3]

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