Safeguarding Afghanis More Important Than American Lives?

Ayn Rand Center's picture
Submitted by Ayn Rand Center on Wed, 2009-08-12 21:51

Safeguarding Afghanis More Important Than American Lives?

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 12, 2009--According to the latest reports, the United States suffered a six-fold increase in casualties in the war in Afghanistan last month, versus the same time a year ago.

The Wall Street Journal, in a story earlier this week, declared the Taliban are now winning the war. The Wall Street Journal noted that the American strategy in Afghanistan “puts a premium on safeguarding the Afghan population rather than hunting down militants.” This is why we’re losing the war, and we at the Ayn Rand Center have been saying it for seven years.

In 2006 Elan Journo, a fellow with the Ayn Rand Center, wrote: “The failure in Afghanistan is a result of Washington’s foreign policy. Despite lip service to the goal of protecting America's safety, the ‘war on terror’ has been waged in compliance with the prevailing moral premise that self-interest is evil and self-sacrifice a virtue. Instead of trouncing the enemy for the sake of protecting American lives, our leaders have sacrificed our self-defense for the sake of serving the whims of Afghans.”

In 2004 Mr. Journo wrote about the Iraq war: “Though Washington may be blinded by the longing to buy the love of Iraqis, our service men know all too well that (as one put it): ‘When you go to fight, it’s time to shoot--not to make friends with people.’ In its might and courage our military is unequaled; it is the moral responsibility of Washington to issue battle plans that will properly ‘shock and awe’ the enemy. Eschewing self-interest in the name of compassion is immoral. The result is self-destruction.”

In 2002 ARC senior fellow Dr. Onkar Ghate wrote: “How then goes the war? An objective answer must be: badly. But our cause is not yet lost. We lack not the wealth nor the skilled military necessary to defeat the enemy, only the ideas and the will. If we articulate and practice a rational foreign policy, one actually premised on America’s self-interest, we will prevail. Nothing more is needed to achieve victory than to replace the pragmatism and self-sacrifice now dictating America’s actions with the principles of reason and rational self-interest; nothing less will do.”

Will our government listen?


Mr. Journo is a fellow with the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, and editor and chief contributor of the forthcoming book Winning the Unwinnable War. He specializes in foreign policy and the Middle East. His writings have appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Sun-Times, and the Globe and Mail of Canada. He is also a contributing writer for The Objective Standard, a quarterly journal of culture and politics. Mr. Journo has been a guest on numerous nationally syndicated radio programs.

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For more information on Objectivism’s unique point of view, go to ARC’s Web site. The Ayn Rand Center promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.



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Robert's picture

While I share Mr Journo's sentiments about the rules of engagement. I also note that this month saw the start of the offensive for which the Afghanistan troop surge was enacted. My point is that the beginning of every offensive sees a spike in casualties. The reason for the 6-fold increase is that the Coalition was not rooting the bastards out of the country prior to this.

Prior to this, the Coalition was too weak to take and hold ground from the Taliban. I would say that the Coalition is still too weak if Michael Yon's reports (which include observations that the UK has a lack of helicopters amongst other things) are accurate.

As for not making friends. I'm afraid that Mr Journo's tactical advice runs contrary to that of Gen. Petraeus, that theater's CinC. He is a man who hopes to implement the tactics that proved successful in Iraq. Petraeus was proven right previously. How about we give him a fair shake and let this current surge play out before laying into him.

Jurno is probably right that the strategy of protecting civilians is being applied too strictly to the detriment of the troops. Michael Yon's reports say as much. But I hardly think that the situation would be helped if the entire country was designated as a free-fire zone and civilians could be killed willy-nilly without sanction. I hasten to add that I don't think that that is what Journo wants either. But it'd be nice if he said so explicitly. If he thinks that cross border raids into Pakistan and Iran, along with targeted assassinations of tribal chiefs and criminal gang lords would help, he should say so. I personally think that these tactics couldn't hurt. Provided, that is, that they were kept covert.

If he and the ARI want a full on invasion of Iran and Pakistan, then the first thing they are going to have to address is the fact that the American people would not support that plan.

Well ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Sandi, I thank you. I guess you're aware that my "stand against day and night" was in part a stand against local Hseikovians who went along with the fatwa and lied about doing so.

There is no integrity, least of all where I once thought it was. Steven Mallory and Gail Wynand were right. But we press on.

The orthodoxy still bans Reisman's works, and still says headbanging caterwauling can't be judged objectively. Note the silence of the orthodoxy's local stooges on these matters. The heterodoxy still won't read PARC and embraces moral equivalency.

Either is reason in action? I don't think so.

SOLO is reason in action. Always has been, always will be.

Lie in it they must

Sandi's picture

I noted this disparity (you did highlight it) and I too (eek, had the temerity to disagree with Dr. Peikoff; be it on not so vocal level as Linz): I the (fledgling objectivist) am a small stand against the tide; however, as a well seasoned objectivist of your calibre Linz ; your stand is not only against the tide, it is a stand against day and night and a complete credit to you.

Indeed your steadfastness and resolution to reason, are classic examples to why I value and respect you so greatly.

Long ago ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Stalin said, "Insert the bayonet. If you encounter steel, withdraw. If you encounter mush, proceed." The Taleban know Obama is mush. They are proceeding.

Where I part company with the orthodoxy, including Mr. Journo, is their lockstep agreement with Leonard Peikoff in 2006 to vote Dem-scum across the board and their lock-step agreement with him in 2008 not to vote at all (a course he condemned in 2006). Randroids played their part in the election of Obama-scum; having made their bed, they ought to lie in it.

I am not the queen of definition but here goes.

Sandi's picture

Disarming America is an easy job when you send the (problem) fighting fit ideological/republican youths out of the country to fight a "terror" (a non entity), with one arm tied behind their backs; which in turn sees them fall like skittles in a bowling alley. It is the president who is bowling the ball but blames the outcome of his strike as coming from the "undefined" (non entity) enemy.

I have to say what is on my mind

Sandi's picture

The number of deaths are increasing "Six fold"! To me this is not only absolutely alarming, it rings a cacophony of bells of which my reasoning can not ignore.

To cut to the chase, a high proportion of troops could be classified as Republican; stationed outside of America; fighting a war of which an identity can not be defined; they are deemed expendable; whilst asking permission to engage in the undefined enemy; Meanwhile Obama is busy disarming America and importing foreign troops onto American soil to deal with a "real/perceived" problem of drug wars emanating from South America; which are apparently costing the lives of American civilians and he refuses to close the border.

I do not sit well with this knowledge, it disturbs me GREATLY.

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