Andrew McCarthy: Afghanistan and the pre-9/11 mindset

In the post below, Scott presents Andrew McCarthy’s discussion of a federal judge’s decision invalidating the Terrorist Screening Database. McCarthy sees the decision as part of “the turn to a pre-9/11 mindset” in America.

McCarthy also perceives the turn to that mindset in the Trump administration’s efforts to reach a “peace” agreement with the Taliban. He discusses these efforts in the same column from which Scott quotes.

Here is what McCarthy says about Afghanistan, from whence the 9/11 attacks originated:

[I]n Afghanistan, the Taliban have greeted the announcement of a near-term U.S. withdrawal not with reciprocal toasts to peace in our time, but with a series of terrorist attacks. The latest (at least as this is written) was on Thursday, killing an American soldier along with a Romanian soldier from our allied forces, as well as eight others.

See, what our government frames as “peace” talks the Taliban are portraying as surrender. They are attacking because they want Afghans to believe they are driving the superpower out in humiliating defeat, just as their mujahideen forebearers drove out the Red Army, hastening the Soviet empire’s collapse.

This week, we learned that former defense secretary James Mattis quit Donald Trump’s administration because, he told the president, he refused to be the Pentagon chief who lost to ISIS in Syria. So far, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declined to sign off on the “peace” deal negotiated by the administration’s emissary, Zalmay Khalilzad. Obviously, he doesn’t want to be remembered as the foreign-policy chief for an American government that lost to the Taliban.

In the negotiations, the Taliban are insisting that the Trump administration refer to them as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. That was what their regime was called when it imposed sharia governance on the country from 1996 through late 2001. Those were the years when they gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda, which proceeded to execute mass-murder attacks on American diplomatic, military, political, and economic targets. These culminated, 18 years ago, in 9/11.

As this week reminds us, the Taliban still fights shoulder-to-shoulder with al-Qaeda to kill Americans. When our troops vacate Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate will be reestablished, the U.S.-backed government will be dismantled, Afghans who allied with the United States will be purged, and al-Qaeda will set up shop again. It will enjoy a status similar to that of Hezbollah in Lebanon: a quasi-government armed force whose main focus is the global jihad.

Its main target is still America.

In 2019, you can declare you’re in a pre-9/11 world. Just like you can declare a war is over because you got tired of fighting. Just like you can declare the aviation precautions are overkill because you’d like them to be. Doesn’t make it so.

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