In the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden, I found myself agreeing with Charles Krauthammer that this was a global game-changer for American greatness.
It was a gutsy and courageous decision by President Obama, brilliantly executed by the Navy SEALs and all the intelligence and support behind them.As Krauthammer put it, after the tough slogs in Iraq and Afghanistan, this amounts to the restoration of unquestioned U.S. military dominance.
America has not slipped, nor has our military reach and power. But now I want to ask a more difficult question.
With the killing of Osama, is the Afghan mission complete?
The original post-9/11 goal was to kill bin Laden and wipe out al-Qaida. Now that we've killed bin Laden and dismantled so much of al-Qaida, do we really need to trudge through an even longer war in Afghanistan?
Ayman Al-Zawahiri is in Pakistan. Perhaps the SEALs can dismantle him. Anwar Al-Awlaki is in Yemen, and perhaps al-Qaida can be dismantled there.
But regarding the broader war in Afghanistan, I was taken by a quote from Rep. Peter King on National Review Online. He said, "The enemy is now more of a threat from within than it is from overseas."
I am no military or foreign-policy expert. But I do know the cost of supporting a corrupt regime like Hamid Karzai's in terms of blood and treasure.
The cost is steep.
I speak here as a hawk, not a dove.
Larry Kudlow: Are We Done in Afghanistan?
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Bob Beauprez: Energy Tax Break Debate
Michelle Singletary: A Budget Cut Too Deep
David Malpass: The Bond Squeeze
John Ransom: Scary Pictures
In dollar terms, the cost of the Afghan war is roughly $450 billion today, and according to Congressional Budget Office projections, it is scheduled to rise by perhaps another $500 billion.
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