Afghan Officials Want Us Out of Afghanistan. So Let’s Get Out.

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The Washington Post reports that there’s already disagreement between American and Afghan officials about exactly what “withdrawal” means:

Top Afghan officials said Obama’s pledge last week to remove U.S. troops from Afghan villages should apply to Special Operations forces charged with training the Afghan Local Police. But U.S. officials said they assumed that the policy would apply only to traditional military operations and would include an exemption for the police trainers, whose mission they see as critical to security throughout Afghanistan.

The dispute underscored just how difficult negotiations over a long-term security partnership could be during the next year. The disagreement, like others before it, centers on the fundamental question of what will keep Afghans safe: U.S. officials say the local police program thwarts insurgents, but Karzai insists that it invites attacks.

I know it’s easy to get too simplistic about this stuff, but in this case I think simplistic is best. This kind of mission just flatly can’t work if the host nation isn’t cooperative. So it really doesn’t matter how critical Americans think the training program is. If Afghan leaders are opposed to it, then it’s time to stop. It’s not worth risking a single American life for a program that has no chance of producing long-term results.

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan has failed. Maybe that’s because of poor planning, or maybe it never had a chance of working regardless. At this point it no longer matters except as grist for lessons learned. It’s time to get out.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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