Originally Posted by Jello
The main reasons we are still in the middle east are for geopolitical reasons. That's it. Your domestic political reasons fall second to the recognition that an allied stable and prosperous Afghanistan is crucial to influence in the middle east and cheap future access to the cornucopia of resources that is Afghanistan.
Um, you can be in the Middle East without being in Afghanistan. As we are.
We don't need to be in Afghanistan to be in the Middle East.
In fact, Afghanistan is tradtionally not considered part of the Middle East. From Wikipedia
Traditional definition of the Middle East
Iraqi Kurdistan (autonomy within Iraq)
Northern Cyprus (not recognized)
State of Palestine (non-member state)
United Arab Emirates
Some people use greater middle east as a term and include Afghanistan, but it is more correctly considered part of Central Asia.
(And the US already has a military presence in Central Asia.
I totally disagree that Afghanistan is crucial and I even more strongly disagree that it will be stable, prosperous or allied with the US in my lifetime.
It's laughable to refer to Afghanistan as a cornucopia of anything other than heroin. It's officially a "least developed country." 40% of the country survives on less than a dollar a day. Yeah, there's a lot minerals in the ground, but have fun getting them out of there because the country is mountainous, landlocked and the culture is extremely warlike and hostile to foreigners and has absolutely no money of its own to invest in infrastructure. Sounds like the exact place I would like to invest.