Someone asked Cassy why we are still in Afghanistan.
You can agree or disagree whether or not it is or will end up being effective, but there is a reason. Just as there was a reason (outside of "blood for oil" and making Dick Cheney's friends rich -- the meme on the Left) for re-opening the Iraq war.
I've said all of this before, but here it is, in a nutshell:
When the Russians invaded Afghanistan during the Cold War, we helped the Afghans fight the Ruskies. When the Ruskies finally gave up and pulled out, we dropped Afghanistan like a hot potato. In the power vaccuum that followed, a bunch of people with a lot of military training and experience, many of whom were fundamentalist Muslims filled that vacuum to bring order from chaos. They stopped the general lawlessnes, only to impose their own draconian law, like lopping off hands and stoning people to death for what would seem to us as relatively innocuous infractions -- at least in proportion to the punishment.
One of the guys who we trained in that war was this guy named Osama Bin Laden. He was a Saudi who eventually became ticked off at the U.S. because we had troops with their dirty infidel feet stationed in Saudi Arabia after the big pretty much unanimous U.N. vote to kick Iraq out of Kuwait in the 1991 Desert Storm operation. Subsequently, our troops stayed there to enforce the U.N. "No-Fly" Zone in Iraq to try to rein in Saddam's brutal and often genocidal attacks on his internal enemies.
So in 1993 Bin Laden decided to teach the Great Satan a lesson by attempting to drop the World Trade Center in New York by blowing up what was believed to be a critical support in the parking garage below.
It killed several people, but ultimately failed.
Still the No Fly Zone in Iraq continued along with Infidel feet on holy Saudi soil, which stuck in Bin Laden's craw. After our meager responses to his repeated attacks, he found a home in the relatively lawless Afghanistan & the sympathetic Taliban. Ever-more convinced that the U.S. was a "paper tiger" and all that was needed was to kill a sufficient number of Americans and we'd leave in defeat as we had in Mogadishu and Lebanon, he pulled of a spectacularly evil sneak attack on U.S. Civilians on September 11, 2001.
You might notice that Iraq, indeed, had quite a bit to do with all of this if not in provable outright support for Bin Laden -- certainly in the situation that was set up by and after the 1991 war and the reaction of Al Queda's leader.
Now to fix all of this, we could have just pulled out of Iraq and left Saudi Arabia. But what would that have done? It would have proven Bin Laden right and encouraged Al Queda and perhaps other enemies of America to come kick some more tail. Perhaps even over here. So that was out. Next best thing? Finish the 1991 war -- which was technically and in fact tactically never finished and THEN pull out. This would send a different message.
Still, first things first, we went to Afghanistan to let Bin Laden and Al Queda know in no uncertain terms that this tiger has claws of steel and lasers for eyes and it is best not to piss him off.
But shortly after that, knowing the threat Saddam had previously posed and his lack of cooperation (that's putting it nicely) ... his outright obstruction of attempts to verify that he was complying with the terms of the cease-fire (which he also continually broke by, you know, firing). We had sat on our collective hands while we knew Bin Laden was plotting against us with passports and airline tickets, so we figured not only did we need to end the 1991 war in Iraq, we should also check Saddam against plotting against us with far more powerful means. We decided to take him at his word rather than dismiss him and wait and see.
Turns out he no longer had the weapons, but it really doesn't matter. Really angry letters from the U.N. weren't keeping him in compliance, and part of that compliance was to prove he did destroy them -- which he refused to do and blocked attempts to verify it.
Meantime, after the Taliban was toppled in Afghanistan, an attempt is being made to keep from leaving it as the same kind of power vacuum we left it in after the Russians left. It was fertile soil for sheltering violent extremists bent on destroying western civilization before, and it turns out that they CAN, in fact, be dangerous.