Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I differed with a friend who said I was wrong to support an invasion of Afghanistan to root out al-Qaeda and punish the Taliban. I said the United States had no choice but to make the terrorists and their Afghan hosts pay for what they had done. I insisted I was right. That, amazingly, was almost 16 years ago. I never expected to be right for so long.
Afghanistan has become the war without end. The United States cannot win it and cannot afford to lose it. The country consumes American wealth and lives. More than 2,300 American soldiers have died there. Some $828 billion has been spent there. Generals who once commanded there are deep into their retirement, and soldiers who fought there as youths are approaching middle age.