The United States military embedded itself in Afghanistan in response to the sinister threat of terrorism. Rethink Afghanistan examines this conflict nearly 15 years removed from the attacks of September 11, 2011 which inspired it. In the process, it asks a series of urgent and history-altering questions; primarily, what are the realistic odds of achieving any measure of success in the region, and at what cost?
The film contends that comprehending Afghanistan's complexities and nuances is essential in defining the role of the United States, and their chances of carrying out meaningful operations in the region. The first point of contention rests upon the resiliency of the country to previous invasion attempts. This is evidenced by the failed British infiltration in the 1800s to the thwarted Soviet invasion of the 1980s. According to many of the experts interviewed in the film, the United States could only benefit from a careful examination of these historical pitfalls.
The commitment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan represented a bold move in the war against terror in the Middle East, but most Americans have been ill informed regarding costs, purpose and exit strategy. The film seeks to rectify this deficiency of perception by providing insightful analysis from a team of distinguished interview subjects, including scholars of the Middle East and counter-terrorism consultants. These subjects testify that the current War on Terror incurs up to three or four times the cost of any U.S.-led conflict in history.
But the film reminds us that the war is not only an equation of dollars and cents. The human cost of dead and wounded citizens and soldiers is an even greater source of despair, and has the potential to irrevocably mar the reputation of the United States around the world.
Is such an effort unavoidable in trying to put a stop to the scourge of global terror? Or does just the mere presence of invasive troops only serve as a precursor to greater hostilities in the region? Rethink Afghanistan is a valuable resource for understanding a defining conflict in modern day warfare, and for grasping the ramifications such a conflict may inflict around the world for many years to come.