The seemingly unending war in Afghanistan just got longer. Sources suggest that's because President Donald Trump saw a photo of girls in miniskirts.
We kid you not.
According to The Washington Post, Gen. H.R. McMaster was attempting to convince the president that deploying more troops was the only way to tackle terrorism in Afghanistan when he came up with a brilliant tactic. Why not show Trump a photo of Afghan women in 1972 walking about Kabul in miniskirts?
By showing a black-and-white photo of Westernized Afghan girls from the 1970s to the president, McMaster was able to successfully argue that “Afghanistan was not a hopeless place.” This, The Washington Post adds, may have conveyed to the president that Western norms had existed in the country and that they could make a comeback.
According to former Foreign Policy Adviser Eliot A. Cohen, who served under President George W. Bush, Trump “doesn’t know anything about war or anything about Afghanistan.”
“He has a lot of angry instincts, but nothing more than that. So he is to some extent corralled by McMaster, [Chief of Staff John] Kelly and [Defense Secretary James] Mattis. . . . He is going along with what the generals want,” he said.
And it's because the generals wield so much influence that persuading the president to ramp up U.S. presence in the region was somewhat of an easy task.
Still, even after proposing a plan that would increase the number of troops in the country by the tens of thousands, Trump at first refused the offer.
In a meeting, the president allegedly told his top national security officials that America was losing its war in Afghanistan. He criticized the generals present and asked them "[w]hat does success look like?" And then, even after all the debating, he still couldn't get to a conclusion.
But as soon as McMaster showed the president just how the Afghan society looked before the Soviet invasion, the rise of the Taliban, and then later the U.S. invasion of the country, the president seemed to agree that a “modest” number of troops should be sent in. Despite having budged, many say that his strategy remains just as unclear as it's always been.
While McMaster's brilliant idea of using a photo to persuade the president may have worked, it's downright outrageous that, perhaps, all it took to get the president to say “yes” to more troops for a failed war in Afghanistan was an image of girls in miniskirts.
For Trump, that sounds about right.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria