Having read down through the above, and in the light of lessons supposedly learned from events of the twentieth century, I can only draw the conclusion that the old and oft quoted saying that those who forget the past are condemned to relive it has never been more true.
$15 billion to rebuild Afghanistan - cheap at twice the price.
The reparations forced on Germany at the end of the First World War, combined with the hiving off of parts of Germany to make the countries created (as a result of Woodrow Wilsons 27 points) economically viable, became root causes of the Second World War.
The Marshall Plan introduced to rebuild Europe after the Second World, and the treatment of Germany and Japan on cessation of hostilities, created the prosperity and stability that enabled democracy to weather the storm of the 'Cold War'.
When Russian became embroiled in Afghanistan, America, more than any other nation, with the possible exception of Pakistan, did everything it could to add to the destabilisation of Afghanistan, backing the Taliban faction to the hilt, then dropped the whole issue like a hot potato once the Russians withdrew.
Immediately post 11th September, there was much mention of winning hearts and minds, that this was not a war against Islam, that the Afghani people were not the enemy. Well from some of the extremely short-sighted views expressed above there would apprear to have been a bit of a sea-change to those aforementioned statements.
In 1945, Germany was the front-line of what became the Cold War and it was crucial (from the West's view point) that West Germany be shown to be a fully democratic and commercially successful country, totally rehabilitated into the community of European nations as quickly as possible. That required commitment and total engagement by three of the occupying powers - it was entirely successful. A similar approach is required in Afghanistan, and if it be America's, Britain/the European Union's lot to take the lead in contributing to this then so be it - that's the cost of going to war with a country without actually declaring war on it.
Look at the cost of the campaign so far compared to the projected cost of reconstruction - it must be peanuts. Look at the rewards to be gained ideologically and politically by (the West)ensuring Afghanistan's prosperity and security - the dividend, potentialy is enormous. Like the Marshall Plan, this job simply must be done for the sake of world peace. The war declared on the 11th of September was against world terrorism - think of the propaganda harvest those terrorist groups would reap if America once again just turns it's back and walks away from Afghanistan and the problems of it's people. On the other hand, do what is required and those same groups are left out in the cold - totally marginalised.
That's my tuppence worth, thanks to Mudcat for the opportunity of expressing it.
Best to all,