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Afghanistan is not the first painful U.S. experience with withdrawing from a troubled Middle Eastern state. Similar involvement with jihadist violence in Beirut, Lebanon, during the Ronald Regan administration in the 1980s precipitated a hasty pullout in just under half a year. In his memoirs, Reagan noted that the "irrationality of Middle Eastern politics" had been the nail in the coffin for America's intervention in the region. More than 30 years later, our political leaders are struggling over how best to withdraw from Afghanistan, leading to this week's dire situation in the war-torn country.
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