Ronald Reagan meeting at the White House with Afghan “freedom fighters”
Well the Emperor Don I has been traveling the world, criticizing our friends, p articularly Russian controlled Germany while his own senior staff sat at the table and visibly cringed. After doing his bit to put the fear of God into our NATO allies he will stop in London for tea with the Queen as tens of thousands will be protesting his presence in the streets. Then on to a chit-chat with Vlad about old times.
Meanwhile the trade war with China, Europe, Canada and Mexico heats up with BMW announcing that it will move some of it’s manufacturing from South Carolina to a factory outside of the U.S. All those folks in Spartanburg who voted for Emperor Don who lose their jobs have no one to blame but themselves. Same goes for those grain and dairy farmers and cheese-heads in Wisconsin who make the cheese that will now de priced higher in China and Canada.
Don’t whine to me. I voted for the other guy – err, woman.
Not to mention we still have a couple of thousand kids sitting in “summer camp” waiting to be reunited with their parents; seems we are very efficient in separating families at the border but not so good at remembering where we sent them.
But today, after a visit to my ophthalmologist this morning (clean bill of eyes) I want to write about Afghanistan. You remember Afghanistan – the 16 year longest running war in American history where thus far absolutely nothing has been accomplished.
That “nothing accomplished” has probably cost us a trillion dollars, with a “t”.
Before becoming Emperor Don I, as a private, rich, white businessman, he was actively hostile to American involvement in Afghanistan, dwelling on the high cost of the lengthy conflict and suggesting there was no way for the United States to succeed. In a 2012 Twitter post, Trump questioned why American forces continued to train Afghans tweeted “Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come hone!” Of course he said that when Obama was President.
Now of course he has changed his tune.
“We are not there to nation build! We are there to kill terrorists!
He has decided to continue the war but will no longer speak of an exit date. After all that is foolish; it lets our enemies know when we plan to leave. We are going to beat them on the field and force them to the negotiating table. Right.
If I recall that policy has failed before.
Herewith a lesson from the history books, still deployed as needed today – a conversation after the negotiations in Paris which ended our war in Vietnam.
Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. (Chief of the U.S. Delegation): “You know you never defeated us on the battlefield”
Colonel Nguyen Don Tu (Chief, North Vietnamese Delegation): ”That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”
— From Summers’ On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War (1982).
Today some 40% plus of Afghanistan is controlled by the Taliban, bombings and political murders occur daily and even Kabul is not safe. Americans can no longer use the road from the Green Zone to the airport for fear of being attacked; they have to take a helicopter.
Massive corruption continues. Pakistan continues to aid Taliban forces and here in American there is no longer a definition of “victory” in Afghanistan let alone an actual one.
Afghanistan has been forgotten. Remember Hamid Karzai and his green cape? Well who is the current President of Afghanistan? Know his name? Bet you don’t.
Two American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan this week. Just think “The casualties were few.” No one seems to know how many troops we have in Afghanistan currently but it certainly exceeds 8,000 plus perhaps another 5,000 NATO forces.
Remember when our forces were commanded by Generals whos names you knew? Stanley McChrystal? David Petraeus?
McChrystal, who had a background in special operations, came in with a mandate to remake the war effort with the help of “surge” troops ordered by Obama. A year into that push, an article in Rolling Stone magazine quoted members of McChrystal’s team making disparaging comments about their commander in chief and other senior administration officials. Obama called McChrystal back to Washington to explain and forced him to resign.
-Petraeus took over the Afghan command to fill the void left by McChrystal’s abrupt departure and agreed to serve for one year. He completed that term and then retired from the military to become CIA director in September 2011. Petraeus resigned as CIA director on Nov. 9 after he had an extramarital affair with his biographer. The affair came out as part of an FBI investigation into suspicious emails between the biographer and another woman.
Now we have “nameless” Generals. Afghanistan has become a place where a three star General who lacks combat command experience can spend 18 months in Kabul and brush up his resume for that 4th star. Wars are a necessary component of effective careerism.
No one seems to know how to “win” yet the war goes on.
Why does the U.S. field the best soldiers and equipment and lose so often?
Interesting question. Perhaps it is because “It’s not our fault!” has replaced “No excuses.”
“The American public is to blame!”
The American public does not support wars like Vietnam or the War on Terror long enough or with enough money. There are too many constraints – let the military “take the gloves off!” These are odd claims considering the massive devastation caused in Vietnam and Iraq and the fantastic costs. The WOT is in its second decade but more blood can be spilt and more money spent. Since more is possible failure is not the fault of the military.
Or failure is due to the President and his senior civilian advisors. This is another excuse which never grows old. It is not the fault of the Army or Marines as institutions, or their Generals or their culture or their methods. It is the fault of the President and his civilians,
“Armies that lose respond to defeat with excuses; armies that win respond to defeat with “no excuses!”
At the Battle of the Kasserine Pass in 1943 American troops suffered a crushing defeat in it’s first encounter with Rommel’s Afrika Corps. Eisenhower responded by sending Major General Lloyd Fredendall home and appointing George Patton to replace him.
When’s the last time you heard of a U.S. combat general being relieved after ineffectiveness in the field while leading troops in battle?
“No excuses” is the motto of armies that win. It is possible that this attitude has been lost and perhaps that is why we don’t win anymore. We keep trying what other nations have tried against insurgencies for generations and we continue to fail.
Soviet MIGs at Kandahar – 1980
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan during Jimmie Carter’s administration brought overwhelming initial victory, a quick occupation of all of the major urban areas in the country and the instillation of local communists to head the new Socialist Republic of Afghanistan.
In the urban areas women were brought out of their houses, educated, allowed to work and show their faces. Men could get shaves if they wished. Movie theaters were opened where women could sit with men.
Feudalism was officially abolished and vast estates were broken up in a land reform program. Stoning of women was officially banned.
But the government had no religion – the atheist cities surrounded by a sea of Islam.
And so the mujahedeen, the Taliban began guerilla war against the Soviet occupiers, supported by the United States. The media at the time referred to the Taliban as “the students,” kind of like young kids in the sixties fighting for “freedom” and democracy. What a joke.
And so began ten years of bloody conflict with atrocities on both sides until the USSR finally decided it was time to leave.
We have learned nothing.