Blissfully ignorant and happy to stay that way
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
When a country has chosen to isolate itself from the remainder of the world in a Luddite fashion (taken to the "nth" degree) and huddle together in tribes while choosing to live in abject squaller as their ancestors did in the seventh and eighth centuries, plus perceive any offering to help them advance into a modern age as an insult to them and their god of choice, then any one, any country, attempting to help will ultimately find their efforts are utter failures and the people to whom they have offered assistance will return their magnanimous offers with out and out hatred and rage.
Such is the case with the US and Afghanistan today.
The people and the rulers of Afghanistan have shown us they are quite content living their savage, primitive, ignorant, corrupt lives, as the cesspool of the world. Fine. Let them. Afghanistan isn't worth the life of a single American soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman.
It was my understanding, and I believe the understanding of the majority of Americans, that US military forces went into Afghanistan to destroy terrorist training camps, kill as many terrorists AS POSSIBLE, hopefully catch or kill Bin Laden and ... come home.
That didn't happen.
Things called "mission creep" and ROE or "rules of engagement" prolonged and changed the US military's mission in Afghanistan until neither the Afghanis nor the Americans understood what was going on in that hell hole of a country.
American troops have been in that sludge pit for over ten years now. Victory is nowhere in sight. In fact, the entire Pentagon would be hard pressed to define what victory would even look like in Afghanistan.
Many decades ago, while in the US Army, I was taught to kill the enemy. Not a single one of my trainers, not a single one of the cadre entrusted with turning me and my fellow recruits into soldiers said a cussed thing about "collateral damage." Not ONE! We were taught to do one thing and that was ... to kill the enemy.
There were no lawyers in the in the battle planning sessions. What there were ... were soldiers taught to ... KILL THE ENEMY, period.
Then came Vietnam -- and President Lyndon Johnson and President Richard Nixon, both, decided neither would go down in the history books as the first American President to lose a war. Added to the mix, the newly imported European philosophy called POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and we had a battle plan for failure in Vietnam.
Unfortunately, our leaders didn't learn a darned thing from the Vietnam experience. They continue to allow political correctness and lawyers to "advise" on war fighting missions and battles -- and even wars -- and we have not won a "WAR" since.
No, I do not consider the first Iraq invasion a real war. It was more a prolonged battle, which lasted a few days. Of course, I side with those of the opinion that had we gone on to Baghdad -- THEN --and took out Saddam Hussein THEN -- we would not have had to go back to Iraq ten years later for a second round that accomplished little short of killing Hussein.
I can remember a time when the American military was taught to war-fight much as our Special Forces are today. That may be because we did not have Special Forces troops then. But the point is -- maybe we ought to train ALL American fighting men to conduct warfare at the level our Green Berets, Delta Force, SEALS and other Special Operators do. (I am referring to their focus, skill, and intensity in combat.) Problem is,of course, unless the civilian commanders of the US Military allow them to use those skills to actually win wars, we STILL will not see victory again.
What a shame!
That brings me full circle back to the Afghanistan problem.
My friend, Alan Caruba, pointed out in a recent commentary that even Alexander the Great found Afghanistan just as screwed up as it is today and just as hard a nut to crack. (You may recall that Genghis Khan had the same problem with a place we know today as Vietnam. In fact he wrote it off as "unconquerable.") How little we learn from history -- and yes, it DOES repeat itself. Different actors, different centuries, same ending to the play.
I ask you to consider if General Douglas MacArthur or General George Patton were commanding the American forces in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan's leader, Hamid Karzai, publicly defied their orders and made "DEMANDS" as he consistently does the current American commander's orders. How long do you think Mr. Karzai would be President of Afghanistan? Better yet -- how long do you think there would BE a President of Afghanistan?
My, how times do change. I'd remind you -- we haven't actually WON a war since the Second World War. Wonder why???
Unless the United States is prepared to commit genocide in Afghanistan, there is simple no way to win a "war" there. If we stay another ten years, we will be in no better position, militarily, than we are today.
So far as democracy in Afghanistan --- the Afghanis are simple not capable of living in a democratic society. It cannot be forced on them. They have to want it. Clearly, they do not.
Conclusion: Stop pouring American blood and treasure into an open septic tank. JUST STOP. Bring our military out so they can prepare for the coming war with Iran.
We should turn our backs and shake Afghanistan's dust off our boots -- and never look back.
Finally, will someone please tell our Presidents to stop giving aid and comfort to our enemies by telling them, months in advance, when American troops will be leaving their country? Even the dumbest of hill tribesmen understands that all he has to do is conserve his troops and supplies and wait 'til the Americans leave to resume his war. This is elementary stuff -- and yet -- the civilian leader(s) of the US military cannot grasp this simple, simple, fact.
J. D. Longstreet