I don't have a lot of commentary to offer on Afghanistan. I was there, I served, and I came home. Mine is the typical Air Force Fobbit story: I worked on stuff, had a few harrowing convoy experiences, and found myself in the random rocket attack, one of which hit the sewer dump and also blew up two British Harriers at Kandahar. I even managed to sleep through a few...
People who have spent a substantial amount of time in the field are calling BS on the official government story. Afghanistan is a hopeless cause. The latest damning report from the field comes from Lt Col Daniel Davis, who just got back from a one-year deployment.
"That murder took place within view of the U.S. base, a post nominally responsible for the security of an area of hundreds of square kilometers."There's more...
I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people. Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn’t want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government.
Through the interpreter, I asked the police captain where the attack had originated, and he pointed to the side of a nearby mountain.
“What are your normal procedures in situations like these?” I asked. “Do you form up a squad and go after them? Do you periodically send out harassing patrols? What do you do?”
As the interpreter conveyed my questions, the captain’s head wheeled around, looking first at the interpreter and turning to me with an incredulous expression. Then he laughed.
“No! We don’t go after them,” he said. “That would be dangerous!”
According to the cavalry troopers, the Afghan policemen rarely leave the cover of the checkpoints. In that part of the province, the Taliban literally run free.
No, it's not a Hollywood farce, put on for our entertainment. Karzai and the Taliban are playing us for fools as they rob us blind. Time to leave them to their own devices.
I am not a warrior, but I served with quite a few. I can tell you that leaving that God-forsaken place to whatever fate awaits it would not be a betrayal to anyone who died or was wounded there. We kicked the Taliban’s ass and then we gave the benighted inhabitants a chance to improve their lot. They failed. Our fighting forces, especially the Army and the Marines, fought like the heroic lions they are. Nothing to be ashamed of. We win, they lose. Our forces return to the greatest country in the world, and they remain stuck in the toilet we tried to pull them out of.
James Traub concludes US Can Live with an Afghan Loss
And it's true. Despite the heroic efforts of our warriors, Afghanistan will continue to be a 6th century Hobbesean world ruled by ignorance and the sword. No better and no worse than before. China, Pakistan and Russia will feel the negative consequences, as will the Taliban, who has been feasting off of our largess all the past years.
We, on the other hand, will be materially better off. Richer because we no longer dump billions down that South Asia toilet, strategically smarter, and militarily stronger for the experience.
Having said what I said earlier, I have to admit that Afghanistan has haunted me, less and less as time goes by, but I was shocked to see how many posts I had written about the graveyard of empires where I used to live...