In 2011, 10 years after we invaded Afghanistan in search of al Qeada, there were more than 110,000 US troops deployed in country, in addition to several thousand NATO coillition troops. The build up of troop levels following the election of Barrack Obama signaled to me the continued hold of influence the Pentagon had over the Executive. This surge in troop level seemed, and still seems out of character with the Obama Administration’s more intillectual based foreign policy? This was a strategy familiar to the National Security State: Leak information selectivly to the public via a cooperative media intended to put political pressure on a President to move policy in their direction.
“Like a bandaid over a bullet hole” is how military leaders on the ground, to this day, describe the NATO mission in that country. Let me make this clear for anyone not fully up to speed with Afghanistan or our 15 year current history there: No matter what we do in the short term, when we eventually pull out -as we most certainly will eventually- the country will quickly fall completely back into the hands of the Taliban or some other closely related Islamic group. 90% of the country, that which is beyond Kabul, are not, and will never be, in favor of Democracy as we understand it. I’ve been there, seen it first hand, and am telling you a truth our government seems incapable of admitting.
I try not to use the Vietnam War as an example of related cause, but the similarities are striking. After WWII the French decided to take back ownership of Vietnam only to find a nation with a new sense of independence, leaders, and purpose. Eventually France was humbled despite much assistance by the United States. In the wake of the French defeat, the United States decided to take a crack at installing our own, “suitable” political structure. No matter what we did or wanted to do, Vietnam would have eventually won its autonomy. What happened to finally end our struggle against the unstoppable force of a native people fighting for their independence? Congress turned off the tap, denying Ford’s request for an additional billion dollars to continue the fight.
Eventually Congress will shut off the tap in regards to Afghanistan. Either that, or other matters will force our hand. Afghanistan is not Korea. It’s not West Germany. It’s little more than a burning hole in the ground that we throw our cash into for incineration. We go there to die for a people who’d rather kill us. It’s the definition of a quagmire.
More on Iraq and ISIS later.