I see the generals have gotten to yet another president….generals always want more troops and usually the get what they want….and Afghanistan is NO different……
The American people don’t like long wars with uncertain outcomes—and never have. That was true in 1953, when the U.S. accepted a stalemate and armistice with the Chinese-backed North Koreans, and it was true again in 1975, when the U.S. suffered an ignominious defeat and 58,000 dead at the hands of pajama-clad guerrillas and the North Vietnamese army. “Never fight a land war in Asia,” General Douglas MacArthur famously said, and for good reason: in both Korea and Vietnam, the enemy could be endlessly supplied and reinforced.
The solution, in both cases, was to either widen the war or leave. In Korea, MacArthur proposed expanding the war by taking on Chinese military sanctuaries in China (which got him fired), while in Vietnam, Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia and mined North Vietnam’s harbors, an expansion of the war that sparked a genocide and merely postponed the inevitable. America’s adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have been as unsatisfying. A troop surge retrieved America’s position in Iraq, though most military officers now view Baghdad as “a suburb of Tehran” (as a currently serving Army officer phrased it), while the U.S. has spent over $800 billion on a Kabul government whose writ extends to sixty percent of the country—or less.
Even the conservatives can see the fruitless attempt at some form of nation building…..even Red State (a site I seldom visit has seen just how dumb this war has become…..even these guys are seeing Afghanistan turning into yet another Vietnam…..a worthless waste of time and treasure……
In 1999, two years before America’s longest war would begin in Afghanistan, Lewis Sorley published a seminal work titled A Better War about America’s last longest war that raged in the 1960s and 70s. The subtitle of this great work serves as the thesis of the book and says it all: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam. Effectively beginning when the 88th Congress enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August, 1964, which authorized Lyndon Johnson to use military force in Southeast Asia, and continuing to the end of direct military involvement in 1973 with the fall of Saigon, the Vietnam War cost over 55,000 American lives over the course of roughly 9 years.
The ultimate loss of the Vietnam War after the expense of so much blood and treasure serves as a cautionary tale for what we are now witnessing in Afghanistan.
But to familiarize yourself more with this situation if you have not been paying attention…..always view a situation from both sides anything else is disingenuous….