The war in Afghanistan has been raging for 17 years and I have been tracking the conflict for the whole time…..by tracking I mean that I have been watching how Americans react to the war and to the news about the war.
Americans, as a whole, NO longer care about this war…..the military families that it has an impact on are the only caring group anymore. We are celebrating 17 years of a war that means nothing anymore….
The absurd hopelessness was the worst part. No, it wasn’t the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) blowing limbs off my boys, or the well-aimed gunshot wounds suffered by others; it wasn’t even the horror of ordering the deaths of other (“enemy”) human beings.
No, for a captain commanding 100 odd troopers in Southwest Kandahar province at the height of the Obama “surge” of 2011, what most struck me was the feeling of futility; the sense that the mission was fruitless operationally, and, of course, all but ignored at home. After a full year of saturating the district with American soldiers, the truth is we really controlled only the few square feet we each stood on. The Taliban controlled the night, the farmlands, the villages. And, back in 2011, well, the U.S. had about 100,000 servicemen and women in country. There are less than 15,000 on the ground now.
The news and our society have basically forgotten about our longest war…if that is truly the case……
You’d hardly know it from the news, but we’ve been continuously at war in Afghanistan since 2001. The war quietly turned 17 on October 7.
Unfortunately, America’s amnesia didn’t prevent Command Sergeant Major Tim Bolyard from being killed in Afghanistan in early September during his eighth combat tour and 13th deployment.
Believe it or not……the Afghan War is over and we did not win…….
America has lost the war in Afghanistan. Washington may not want to admit it, and the U.S. military insists the conflict is a “stalemate.” But make no mistake: The original 9/11 war has been lost.
On Thursday, the Taliban attacked a meeting between Afghan officials and the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller. Americans in attendance were wounded, but Miller was unhurt. At least three Afghan officials, though, were killed, including Gen. Abdul Raziq, a key American ally and powerbroker in southern Afghanistan. The U.S. military’s initial statement on the attack was a good example of its cognitive dissonance. Instead of a full condemnation, Col. Dave Butler, the spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, claimed it was merely an “Afghan-on-Afghan incident.” This is an absurd characterization given that the Taliban quickly claimed responsibility, a crucial anti-Taliban commander was killed, and Americans were wounded, all in the presence of the U.S. general in charge of the war effort.
This war is over……then why have we not left and brought our war weary troops home?
During the past few months, many foreign policy analysts have overlooked a series of troubling reports from America’s war in Afghanistan. In late July, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration has been pushing Afghan security forces to withdraw from “vast stretches of the country.” Moreover, in the last few weeks, the Afghan government sustained significant losses defending territory in four districts from the Taliban, and Kabul has stopped reporting the number of deaths of its soldiers because the losses in many districts have become unsustainable. Nonetheless, in what has become a familiar pattern, American troops were dispatched to help Afghan security forces eject the insurgents and re-establish control.
…..an insider attack in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province killed materially all of the top-ranking officials in the provincial government. The Pentagon downplayed the matter, saying two Americans were wounded, but that the top general present was unharmed.
What they didn’t reveal until Sunday was that the “serviceman” wounded in the attack was actually Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley, a high-ranking advisor for the NATO mission in southern Afghanistan. He was shot, and is recovering.
Already the most significant insider attack of the war, having basically taken out the provincial government, this makes it an even bigger attack, as it means a Taliban gunman also got close enough to shoot a US general after killing all these people.
This week, the Taliban demonstrated – once again – that they can strike where and when they choose. The target was General Miller, the top US commander in Afghanistan, as well as some senior Afghan security officials. It was a close call, but General Miller was unhurt. The same can not be said for three top Afghan security leaders who were killed or the two American soldiers wounded in the crossfire. More disturbingly, the gunmen appeared to be Taliban sleepers embedded in the provincial governor’s (who was among the dead) bodyguards. Thus, this was another fatal “insider attack,” of which I’ve recently written. What, then, can we say about this near miss ambush, and how does it reflect on the war effort – America’s longest – in Afghanistan writ large?
At what point do we stop looking for excuses to stay and bring the troops home?
If the war and our troops do not immediately come to mind then it is time to call the war and let the troops enjoy their families again.
Like I said in the beginning of this post…I have been tracking this conflict since the first shot was fired….Americans care nothing about this conflict and ignore the news as much as possible.
Time to call it off and declare a win.