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Sunday, July 21, 2024

America loses yet another war

In fact, the U.S. military no longer seems to know how to win a war or how to explain what went wrong when they fail.
America’s war in Afghanistan: We came, we fought, we lost…as usual.

As a teenager and son of a Navy veteran who fought in World War II, I shared the illusion with many Americans that our nation had never lost a war and never would. While Korea ended with the nation split, our military remained to keep the North Koreans out of South Korea after a negotiated agreement.

Vietnam, however, was another story. I was last in Saigon as a reporter and photojournalist shortly before America gave up  the South Vietnamese cause in a so-called “peace agreement” that ended with helicopters rescuing the American ambassador and his staff from the Embassy as troops and protestors were storming the gate.

For many who lost friends and family in that war, the ending was bitter, especially for those who came home to calls they were “baby killers” and other nasty epithets.

We had a brief victory in Grenada, of all places, in a rescue of American students in a medical school on that Caribbean island, and the soldiers marched in a parade before George H.W. Bush along Pennsylvania Avenue afterwards. Then, his son, George W. Bishop, stood on a ship with a victory banner that declared “Mission Accomplished.” It was a lie, as was the claim that we went to war to destroy “weapons of mass destruction” that did not exist.

Victories are becoming harder to find with the American military, and some have suggested we should now declare American “loses it wars.” We withdrew from Syria, leaving behind “allies” that were tortured and killed for aiding our effort.

When driving the Taliban out of Afghanistan as art of search for Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, an attack on the Pentagon and another headed for Washington to fly its hijacked plane into the Capitol or the White House, George W. Bush declared Afghanistan a target because it harbored the Taliban protected bin Laden.

That began America’s longest war, which ended with a withdrawal that began in May and ended this week with helicopters picking up Americans at the Embassy in Kabul as the Taliban reclaimed the nation in a record blitzkrieg that rivaled the massive tank invasions of Adolf Hitler.

We went into Afghanistan, kill bin Laden. It took nearly 10 years to find and kill him in a raid by Navy SEALs. For a while, the Taliban was pushed back, but it was never defeated, and it was ready to take over as soon as the U.S. military pulled out.

Reports The Washington Post:

The pace of the military collapse has stunned many American officials and other foreign observers, forcing the U.S. government to dramatically accelerate efforts to remove personnel from its embassy in Kabul.

The Taliban capitalized on the uncertainty caused by the February 2020 agreement reached in Doha, Qatar, between the militant group and the United States calling for a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some Afghan forces realized they would soon no longer be able to count on American air power and other crucial battlefield support, and grew receptive to the Taliban’s approaches.

In other words, we walked away from a mission that was far from complete.

An Afghan special forces officer who, for obvious reasons, doesn’t wish to be identified says:

They saw that document as the end. The day the deal was signed, we saw the change. Everyone was just looking out for himself. It was like [the United States] left us to fail.

The same thing happened in Iraq. Without American troops in place, they had no one to step up when the under trained and unwilling local military was on its own.

The New York Times reports:

In the end, even the evacuation of what one Defense Department official estimated could be 20,000 Americans and an untold number of Afghans somehow managed to reflect the story of the entire 20-year war: a disconnect between American diplomats and the reality on the ground.

That disconnect has been clear as a series of administrations presented a succession of optimistic prognoses: the Taliban was in retreat, the Afghan military was on the brink of assuming control of the country, and the government in Kabul was one step away from being able to provide security across the land. In the last four months, as U.S. troops packed up and left the country under orders from President Biden, administration officials said the staff at the American Embassy in Kabul and State Department headquarters in Washington hung on to hope that their presence in the country could instill some backbone in the Afghan government.

I was in Afghanistan early in the war as a reporter and photojournalist. A Marine in a forward base just shook his head when I asked, “how are things going?”

“We’re wasting our time,” he said. “We can’t win here. The Russians tried for years and withdrew. Other nations came before them and pulled out. This will be a lost cause, just like the others.”

He’s home now after finishing his enlistment and multiple deployments in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We keep getting into wars where we don’t understand the enemy,” he told me last week. “My father fought in Vietnam and lost his arm there. He said they never understood the North Vietnamese or the culture of the nation. Neither did the officers. As long as we don’t really understand the people of a nation at war, we can never achieve victory.”

Even President Joe Biden, who should have known better, said:

There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States in Afghanistan

The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”

Welcome to America, Mr. President — the nation that now seems unable to win wars or even understand what would go wrong when they failed.


Copyright © 2021 Capitol Hill Blue

3 thoughts on “America loses yet another war”

  1. It was Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban. Osama bin Laden was never the leader of the Taliban, he led Al-Qaeda. Did the Taliban host Al-Qaeda, Yes

    We went into Afghanistan to kill Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, to do that we had to take out the Taliban.

    Here is a little fact, we and most other nations forget. The Taliban are a religious Rebel organization. They won Afghanistan through a Civil War. We walked/jumped into the end stages of that Civil War, and we made the horrible mistake of staying. Remember, we armed the Mujahideen against the last interlopers – The Russians, who went in at the behest of the then Afghan government. Which was fighting a civil war against – The Mujahideen (the Taliban).

    Our staying was a political decision, not the Military’s. Just as Vietnam was a political decision, based upon bad information and decisions made long, long ago at the end of WW I in Versailles, when Ho Chi Minh went to Versailles to ask for help from us to end French Occupation of Indochina. The first decision to enter the Vietnamese Civil War was made by President Eisenhower in the mid 1950s. When he sent aircraft to Vietnam to help the French in the First Indochina War. The French left, we stayed.

    No civil war has been won by an outside force, not even ours. Democracy has never taken root by being imposed by an outside force.

    Was Afghanistan a just war? At first yes, after killing OBL and almost killing Al-Qaeda, we should have departed.

    By the way, I am retired Army and Vietnam was my war.

    Bad political decisions were made, a lot of people died because of those decisions…

  2. Finally we elected a president that stood up and said enough!

    Twenty years trillions of tax payer dollars wasted on a country of people who will not fight for their own freedom.

    We claim to have the greatest most advanced military in the world and yet we can’t defeat cave drillers. This is just another US military failure like Vietnam where we fought tunnel drillers.

    Our military complex needs totally dismantled, fire all the upper brass, cut military expenses down to half. The days of ground warfare is over. Teach our soldiers to sit comfortably in lounge chairs and operate killer drones while watching it all come down on big 120 inch 3D displays.

  3. Yes, we walked away. If you can’t win the thing in 20 years, you’re not going to, unless you send 100 times the troops and simply kill everyone. The American people would never have stood for that. Not in 2001 and not now. We wasted our time trying to westernize a country that doesn’t want it.
    Would WE, if the roles were somewhat reversed, have not fought back for democracy if say the Middle Eastern Islamic nations were one country, the leading country of this alternate world, and had invaded US, and tried to impose a theocratic style of government on US?
    WE as a nation, wouldn’t have wanted that, just like the Afghans apparently don’t want to, or can’t successfully fight for themselves against the Taliban.
    I just watched “Shock and Awe” for the second time over the weekend, and while as always, Hollywood may not get things right, there was a line and concept in there that sticks…”How do we bomb a country back to the Stone Age, when it’s still IN the Stone Age?”
    Our military is designed to fight a country that at least HAS a WWII era military (or newer). Yes, they had guns, yes they had some other semi-modern military weapons. But their main style of fighting is closer to 19th century than 21st century. Tough to fight such a military–it’s just a mismatch.
    Put it this way: If a people don’t fight for themselves and their government and country, why should we?
    Lost in the history, is this-none of the 9/11 hijackers were from Afghanistan. They were all from the Middle East. (Or were westerners who became radicalized.)
    The simple fact that it took so many years to find bin Laden, shows that our military wasn’t prepared to fight in the dirt and mountains of Afghanistan, and it’s felt that he spent most of his time in Pakistan anyway.
    Yes, it looks bad. We as a country, don’t like to lose. Goliath lost to David, though. Underdogs win sometimes. Donald Trump won in 2016. He wasn’t supposed to win. We didn’t exactly LOSE in Afghanistan, but we certainly didn’t win, either. I don’t think we were ever going to win there. Short of nuking the sand, and bouncing the irradiated rocks around, I don’t think we had a realistic chance of winning it.
    George Bush declared “Mission Accomplished”. It was an outright lie. And HE got reelected. Biden is doing what should have been done 10+ years ago. And he’ll likely be crucified for it. And all he really did do was alter the Trump timeline for doing the same thing. It was Trump’s deal that was the final wrecking ball for our efforts in sandland. Very few people are remembering that either.
    Long since time to clear out and stop wasting lives, money and time there. Not enough of them wanted to be a democracy, so I say, you get what you deserve.

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