5 years ago
A note from an active duty Soldier and very loyal reader of TCJ. I am withholding his name.
Pretty compelling stuff on your site of late. The Army is working the hell out of me lately and I don’t have the emotional energy to comment coherently on your site. But to you I’d like to suggest two things; Its not as easy as withdrawing and the regional threats will all strengthen when we exit. We can “win” this Afghan thing if we, as a country chose to. We appear to have chosen not to win. Lots of the comment on your site is such un/ill informed crap; it drives me up a tree. After all this time can people still be so clueless?
Afghanistan has been 10 (going on 11) one year wars. Each year is tied to the other only in the vast funds expended and the incoherence of the strategy and execution of our warfighting and state department actions. Each year is a ridiculous, blind stab at something, anything to “win” the war without of course, actually war fighting at a scale that will in fact, win the war. Talk and more talk, money and more money, blood and more blood and nothing to show for it. The reality of this circumstance weakens me more than any tour of combat I’ve yet experienced.
I’ve no issue with your admonition that it is time to leave. I’ve believed that since 2006. But what I believe more is that our military, political and civil authorities must proclaim not simply that we cannot win, but that we refuse to win. And that knowing the outcome of walking away; are willing to ransome a future generation to warfighting at a bloddy scale that will make our 10 year efforts appear like so much playground proctoring. Anyway, Herschel, keep it up. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m mighty glad that you do!
Sometimes I wonder why I bother to write, but occasionally I receive letters like this one, and then I understand. But the authorities admitting what we all know to be true won’t happen. Furthermore, the highlighted sentence tells us – yet again – what I have tried to point out ever since I have been writing.
What the population-centric COIN advocates have not gotten, and will never get, with their claptrap about killing one insurgent and creating ten more, or killing one family member, even by accident, and create 100 insurgents (you take your pick of the cliche du jour), is that nothing can compare in its debilitating affects on the troops – and thus the campaign – like what we’ve done, e.g., hand them immoral rules of engagement, talk about talking to the Taliban, talk to the Taliban, send billions of dollars into black holes, wander aimlessly in a strategic malaise with our head up our ass, set dates for withdrawal, declare that it will all be okay anyway, and so on and so forth the sad parade goes.
What does it take to lose a war? Destroy morale with awful leadership.