Ogabe will wind up doing the right thing just this once–for all the wrong reasons, naturally. Tim Lynch explains, starting with this vivid nugget of an opener:
I’ve been trying to come up with a post for over a month now but don’t have any good pictures because I’m back in America, sans super cool Nikon which got blown up in the Helmand, and without good pictures I don’t seem to be able to write. That camera cost over a thousand bucks and that money is now down the sewer, which is appropriate given the fact that on my last night in Kandahar the poo pond burst its seams and I had to wade through 3 feet of waste water to get to the freedom bird. I’m serious – here’s a picture of that shit, which I hesitate to say because using inappropriate language is (so I have learned) a sign of PTSD.
Uhh, Tim, looking at the pic, I’d say there’s nothing whatever inappropriate about your language there, buddy. Onwards:
But I don’t want to talk about shit, I want to talk about the alarming deterioration I see in this country and our nitwit President. That is proving hard to do, because every time I think I’ve crafted an astute observation or two I read a post by Victor Davis Hanson or Richard Fernandez who say what I was going to say, only they say it ten time better than I ever could. My agent keeps telling me I’m just 12 months of hard work away from a Hollywood blockbuster but I don’t believe a word he says except when he tells me I need to keep the blog going. Keeping the blog going is proving hard because I’m not in Afghanistan and the Afghans are screwed now anyway. I can sum up our ten years in Afghanistan in 3 pictures and then I’m moving on to the President’s new genius plan for the military and (this is going to freak you out) I agree with him. Not his reasoning mind you, he was, is, and will always be an absolute moron, but what he is doing by gutting the ground forces was inevitable. But hey, every once in a while even a blind squirrel will find a nut.
Ten years ago, Afghans were thrilled to see us and thought that finally they could live in peace and develop their country.
Five years ago they watched us flounder – we stayed on FOBs and shoveled cash by the billions into the hands of a corrupt central government that we insisted, despite clear evidence to the contrary, was a legitimate government – one that had to be supported at all costs. We raided their homes at night and shot up civilians who got too close to our convoys, we paid for roads that did not exist and, because of the “force protection” mentality, most Afghans thought our soldiers were cowards because they never came to the bazaar off duty and unarmored to buy stuff like the Russians did. In fact, every bite of food our soldiers consumed was flown into country at great expense, so in a land famous for its melons and grapes our troops ate crappy melon and tasteless grapes flown in by contractors from God knows where.
Now, they want to shoot us in the face. Except for the klepocratic elite who want us to give them billions more and then shoot us in the face.
There it is; Afghanistan is toast, and what the last 10 years has taught us is we cannot afford to deploy American ground forces. Two billion dollars a week (that’s billion with a B) has bought what? Every year we stay to “bring security to the people,” the security situation for the people gets worse and worse, deteriorating by orders of magnitude. Now the boy genius has announced a “new strategy”. A strategy that is identical to the “strategy” that resulted in a hollow ground force getting its ass kicked by North Korea in 1950; a mere five years after we had ascended to the most dominant military the world had ever known.
Was Iraq worth the blood and treasure spent by the United States? If it was, I’m not seeing it. Will the end state in Afghanistan be worth the blood and treasure we have spent and continue to spend? Not a chance in hell. The only lesson to be learned from the past ten years of constant war is that we cannot afford to go to war. At least not in the way we do it now which is, sort of, what I’ve been pointing out in this blog for years.
Tim has it right, I think. Herschel Smith concurs (and why both of these guys haven’t already taken up residence in Ye Olde Blogrolle until now, I surely don’t know):
Listen well. This is no anti-war cry. I have argued virtually non-stop for increasing troop levels, staying the course, and increased (and different) lines of logistics for support of our troops. But I have watched with dismay and even panic over the course of the last six years as we haven’t taken the campaign seriously, and good men have suffered and perished because of it.
Michael Yon applies the KISS principle:
This war is going to turn out badly. We are wasting lives and resources while the United States decays and other threats emerge. We led the horse to water.
Importantly, there is no value in pretending that Pakistan is an ally. We should wish the best of luck to the Afghans, and the many peaceful Pakistanis, and accelerate our withdrawal of our main battle force. The US never has been serious about Afghanistan. Under General Petraeus we were starting to gain ground, but the current trajectory will land us in the mud.
The enemies will never beat us in Afghanistan. Force on force, the Taliban are weak by comparison. Yet this is their home. There is only so much we can do at this extreme cost for the many good Afghan people. We must reduce our main effort and concentrate on other matters. Time to come home.
Again: agreed. The yammering of anti-American, anti-military pseudo-pacifists is not worth heeding. But when you have serious, patriotic, courageous Americans who have been there and seen the elephant up close and personal saying it, it absolutely must be considered carefully.
We started off on the right foot in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and then went off the rails. A nation that lacks the will to not just hold the enemy at bay or pick them off piecemeal from the sky but crush their very spirit and will to resist is not one that has any business going to war at all. That describes us all too well, and the only thing we’re accomplishing now is squandering the lives of our best and brightest, sapping the esprit and reducing the numbers of the kind of men and women we have all too few of to begin with, on a poorly-conceived fool’s errand. Time for that to end, and to rethink exactly what kind of country we have chosen to become, the limitations inherent in defining ourselves as we have, and whether we wish to continue along that dismal path.