Afghanistan, From Bad to Worse

What reason is there to believe another 11 years would achieve what the past 11 didn't?

If Charles Dickens were writing "A Tale of Two Cities" about today's Afghanistan, his opening line would be abbreviated: "It was the worst of times."

"Sunday was a particularly deadly day in Afghanistan," reported the Associated Press this week. "Roadside bombs and militant attacks killed seven American soldiers, 19 Afghan civilians and seven Afghan policemen.

"Violence erupted again on Monday as militants launched suicide attacks on two police headquarters and carried out other assaults that left 20 people dead -- three policemen, an Afghan prosecutor, two children and 14 attackers, according to officials."

But when are there ever peaceful stretches in Afghanistan anymore? This year, 176 American military personnel have been killed, bringing the total to more than 2,000 dead and 15,000 wounded. At the current rate, 2012 will be the third bloodiest year of the war.

We have also lavished upward of half a trillion dollars on the effort at a time when we are not exactly flush with revenue. All our sacrifices, however, appear to be in vain. Afghan civilian casualties tripled between 2006 and this year.

And these may be the good old days. After 11 years, the longest war in American history, we have begun the process of leaving. Our combat troops are supposed to be gone by the end of 2014. Opponents of withdrawal say it will endanger our gains, and that the only way to assure success is to stay even longer.

But what reason is there to believe another 11 years would achieve what the past 11 didn't? "Judged by any yardstick -- its ability to protect its officials, provide basic services and control corruption -- Afghanistan has made little or no headway since 2001," wrote Yale University security scholar Jason Lyall last year.

We have been down this road before -- spending huge sums of money as well as thousands of lives trying to build a semblance of an honest, competent, halfway democratic government in a country beset by determined homegrown militants. It didn't work in Vietnam, and it hasn't worked in Afghanistan.

Why that should be is a puzzle. Things started out brilliantly in 2001, with a quick, seemingly complete defeat of the enemy. In 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld exulted: "The Taliban are gone. The al-Qaida are gone."

But things drifted off course. We let Osama bin Laden escape. Pakistan furnished aid and refuge to the insurgents. We shifted our focus to Iraq. President Hamid Karzai proved unable or unwilling to establish security and curb corruption. Before long, the enemy was back with a vengeance.

By now the Taliban should be renamed the Resilient Taliban, because that is the adjective most often used to describe it. The maddening paradox of this war is that Karzai and his security forces have had the benefit of vast amounts of outside help, while the groups fighting the government (though aided by Pakistan) have gotten much less. Yet there is no doubt that the insurgents are more formidable fighters.

For the U.S. military, reports Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker, our mission means "training Afghan soldiers, training Afghan trainers and building the places to train them in. It means equipping more than 350,000 Afghan soldiers and policemen with guns, uniforms, Humvees, gasoline trucks, food, helicopters, hospitals and spare parts. ... The cost of this crash exercise in army-building is around $11 billion a year."

For all our trouble, most Afghan army units still can't operate independently. Their attrition rates are still high. Once we're out of the fight, Filkins says, "the Afghans could end up ceding large tracts of territory to the Taliban."

How does the enemy endure and often prevail despite its enormous disadvantages? How have they turned illiterate, undernourished Afghan peasants into a tough, dogged fighting force that refuses to be defeated?

They apparently have something our friends don't have: bottomless supplies of motivation. They also seem to have more support among the people in the countryside. The longer we stay the more pronounced the discrepancy becomes.

Much of their motivation is resentment of foreigners with guns and anger at military missions that inadvertently kill innocents. So maybe when we leave, many insurgents will lose interest in the fight. Maybe government troops will step up when we force them to take over.

Maybe not. Things could go very badly for the government and very well for the Taliban. But if we've learned nothing else, it's that whatever needs to be done for Afghanistan, we can't do it.

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  • Jordan R.||

    Remember when people used to protest this stuff?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    No one ever protested the war, just the way it was fought. Now that the right people are in charge, I think we're only 4.5 years away from winning this thing.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    No one ever protested the war, just the way it was fought.

    That would explain all the signs saying
    Nuke the site from orbit!
    It's the only way to be sure!

  • Bill||

    I laughed so hard my monocle misted up! (Just giving Mary more bits she can use for her movies).

  • o3||

    while the initial invasion was righteous, the original mission was accomplished in a year.

    afghan nation-building, however, is unwinnable as thousands of years hostilities prove going back to ghengis khan.

  • Drake||

    Yes - Maybe some continued support for the Northern Alliance would have been appropriate. Otherwise, we should have packed it up and been gone by 2004.

    If needed, we could have gone back whenever we wanted.

  • robc||

    Exactly. When the Taliban was gone, we should have left. 2004 was too late, we could have left in 2002. If they came back, we come back and decapitate them again. And leave. If they come back, repeat.

    It would have cost less American lives, less American dollars, and eventually no one would want to be a Taliban leader.

  • Drake||

    I don't remember the exact time-line for a decade ago (2002-2004). I just know that we went from kicking ass - to nation building without any debate.

    When they started moving in heavier units, I realized we were going to stay there and fuck it all.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Well, Al Qaeda killed Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance leader, in a suicide bombing (an interview with a bomb in the video camera) on September 9th, two days before the 9/11 attacks. When I read about his death, I thought someting was afoot.

  • ||

    The nation-building was mecessary to get our French, German and Canadian allies on board, as well as certain domestic interest groups, notably feminists and gay rights activists.

    Between liberals and neocons there was enough of the "if we throw enough money and lives at it we can fix it all" mentality to carry the day.

    Anyone with any sense would have limited the war to a punitive raid with a strong message to the Taliban that we would repeat the same if neccessary if they ever harbored anything like Al Quaeda again plus contined support of the Northern Alliance to destabilize and possibly overhrow them.

    Trouble is that there were just as many illiberal factions in the NA as there are in the Taliban. Western leftists simply couldn't stomach putting them in power without some trying to make them "like us".

    None of it has worked. We are left in a position where the instant we stop, or even reduce, pouring treasure into this cesspool a reinvigorated Taliban will take over more in control than ever.

  • Drake||

    If we weren't nation building, there wouldn't have been a need for them. It's not like any of them made a meaningful contribution in 2002.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Mecessary- are you coining a new word or is that a Freudian slip?

  • John||

    It didn't work in Vietnam

    It actually did work in Vietnam. The VC were completely crushed and by 1972 the North Vietnamese had virtually no military capability left. It was only three years later, in 1975 after North Vietnam had rearmed in violation of the Paris Peace Accords and the US had stopped funding South Vietnam, that the North was able to invade the South with a conventional Army.

    Afghanistan aside, can we please stop repeating the whole "Vietnam proves you can't win against an insurgency" bullshit.

  • Tim||

    We all saw Apocalypse Now John, or do you think Hollywood lied to us?

  • BarryD||

    Whatever the merits of John's post and opinion, have YOU seen Apocalypse Now? I think you have it confused with some other movie.

  • tarran||

    But that's not what he is saying:

    We have been down this road before -- spending huge sums of money as well as thousands of lives trying to build a semblance of an honest, competent, halfway democratic government in a country beset by determined homegrown militants. It didn't work in Vietnam, and it hasn't worked in Afghanistan.

    The southern Vietnamese government was a kleptocracy. It commanded little to no loyalty because unlike the commies it had no moral authority (the commies would take your stuff for the good of society, the RVN would take your stuff for the the good of the people with positions in the RVN ;) ).

    No amount of aid, or development assistance, or cultural outreach, or medical missionary work was going to change the fact that the people felt little loyalty for the kleptocracy that the U.S. was supporting.

    And that is true in Afghanistan as well.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    So you're saying that had we stayed in Vietnam indefinitely and committed even more blood and treasure to a small country in SE Asia, we would have maintained a stalemate with the North, until such time that we tired of it.

  • Ron||

    You mean like Korea

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yes. And let's face facts, the North Vietnamese have turned out to be far less insane than their Korean counterparts.

  • Drake||

    I doubt the Cambodians or Laotians appreciated the outcome.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I doubt they did, but what were we going to do about it?

  • Drake||

    Make an honest decision - not the lefty bullshit of the time (that we would be saving lives by pulling the plug on South Vietnam).

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Make an honest decision - not the lefty bullshit of the time (that we would be saving lives by pulling the plug on South Vietnam).

    We could have also made an honest decision to not get involved in the first place since our security was not at stake. I know it is hard for some people to understand, but going around the world getting involved with other nations squabbles doesn't always turn out well.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It's usually turned out pretty well for us just not when we go in full-frontal. Containment was not an option it was a must.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Containment was not an option it was a must.

    Why?

  • Drake||

    That easy to say - but that decision was made a decade earlier by a different administration (although a Democrat controlled Congress throughout).

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And they are our problem...how?

  • Fluffy||

    We had degraded the insurgency, but it's not like we had ended it.

    The alternative to withdrawal was keeping half a million men there indefinitely.

    For what?

    Viet Nam was a failure because of the complete lack of a sane relationship between the costs incurred and the national security benefit obtained.

  • John||

    We had degraded the insurgency, but it's not like we had ended it.

    No we ended it. There was no insurgency in 1975. There was only a conventional invasion.

    The alternative to withdrawal was keeping half a million men there indefinitely.

    No. That alternative was the fund the South Vietnemes like we did every other cold war ally and tell the North that if they ever invaded we would return. They only invaded after Ford said we would never return. We had virtually no troops in Vietnam in 1974. But the North didn't invade until they knew we would never come back.

    Viet Nam was a failure because of the complete lack of a sane relationship between the costs incurred and the national security benefit obtained.

    Again not true. By fighting the communists in Vietnam, we didn't have to fight them in the Phillipenes and Thailand or Malaysia. Those countries in turn got to turn into Asian tigers rather than communist hell holes. That was a huge strategic benefit.

  • Drake||

    Correct - We promised to continue to support the South Vietnamese with training, equipment, money, and air support. We delivered none of them after the withdrawal - while the Russians and Chinese poured equipment into the North.

  • Fluffy||

    No we ended it. There was no insurgency in 1975. There was only a conventional invasion.

    ARVN combat deaths continued at the same yearly rate after 1972.

    The insurgents were still there. They just weren't shooting at us, because we had left.

    By fighting the communists in Vietnam, we didn't have to fight them in the Phillipenes and Thailand or Malaysia. Those countries in turn got to turn into Asian tigers rather than communist hell holes. That was a huge strategic benefit.

    It's extremely unlikely that this is true. The Communist insurgency grew out of Minh's insurgency against the French. The other nations you cite had no history with Minh.

    But even if the domino theory is correct, since those other dominoes didn't fall after we left Indochina, we can conclude that we had stayed in Viet Nam long enough and didn't need to stay any longer. Staying in South Vietnam through, say, 1980, would not have made the Philippines any safer because the Philippines were already safe.

  • Drake||

    ARVN combat deaths continued because they were still fighting a conventional war in the North and in Laos. There were NO more insurgents, the Viet Cong was gone after '68.

    Guerrilla attacks in the 70's were the work of the NVA operations.

  • John||

    ARVN combat deaths continued at the same yearly rate after 1972.

    They were fighing the NVA. The VC was gone by then. It wasn't an insurgency.

    And yes, you are correct we stayed long enough to stop the dominoes from falling. But had we just provided basic support to the Cambodians and South Vietnamese, we would have saved millions of lives. No boat people and no killing fields.

  • ||

    John, we did fight communist insurgents in the Phillipines.

    And as for not fighting them in Malaysia, the Brits and Aussies would beg to differ.

    The reason those insurgencies failed was partly that they never had the kind of organization there that Ho managed to create in VN as well as the fact that the governments in those countries had a legitimacy that the puppets in Saigon never acheived.

  • ||

  • perlhaqr||

    Quick! To the Phillipines!

  • Calidissident||

    really John? Even in the most optimistic of predictions, preventing the spread of communism in the Phillipines, Thailand, and Malaysia (and as others have pointed out, there are good reasons to believe that wouldn't have happened), none of whom could have threatened the US even if the became communist, was worth the lives of 60,000 men (many of whom were forcibly sent to their deaths), hundred of thousands more wounded or psychologically scarred, not to mention billions upon billions of dollars spent on the war?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Who gives a shit? The only reason we cared was the domino effect. The commies won. Like all the other commies (NoKo is more of a commu-fasci-theocracy), they've eventually realized that communism is sort of shit.

  • Bill||

    We should care because we still have to face the combined might of all the Warsaw Pact forces.

    If Asia had fallen one by one like dominos we would have to face them as well because we all know how well communist systems perform.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The problem is that militaries don't win or lose wars. Battles, yes. Wars, no.

    It doesn't matter how incapacitated the NO Vietnamese army was, it wasn't a factor in the long run.

    No military, no matter how capable, fighting abroad can adequately defeat self-interested people when defending their homes. In the long run, people will win.

  • Drake||

    I suggest you study up on Vietnam '70-75.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    I suggest you study up on Vietnam '70-75.

    I would have suggested Sun Tzu.

  • Tim||

    Turning over rocks, looking for scorpions.
    What could go wrong?

  • o3||

    bear roasts em up and chows down

  • John||

    The longer we stay the more pronounced the discrepancy becomes.

    Citation please?

    Yet there is no doubt that the insurgents are more formidable fighters.

    No they are not. They get their asses handed to them every time they get into a fight with the US. They are only "formidable" in the sense that they are adept at hiding and planting bombs that kill anyone and everyone who walks by. The US could do that to. But I somehow doubt the Reason peaceniks would find the US more "formidable" for doing so.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Yeah, that's crap. Just because it's a hellhole over there doesn't mean they've suddenly turned into Sardaukar.

    They've always sucked, it's just you only ever hear about their successful attacks, so it's a "phone always rings when I'm in the shower" kind of deal.

    Just because you're from Afghanistan doesn't mean you get like +2 Small Arms, but start with -50 credits.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    And actually they suck at planting and hiding bombs as well. I don't have the stats, but if you look at the number found and disarmed vs. the number that actually detonate and do damage it's pretty freaking indicative.

  • Fluffy||

    Afghanistan is a nation of 34 million where since 1979 (with only a brief interregnum) a major superpower has been doing its best to kill everything that moves and doesn't obey. But they're still there.

    They must be good at something.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    A major superpower certainly has NOT been trying to do that (at least since 2001). I spent two years there, lived with the ROE.

    They suck at everything, and if we wanted them exterminated, they would be. The only thing they're good at is breeding, living in complete and utter filth and austerity, drawing attention to themselves, and driving. They are pretty good drivers, at least the ones that can drive.

  • Fluffy||

    So what you're saying is that we've spent half a trillion bucks and it's not our best?

    Short of nuking them from orbit, what the fuck do you WANT? A million men on the ground? A trillion bucks spent a year?

    This is what I mean. You're so wrapped up in a completely emotional obsession with "winning" that you're completely incapable of seeing the vast disconnect between effort and reward here.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    What? I'm in no way advocating being there. We shouldn't be, we shouldn't have gone there in the first place (though I do understand that it was the most obvious and expedient response, and a response WAS required).

    What I'm saying is that we haven't even come close to waging actual War there, and we haven't even given a thought to trying the 'extermination' that you said we did.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "So what you're saying is that we've spent half a trillion bucks and it's not our best?"

    That's just silly. It's not what he's saying in the least. Unless you believe, that "our best" is the same thing as "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out". Of course, that would have been a hell of a lot cheaper than the half a trillion we've spent.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    What's truly indicative is that despite our superiority in every capacity to fight, we're still there after a decade and in no better shape than before we went in.

    Military capability, in this age, is practically meaningless. We can literally win every battle, yet lose the conflict, and that's exactly what's happening now.

  • gaoxiaen||

    And once in a while they really screw up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUsu9SKz7zk

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I think that the article means to compare the insurgents to the Afghan government forces, not the U.S. forces.

    Do the insurgents get their asses handed to them if they fight just the Afghan Army?

    Why is it that Afghans in the Afghan Army are hopeless despite years of training and assistance? I think the author is correct to look to motivation--how many Afghans are willing to die for the Karzai government? And until that is solved I don't see how it will be possible to win.

  • John||

    So maybe when we leave, many insurgents will lose interest in the fight.

    Or maybe they will take over the country and set up a barbaric Islamist state, declare victory over the hated West and invite anyone and everyone who wants to wage war against such in to train and prepare in peace.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    That's probably what will happen, but who gives a crap.

  • o3||

    al qaeda gives a crap

  • Whiterun Guard||

    al qaeda don't surf

  • o3||

    + napalm in the am!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But, isn't that a false dichotomy? I mean, I'm sure we must have options beyond sit there spilling blood and treasure or let Al Aqeda prepare terrorist operations in peace.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You're ruining the narrative dude. That clearly ordered world where there are but two options for everything is in jeopardy.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    So we should stay there until Afghanistan joins the 19th century?

  • BarryD||

    ...especially since California hasn't even done that, yet. They haven't built their corrupt, government-funded passenger train.

  • BarryD||

    We have a large nuclear arsenal, and nuclear warheads don't last forever in storage.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    And they're expensive to maintain...

  • perlhaqr||

    Use 'em or lose 'em!

  • BarryD||

    And who's going to give a shit if we nuke Afghanistan? Not Russia, that's for sure.

  • tarran||

    set up a barbaric Islamist state, declare victory over the hated West and invite anyone and everyone who wants to wage war against such in to train and prepare in peace.

    Everytime, Al Queda has seized control of a bit of territory, the locals have thrown them out - fed up by their barbarism.

    I've linked on some other thread to an Army War College study that argued that the Taliban violate Pashtunwali egregiosuly enough that in the absence of an external enemy (The Iranian-allied Northern Alliance, for example) that it was highly likely the Pashtun would turn against them.

    The barbaric islamic states are such economic train-wrecks that they pose little long-term threat. They pose less threat to the lives and treasure of the American citizenry than the Great Plains Indians did...

    Personally, I have little problem with a policy of allowing Iran and Pakistan to fight their little proxy war over there, while we allow any refugees who want to live in peace and prosperity to settle and work here int he U.S.

  • John||

    My plan would be to legalize heroin and give the Afghans a world monopoly on the condition they never allow a single Islamic terrorist to train there.

  • tarran||

    All you need to do is legalize Heroin. Full Stop.

    If my memory serves, the shit started hitting the fan when the U.S. started burning Opium crops...

  • John||

    It didn't help. We are sending US soldiers to die in order to keep junkies from getting their shit? Really? I should fucking care about that?

  • Scarcity||

    And it's working so well! I hear H is just impossible to come by these days.

  • Cytotoxic||

    So why didn't the Taliban get thrown out last time they were in charge of Afghanistan, Northern Alliance notwithstanding?

  • John||

    Because Afghanistan was devastated and poor after the Soviet War and the Taliban were being bank rolled by the Saudis. They were the only people with any money or weapons.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    I'm pretty sure we also helped fund, train and arm them as well via the CIA.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nope. Those Mujahadeen later became the Northern Alliance. That intervention in the 1980s continues to pay dividends.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Obviously your definition of dividends and mine are vastly different.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Wasn't Gulbeddin Hekmaytar's group one of the bulwarks of freedom we were bankrolling throughout the 80's? HIG certainly didn't turn into the Northern Alliance.

    Regardless, it's been long past time for the U.S. to pack up and go home.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We helped Stalin in WW2 doesn't mean that it wasn't a good decision. Can't be perfect.

  • perlhaqr||

    He didn't say they were good dividends.

  • BarryD||

    But we have always been at war with Eastasia.

  • Ron||

    Two points
    1.more people have been killed in Chicago this year
    2.It took us well over a hundred years to finally settle the Native Americans.

    I'm not saying that thats what we should do I'm just saying thats what it might take and maybe it's time to cut our losses and leave them to their own devices if we aren't willing to do whats need to be done.

  • Hayekian||

    I was talking to my wife this morning and we were wondering if it would be feasible to do something similar to what we did years ago in taking in refugees from Asia. Why not tell Afghanistan, "We're leaving you kleptocrats to your business and any of you who don't want to live under that kind of regime can come to America." It would be significantly cheaper to do the necessary background checks than to run a war and it would assuage those who feel guilty about leaving innocents behind. I like the Reason community so I thought I would float it here and see if my thinking had problems. (not that that would be a first) Thoughts?

  • sarcasmic||

    Import a bunch of people with experience in setting homemade bombs on the side of the road to kill Americans.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Very few Afghans have that experience. They are the ones we don't import but rather kill instead.

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't think some of them, ones who could pass background checks because they haven't yet been caught, wouldn't seize the opportunity to kill Americans in America?
    It just doesn't seem like a very well thought out idea.

  • Hayekian||

    I've thought about that, sarcasmic, and perhaps you would label me naive, but I think we can find people who want to get out from under a regime like Afghanistan's and would value the American opportunity. I guess I just still believe that there are many people who look to America as a beacon of hope, in spite of our politicians' best efforts. We should openly embrace those still looking for freedom. I think we can find ways to minimize the risks.

  • tarran||

    How exactly does planting roadside bombs put food n the table sarcasmic?

    And, who would waste their time doing that, when there are opportunities to get rich, rich, rich, engaging in all sorts of commercial/business activities?

  • sarcasmic||

    who would waste their time doing that

    Someone who has had friends and family killed by Americans?

  • Cytotoxic||

    If that were true, we'd see exponentially more bombs. We don't so you're wrong.

  • sarcasmic||

    If everyone who had had a friend or family member killed were to start making bombs, then yes there would be exponentially more.

    However someone != everyone.

    Nice straw man though.

  • tarran||

    I'm for it.

    Of course, it will not work out very well if the U.S. government and the state governments and the county governments and the town/city governments don't scale back their looting and sabotage of the economy.

  • Hayekian||

    tarran, that's actually my biggest concern with the idea. I don't want to just invite in a new group of people who will leech off the welfare structure. Unfortunately, that will require a significant overhaul that our politicians seem unwilling to tackle. I think we're just going to have to hit a wall. I think the most likely scenario is that we are starkly confronted with the complete inability to pay the Medicare promises and it comes to a screeching halt, like New Zealand in the 80s. Like Herb Stein said, "If something can't go on forever, it will stop."

  • Cytotoxic||

    John is right. There are only two reasons Afghanistan isn't totally pwned yet:
    1) American soldiers/other forces are subject to awful and immoral combat restrictions in their ROEs.

    2) The war on opium is giving the Taliban fist over handful of cash.

  • tarran||

    You are, as usual, such a bloodthirsty moron, cyto:

    1) The Pashtun have beat every empire that tried to rule over them because the more you oppress em, the harder they fight.

    2) Not murdering innocent people is not immoral.

    3) The Taliban aren't raking in money merely from the Opium trade - they get lots of money from U.S. ally, the Saudi King and his family, the Pakistani government (also a U.S. ally) and protection money paid by NATO to keep the Taliban from closing its supply lines.

    You really need to stop listening to your imams. The Jihad they preach to bring the unbelievers into the Dar-al-Objectivism and to spread teh word of Ayn Rand (PBUH) by the sword is not going to bring you the paradise you expect.

  • John||

    1) The Pashtun have beat every empire that tried to rule over them because the more you oppress em, the harder they fight.

    Not true. The English slaughtered them. The Afghans won a single war against the English only to see the English return and destroy them. That is a stupid myth.

    And the Taliban are dying in droves. Kill enough of them and they will quit. We can lose a couple of hundred soldiers a year for a lot longer than they can lose 1000s.

  • Cytotoxic||

    True, but our handing them money-be it buy opium or the god-awful transportation arrangements-is wrecking our victory. When he's right he's right.

  • Calidissident||

    Even after the Second Anglo-Afghan War, the Afghans still retained complete control over internal affairs and the British withdrew their soldiers. So its not like they were added as a province of the British Empire

  • Ron||

    The Pashtun have never been beat. Thats what they used to say about Japan.
    Now if we fought their like we did in Japan it would all be over, and by that I mean no rebuilding of schools or protecting mosques until everyone puts down their guns and yes if we have to and should have done use atomic weapons. This also includes invading neighboring countries that harbor many of the combatants that includes both Pakistan and Iran. Yes this would have been an upscale of the war which should include a draft and all of industry.
    If your going to fight a war fight and get it over with otherwise your just jerking off for some bull shit political reason.

  • gaoxiaen||

    So, all we need is Colonel Kurtz in Afghanistan.

  • Calidissident||

    So if we just kill a fuckload of innocent people, along with the Taliban, then everything will be alright and the corrupt central government will be able to effectively rule the country and there will be no more threat to our security?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Someone's angry.

    1)Not true. Alexander the Great went right through Afghanistan to India. It was part of one of the 'after-empires' that existed after Alexander died. And prior to US intervention, the USSR had basically crushed the resistance.

    2) Pleas stop using words like 'murder', 'innnocent', and 'moral' when you have all the moral depth of a Disney movie.

    3)True (for once). America needs to sort out its allies from its 'allies' and stop throwing money around. There must be a better way of getting US supplies in there.

    You really need to come up with better arguments than yelling insipid remarks like 'bloodthirsty' (as if that were such a terrible thing). You should also develop a morality a little more sophisticated than the average 10-year old.

  • Fluffy||

    Dude, nobody - nobody - ever successfully ruled Bactria or Afghanistan directly. Every time it was part of an empire it was a satrapy at best. Alexander, Seleucids, Persians, Sassanids, Hepthalites, Kushans, whoever.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Only one modern country has even tried to do that, and they succeeded completely and utterly until it became too resource intensive to be there. The Russians left because the juice wasn't worth the squeeze, not because the 'Afghans' kicked their ass or anything.

    No one's ever ruled Antarctica or the floor of the Atlantic Ocean directly either, but it ain't because the penguins and goblin shrimp are such awesome freedumb fighters.

  • Cytotoxic||

    EXACTLY. Afghanistan is not that hard to conquer. It's just not worth it.

  • NotSure||

    Actually being bloodthirsty is generally a terrible thing, unless you share world views with someone like Attila the Hun.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Being bloodthirsty is good and healthy as long as it is rational bloodthirst, like wanting the Jihadists animals in Mali to die.

  • NotSure||

    Your bloodthirsty counterparts in Mali will use exactly the same argument. Rational bloodthirst are not two words that can go together.

  • Cytotoxic||

    And they would be wrong because I am good and they are evil.

  • ||

    that is some sophisticated moral depth, right there

  • ||

    That depends on whose blood you thirst for.

  • ||

    Warty's

  • ||

    I would thirst for SugarFree's blood, but what is the point? That shit is like 1% milk.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    "We have been down this road before -- spending huge sums of money as well as thousands of lives trying to build a semblance of an honest, competent, halfway democratic government in a country beset by determined homegrown militants. It didn't work in Vietnam, and it hasn't worked in Afghanistan."

    We went down this road long before that -- 1775, and we were the ones teaching the lesson. The Brits were so harassed and isolated that they couldn't even forage for food -- everything, including cattle, had to be shipped two months across the ocean.

  • ||

    there to believe another 11 years would achieve what the past 11 didn't? "Judged by any yardstick -- its ability http://www.maillotfr.com/maill.....-3_10.html to protect its officials, provide basic services and control corruption -- Afghanistan has made little or no headway since 2001," wrote Yale University securit

  • huldah1776||

    Chapman doesn't read much. There will be companies going into Afghanistan from China and India and there are young people there who do want to see prosperity. They just have to learn how to defend themselves against a gang. We do that real well here, too./s

  • Nike air max womens||

    But when are there ever peaceful stretches in Afghanistan anymore? This year, 176 American military personnel have been killed, bringing the total to more than 2,000 dead and 15,000 wounded. At the current rate, 2012 will be the third bloodiest year of the war.

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