Steve Chapman on America's Wasted Effort in Afghanistan


U.S. soldiers
Public Domain

It's hard to see the value of our mission in Afghanistan when our partners are so impervious to our best efforts, writes Steve Chapman. The Special Inspector General reported that we have gotten a pitiful return on a $200 million literacy program for the Afghan army. The exceedingly modest goal—getting all of the Afghan soldiers to read at a first-grade level and half of them to read at a third-grade level—turns out to be "unrealistic" and "unattainable." The Afghan army "is actually far from ready for transition at the end of 2014," warned Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington last year. The national police, he concluded, are worse. Here's an option: We could acknowledge that there are some things even the world's sole superpower can't do, and fixing Afghanistan is one of them.