Despite the valiant and courageous efforts of our fighting men and women and the multitude of civilians who support them, Afghanistan was a lost cause from the moment we ( 1 ) veered away from our primary objective of eliminating al Qaeda and the Taliban and committed to nation building; ( 2 ) withdrew forces and resources from Afghanistan to support our war of choice in Iraq; ( 3 ) refused to realize from day one that national building in a country with no infrastructure was a monumental task that would take fifteen to twenty years and trillions more dollars than Americans could afford to shell out; and ( 4 ) refused to see and acknowledge that tribal conflicts and crime, political corruption and the lucrative, national drug trade are insurmountable impediments to the establishment and perpetuation of any form of a credible, democratic government
Our senior political and military senior leaders either ignore the lessons learned from past conflicts or are completely ignorant of them. They commit our brave troops to wars that cannot be won. There are so many inexcusable similarities between how our military leaders and politicians failed in Vietnam and they did so again in Iraq and Afghanistan that it nothing less than inexcusable.
A great read is titled “FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, Revision Issue Paper #2 – Force Ratios" found @ http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/coin/repository/FM324%20Revision%20IP%202%20Force%20Ratios.pdf). Below is a synopsis of some of the paper's salient points:
Bottom line, history tells us that when the force density/force ratio of counterinsurgency troops (fighting boots on the ground) is less than 20 counterinsurgency troops per 1,000 of the indigenous population, the chance of the counterinsurgency campaign being successful is less than 40%. From day one, the U.S. has never employed even half of the combat troops necessary to achieve a 20 to 1,000 that would have provided a mere 40% chance of success.
Nation building be damned. Post-9/11, the U.S. should have ruthlessly invaded Afghanistan, committed overwhelming force in an unrelenting offensive, and killed every Taliban and al Qaeda member in country - without subcontracting our missions out to mercenary, indigenous tribal leaders. After the fighting was over, we should have brought everyone home immediately. Then our president should have appeared on TV to place the world on notice: If any country harbors terrorists who pose a clear and present danger to U.S. national security or the safety of American citizens abroad, and that country does not deal with the problem, the U.S reserves the right to drop in unannounced and ruthlessly eliminate the threat to its national security. People will be killed. Things will be broken. The U.S. will not pick up the cleaning bill nor will it stay to nation build. We will get the job done and immediately return home.
Would that not have been a "don't mess with the U.S." message that would have received the gravest attention from every dictator and despot on the planet?