" ... there is a broad recognition in the Pentagon that building an effective Afghan army and police force will take a generation’s commitment, including billions of dollars a year in outside funding and constant support from thousands of foreign advisers on the ground.
“What we’ve learned is that you can’t really leave,” said a senior Pentagon official with extensive experience in Afghanistan and Iraq who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. “The local forces need air support, intelligence and help with logistics. They are not going to be ready in three years or five years. You have to be there for a very long time.”
Senior U.S. commanders have also been surprised by al-Qaeda’s resilience and ability to find a haven in the Afghan countryside, as well as the Taliban’s repeated seizure of large tracts of contested territory." Washpost
We pay these guys? We educated them in what we describe as Staff or War Colleges? (Self referential hazard) I graduated from a variety of the "higher" US service schools and I will tell you that there was nothing very creative that was taught in any of them. It was essentially "cook book" teaching.
A lot of people on SST start to glow red in the eyes when I say something favorable about the WWI and II German Army, but the contrast in pedagogy is striking. The German Army systematically (of course) first selected the smartest young officers to become the intellectual core of the Army. It then taught these officers the Army's doctrine for combat. Following that, the same Army taught them to ignore that doctrine when that was necessary and to think for themselves.
That is not what happens in the US. In this country most national board selected war college attendees (these are the top service schools) are essentially mirror images of the present caste of senior officers. They are people who have consistently been the best uniformed bureaucrats, the best apple polishers, the people who looked the best in the official file photographs (no mustache!), and it does not hurt one's chances if a relative is a three or four star flag officer. A majority are (in Myers-Briggs terms) SJs. These are the guys who make the trains run on time. They are wedded to the palpable and the "here and now." Not surprisingly they are not good at what Bush 41 called "the vision thing." They typically form large committees seeking to understand the future by reducing all factors to tiny and edible bits. It is understandable that they detest the MB test as well as those those who do have "the vision thing." Well, pilgrims, by and large this group of future-blind careerists run the armed forces and its interactions with the foreign policy community.
In Afghanistan these people have relentlessly sought to apply the recipes bestowed on them by people like Petraeus, Kilcullen et al to the project of nation building that we have attempted since 2009. It is a failure. Is that not clear?
Afghanistan is not a nation-state. It never was. There is a state of Afghanistan that is inhabited by five or six different ethnic nations. They do not share a common language. The economy amounts to next to nothing except in the parts the Chinese hope to make something of. The armed forces and police are far larger than anything Afghanistan can possibly support in the present or future. That means that the Americans (mainly) will have to support this artificial and inorganic creation forever.
The generals have "learned" that we cannot leave? The French thought that of Algeria until De Gaulle wisely decided to leave.
I say again. We pay these guys? pl