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26 December 2014


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ex-PFC Chuck

Col., as you see it, what strategic interests of the US are served by our continued presence in Afghanistan in 2015 going forward?


ex PFC Chuck

None at all. Our continued presence is just a habit now. pl

Pete Deer


"None at all. Our continued presence is just a habit now."

An extremely bad and expensive habit, maybe even an addiction.



let's see, I'm lazy today so with out a search.... if memory serves I think the quote is..."the graveyard of empires".

JM Gavin

I spent a large part of the last 13 years in Afghanistan. If you told me during my first vacation there that we would end up losing the war, I'd have laughed and said "How is that possible?"

We have lost the war, and we had to work very hard to lose it. It would have been so much easier to have won, and so much faster. We would not have left so much blood and treasure behind, nor would we have continued to visit horror and violence on the Afghan people.

We now are leaving because we have been defeated. I am sure some will say we won the battles. Well, if that makes them feel better, fine.

To paraphrase for our President "This is how wars are surrendered in the 21st Century."

De Oppresso Liber


robt willmann


Off topic, but I heard on the radio news that a call (maybe a prank or maybe not) was made to a small town police station in south Texas by the border saying that a Border Patrol agent had been kidnapped by a Mexican drug trafficking organization.


"You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia'..."


As the last decade has shown, there are things far more addictive than heroin.


I'm curious...if you are of mind to, what would 'winning' the war have looked like?


I think we are 'there' now primarily because each political party is scared to 'get out', cut off 'aid', whatever, and then have another attack on the US occur which seemed to have its origins in country. I think this a ridiculous, simplistic, and unlikely prospect, don't get me wrong. But I think the Parties think if it happened on their watch....they would out of power for decades.


PL, I'm not a military person. But I know business. When we make investments we carefully assess risk and game outcomes, and ALWAYS have an exit strategy that is carefully and continuously maintained for the life of the investment. I'm sure this is also military doctrine (and for all I know businesses adopted this approach from the military). What happened here? And in Iraq?

JM Gavin

"Winning" has different dimensions, militarily, politically, socially, and more. We lost in every category.

Among other sins...

We selected and then supported a two-bit hustler and crook as he built one of the largest criminal empires in modern history, devoted to enriching himself and his cronies.

We imposed a system of government completely foreign to the Afghan people, one which the Afghan people neither wanted nor supported.

We were blind to ethnic and tribal divisions, and then allowed our military force to be applied to further partisan agendas.

We intervened and took sides in a civil war, and denied that the Taliban had a legitimate agenda supported by a large percentage of the Pashtun population.

We became an occupying army, and told ourselves that we were not, because we were somehow not like the Russians.

We kept repeating the lie that "Afghanistan" is a country, even though Afghanistan possesses none of the traits which constitute a country i.e. possess clearly defined borders, have a means to secure those borders, have a population with some sort of shared culture, language, history, or desires, or even have a national identity.

We deliberately concealed the truth, evident at every step of the way, that our actions were not working, and that we were failing.

Our military leaders consistently lied to the American people, conducting Information Operations against the US public (in violation of US law), in order to achieve political ends for elected US politicians, all to further their own careers.

Worst of all, we started a war without possessing the moral courage to fight it right, and caused misery and destruction on a massive scale. Because of this, our actions were not just wrong. Our actions were immoral.

I will bear the stain of this until the day I die, but I accept my role, because I know who I am. I am the bad guy.

Winning could have looked any number of ways. Losing looks just like it does now.

That is all.



If left to its own devices the military here always makes careful risk/benefit analyses, but in some cases the elected civilian government over-rides that calculus. pl



To continue the business analogy, the military in the US polity is a "cost center" like PR, quality control, pay and benefits, etc. For the political/managerial class the "profit centers" are entirely concerned with winning elections and gaining/retaining power. pl

Babak Makkinejad

In your opinion, this failure was caused by an accumulation large numbers of mistakes - big and small - or was there a singular event/mistake from which everything else followed (follows)?



Nothing concrete as of yet as far as it being valid or not.

But that's why I don't go to Mexico as well.

JM Gavin

Hubris, and human weakness on a colossal scale. Over and over again.

Ishmael Zechariah

JM Gavin,

Thanks! If only folks like you were the majority at flag rank.

Ishmael Zechariah

robt willmann

On another topic again....

Who is harassing Malaysia?

Malaysia flight 370 "disappears" in March 2014.

Then, Malaysia flight MH17 is shot down over Ukraine, most likely by the Ukrainian government or its contractor or a proxy. Malaysia is excluded from the group "investigating" the crash.

Now, several hours ago, an AirAsia passenger jet goes missing during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore. AirAsia is based in Malaysia--




LTG James Gavin died in 1990. pl

JM Gavin

Indeed, I am just a working stiff, my only connection to LTG Gavin is our service in the US Army (and my respect for him).



FB Ali

Nevertheless, your comprehensive assessment of why the US misadventure in Afghanistan has been a total failure is spot-on.

Just as the Iraq one was.

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