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02 February 2018


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Perhaps this is why - spoiler alert; BBC says Taliban are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan:



Never a good idea to get yourself in to an unwinnable war, should have been the lesson from Vietnam, but the Pentagon seems determined to continue refighting that war in an even less favourable terrain.

I suppose the depressing thing is that the Pentagon et al are still so committed to the Afghan War that they went all out to convince Trump to stay.

ex-PFC Chuck

Re LondonBob @ #2

Never a good idea to get yourself in to an unwinnable war . .

But what better way to keep the money flowing first to the contractors and thence a cut to the legacy political parties' and candidates' campaign coffers?


This war is a money machine for contractors and military supplies. The gravy train cannot be allowed to grind to a halt. I grieve for our country and its soldiers.


A little parallel from the business world. Companies that delay issuing earnings reports see their stock prices fall post report much more often than companies that do not delay.


No news can be worse news than bad news.


You might enjoy this article, it does a good job explicating the US DOD mindset regarding it Viet Nam experience.

Sid Finster

The irony is that Trump had a golden opportunity to disengage from Afghanistan when he came into office.

All Trump had to do was blame his inept predecessors and wash his hands of the whole thing. The overall mood would have been one of relief. Yes, there would be some domestic blowback ("Who Lost Afghanistan?" "Whither Pakistan?") but nothing compared to what the blowback he would face if he withdrew now, tail between legs.

Instead, Trump doubled down.



I believe history shows that the South Vietnamese were defeated only after the invasion by convential forces of North Vietnam 1975. It is the members of the House of Representatives that need to learn the lesson. Maybe they can ask some of the Vietnamese-Americans what happens to an ally when the US abandons because of domestic political pressure.


What would winning even look like? Ensuring Afghanistan became a modern and democratic oasis landlocked between a communist China, a theocratic Iran, a plethora of ex-Russian stomping grounds, and an Islamist Pakistan? That is about as Sysiphean a task as any.

They seem intent on staying for reasons that have little to do with the PR of creating a democratic Afghanistan void of a terrorist safe haven. There's a lot of wealth in Eurasia and the fear is the region falls under rival Chinese or Russian political dependency in determining how that wealth will be shared.

Peter VE

Another shocker.
In a similar vein, was any thinking done before they decided to cut off a lot of the aid to Pakistan? The generals in the ISI being cut off from the American teat have a lot of hostages easy to hand.


Since when has Afghanistan been an "ally" of the US?

I might also point out that the French bailed on Vietnam first. Then the US came in on a load of "domino theory" hogwash and a desire for China Sea oil.

Vietnam was just another war the US had no business being in.



"and a desire for China Sea oil." you are revealed as yet another economic determinist flake. Nobody gave a damn about the drop of oil in the South China Sea. The motivations were altogether deluded but political, not economic. pl



Two years after I left, the valley where I spent a year in South Vietnam was retaken by the Communists in the offensive of 1972. I didn’t realize this until I read “Bright Shining Lie” by Neil Sheehan years later. In Vietnam years, the USA is somewhere in 1974 in Afghanistan. Trying to hold on but some financial shock or revolt at home, and US troops will be leave. Either in an organized withdrawal or a catastrophic retreat like the British.


This is the base of the equation. Forget about nation building, democracy, etc. which are just pretexts to wage war wherever and whenever it suits them; all in the name of profits.


Yes I had just read that article, and that is why I included the Vietnam comment. It is hard to explain why anyone would seek to wage war in Afghanistan, and even more so why they would continue to do so after 17 odd years of failure.

Patrick Gordon Walker went on a fact finding mission for PM Harold Wilson in 1965, he concluded the US had the right strategy but that it was an unwinnable, in a conventional sense.

I suppose the US could maintain support indefinitely and hope some day their allies can stand on their own two feet, I think this was more likely in Vietnam than it is in Afghanistan. I guess this could be termed not losing, in an unconventional sense.

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