The problem that we had in both Vietnam and Afghanistan can be summed up in one sentence:
"We are creating enemies faster than we can kill them".
There ARE better ways of dealing with "the enemy" than are more traditional methods, and Greg Mortenson has written two books about how to do it> Simply put, education is the answer:
During the Vietnam war, the Viet Cong studied American literature.
The U.S. Army taught G.I.s how to peel potatoes.
Maureen Dowd's column this morning explains what went wrong in Afghanistan:
Awash in grief and anger, we invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 to hunt down Osama bin Laden and punish the Taliban for letting him turn a maze of caves into a launching pad to attack America.
But, despite the lessons the Soviets learned in 10 hard years there fighting ghostly warriors who disappeared into the mountains, American officials and generals never absorbed this simple fact: Even the battles we won, we lost in a way. As we grasped for our own revenge, what kind of revenge quest did we inspire in those who watched daisy cutter bombs rain hellfire or a wedding party disintegrate in a flash from an American airstrike? How many enemies have we spawned trying to help Afghanistan?
Taliban leaders say Americans have all the clocks, but they have all the time.
As with Vietnam, many of those in charge knew for a long time that the war was unwinnable, but they hid the evidence, giving rosy forecasts while burning through $2.2 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives.
Joe Biden has carried a card for the last 12 years with the exact number of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spoke of his late son, Beau, his “North Star,” who was deployed to Iraq.
“I’m the first president in 40 years who knows what it means to have a child serving in a war zone,” he said.
Hopefully, our experience in Afghanistan will be the graveyard of America’s propensity to believe it can do whatever it wants with its military, without thinking through the consequences.