Afghanistan. Yes, it is time to pack up and come home. The original mission was to drive out the Taliban and deny Afghanistan as a training/staging site for al Qaeda. Five hundred or so CIA , Special Forces troops, plus the fighters of the Northern Alliance assisted by the firepower of the US Air Force and Navy did exactly that years ago. War over. Mission accomplished. Leave some Special Forces and CIA personnel in country and focus on other strategic problems.
But no. Then the liberal politicians took over. Iraq was a mistake, they said. Afghanistan is the “good war.” Get the troops out of Iraq and surge our force in Afghanistan. Develop a nation-building strategy, for that is required by the new mission. Wait a minute, didn’t we try some of that in Vietnam? Our military forces, even though frustrated by archaic rules of engagement, never lost a firefight, much less a battle. In war, our uniformed men and women do very well. No one is better. But nation building is another thing. We don’t do that. No one trains in the skills, whatever they are, for nation building. If there wasn’t a nation there to start with, there will not be one when we quit trying. I know. I was there. Corrupt leaders ruling by military and police forces do not a nation make.
Alexander the Great, and his mixed force from conquered lands, once invaded and ruled Afghanistan but he did not make it a nation. And history does not tell us much about his success and tactics. Later, the British and Russians tried to invade and rule Afghanistan. Invading they found easy. Ruling was hard. They both left beaten and bloody. The Afghan tribes are not, never have been, and today are not ready to submit to a centralized government. Just ask the Pakistanis. How well have they have managed or extended their national authority to their tribal areas? Karzai is corrupt and with or without our military forces, he and his “centralized” government will not last.
Failure to succeed at nation building in Afghanistan cannot be blamed on U.S. military forces. They are the best. Just don’t expect them to create a nation out of tribes. Political authority that sees the world as they want or believe it to be rather than how it is should not expect anything but failure. Afghanistan is a near perfect example of “mission creep” and political expediency snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s time to leave. Do not spend anymore blood and treasure on mindless political objectives. Leave the course of Afghanistan to the tribes, and our intelligence people and Special Forces, none of whom are interested in nation building. Afghanistan is not “the good war.”