The Pentagon announced today that we have now "recovered" the surge troops from Afghanistan. That the last 35,000 U.S. Military personnel sent to Afghanistan whose purpose was to increase the number of troops there to a level sufficient to defeat the Taliban have now been brought home. That is something that makes me happy. It is something we should all be glad about and we should have a little celebration. Not because they were successful and the Taliban has been defeated and the remains driven out of Afghanistan. That simply has not happened.
The reason those troops did not defeat the Taliban are complex with a whole lot of things combining to create the result we have now pretty much accepted. It is important to note that our military people did not fail. They have endured and have been successful at seeking out and defeating the insurgents, whenever and where ever, they were told to (or allowed to).
We just lacked the clarity of mission and purpose -and the resolve to fight a war as a war, taking the kid gloves off, getting down in the grime and fighting dirty. It is not that we did not have the opportunity to win. We had almost won all the way back in 2002, but we got distracted and went off to take down a two bit dictator in Iraq -and pretty much forgot about Afghanistan for a couple of years giving the Taliban and the Islamic radicals time to re-organize, resupply and change tactics.
As for al Qaeda, well, our Administration likes to talk about defeating them, killing Bin Laden and many of their top officials. But, really, how can they claim to have defeated al Qaeda? Those murdering bastards have spread across the entire Middle East and North Africa. The attack on our Embassy and the killing of our diplomatic personnel last week was a terrorist attack by an al Qaeda organization in Libya. And why have they spread so far? Because we (the current American Administration) have been fighting them with diplomacy and drone attacks. Sure, the drone attacks have been effective and have taken out dozens of their 'fighters'. But, the plain fact is, they have thousands of fighters across the region from Iraq, to Yemen, to Libya to Somalia, to Bangladesh, to Niger and the Sudan. You can not defeat that with drone attacks and to suggest that you can is simple minded or purposefully deceptive.
So why should we be celebrating about bringing our 'surge' troops home? Because that is 35,000 Americans who will no longer be serving as convenient targets for insurgents, radicals and drug dealers who look at us as just another of a long line of foreigners who came to occupy that dust bowl. I will be even happier when the rest of our troops are safely home and this whole mess is relegated to history.
What will happen in Afghanistan when we are gone? The same thing that would have happened before we decided to go nation building by teaching the Afghans about democracy and propping up a corrupt government as their first example. They will return to the lives they like and have known for centuries. The tribes will return to the control of their little hamlets and and a weak central government will be tolerated until they too become to intrusive. Remember, there was a civil war against the Taliban already going on when we first became involved. There is always a civil war going on there. Doesn't anyone in the State Department read a history book?
Karzi will try to work a deal with the Taliban to ensure his personal survival and will probably be assassinated for it. Afghanistan will eventually go back to the way it was. Pakistan will go on trying to appease their own Islamic radicals and go on killing their own people until the radicals get smart and get themselves "voted" into power. Then we'll have another radical Islamic regime to deal with, this one armed with nuclear weapons already. But, fortunately for Israel, they are more likely to use them against India.
As for us? We'll go on trying to be the nice guys, offering money and aid to buy love, until they get around to attacking us again, which they will, and the whole damned cycle starts again.
Well, as I said, I am an optimist. I like to think that next time we'll have learned a little and do things a little differently. But what do I know? I still think there has to be an 'honest' politician out there we can find to lead the country through all these problems and that America will persevere and succeed, just as history tells us we have always managed to do.
Here ends today's rant. I'll try to be more cheerful tomorrow. Maybe we'll chat about the war on cockroaches, another conflict we never seem to be able to quite win.... (Thank God they don't have the vote or the Democrats would have made them protected minority by now and stepping on one would be politically incorrect).
Live Long and Prosper... (and stay out of the Middle East)