It’s been a while since I’ve ranted about Afghanistan. So I’m do. I’ve got plenty of other articles about the war there, have made it clear that I am very sceptical about a counterinsurgency operation in the country. Here are my encapsulated reasons for scepticism:
- Afghanistan has little strategic value.
- There are countries that support more overt forms of international terrorism. Our resources should be used in those countries if our stated strategy is to minimize the capabilities of al-Qaeda.
- We don’t have enough troops for true counterinsurgency operations.
- For political reasons, we aren’t brutal when we need to be. This doesn’t mean bombing soccer fields filled with children. It means making the war very painful for the enemy. It’s not painful for them. The Taliban dictates when and where battles happen, how much force is used and moves about almost at will.
- General David Patraeus said that we are Nation Building, and we are. The economic costs far outweigh any potential benefit we gain from this type of thing.
- The length of the war has already damaged national prestige.
- Afghan corruption will ultimately prevent Afghanistan from succeeding, no matter the efforts of America.
The most frustrating aspect of the war, is the reigns placed n American troops. Very basic uses of artillary are denied for the most ridiculous reasons. A civilian may get hit on the head by a falling smoke cannister? Really? Has there ever been similar concern for American troops getting hit on the head by smoke canisters? Of course not. They’re only soldiers afterall.
If there were any chance of winning the war, the Afghan people wouldn’t care if one of their own died from a one-in-a-million cannister-to-the-head episode. History is filled with the heroics of mere farmers who endured the most terrible of burdens in their fight against real or perceived tyranny. Apparently, according to the current US doctrine in the war, the people of Afghanistan don’t think the Taliban is all that tyrannical. If US officials believe that the Afghan civilian psyche is so fragile, it can be broken by a single unintentional death in a war zone. If this is true, we have no chance. If the Afghan psyche is not so breakable, than we are not using the appropriate amount of force to ensure minimal American troop losses. Either way, it’s bad.