Afghanistan: An American Failure

Americans want to blame someone for a military failure namely an intelligence failure or strategic failure but in this case (as well as in Iraq) the failure belongs to America, the people.

War is ugly and often collateral damage results in the death of innocent civilians. War should be ugly or it would be too easy to make the decision to wage it but our American culture does not have the stomach for it. Our military leaders did not have an opportunity to develop an effective strategy because the American people did not like the ugliness of it.

Thermobaric weapons and 15,000 pound plus conventional bombs sucking the air out of caves were apparently too barbaric for use against extremists who support civilian airliners being turned into weapons, filming beheadings, and murdering innocent women and children.

The war in Afghanistan (as well as Iraq) should have lasted a year maybe three but our inability to accept the horror of war not only prolonged the conflict but caused our defeat. Our culture does not want smart bombs that navigate their way to a target and enter a specific window on a specific floor. No, Americans want a smart bomb that knocks on the door, asks politely if the resident is Taliban, and flys away when they say ‘no’ (and who wouldn’t) to detonate safely at some bomb park where all explosives play nicely together.

Now let me be clear, I am not talking about committing heinous war crimes such as the Haditha massacre in Iraq. No, this is about meeting brutality with brutality. Cruelty is one thing but brutality is war especially when fighting an enemy that respects strength and brutality. Fighting the Japanese, for example, during World War II would have been impossible if the American people had influence over strategy like today.

Afghanistan has been overrun by the Taliban because we shifted into nation-building and left the Taliban in tact. Why? Because the American people did not want to see the ugliness of war.

Afghanistan is an American failure.

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Writer. Retired Air Force Senior NCO & Intelligence Analyst. Combat veteran 🎖 I write Science Fiction, Horror, Westerns, and a bit about life & stuff.

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J. Lee Graves

J. Lee Graves

Writer. Retired Air Force Senior NCO & Intelligence Analyst. Combat veteran 🎖 I write Science Fiction, Horror, Westerns, and a bit about life & stuff.