Armchair Afghanistan

We don’t purport to know how to achieve progress in Afghanistan, but our guess is neither does anyone else. That does not stop them from yapping, though.

Military and civilian officials may utter complete sentences, but say nothing meaningful about the U.S. situation in Afghanistan. Have we learned anything about the U.S. plight there? Not really. We’re not saying anyone has attempted to mislead taxpayers or the thousands waiting for a promised military operation to commence, but haven’t you wondered, “Hey, what is the deal?”

We spoke with one defense official. The topic enraged him. We used the slang “goat rope” to describe Afghanistan in our very leading question. He responded “ALL CAPS.”

We were surprised and wanted to know more.

“The problems with the U.S. approach in Afghanistan started back in 2002 when we entered the country,” he said. “We lost focus then, and we have yet to regain it.”

When he was a commander there in 2004, he told the Army commanding general the enemy was growing noticeably stronger, despite U.S. military efforts and the work of the provincial reconstruction teams. The Army commander denied it. Many media reports since seem to parrot information they are fed, including possibly inaccurate information on Taliban strength. (Speculation. We have no proof of this.)

Another problem he explained was the U.S. penchant for “reinventing the wheel,” a continuing practice that can create confusion among military leaders, idle forces and politicos, not to mention the Afghan army we are led to believe is ready to fight. (Failing organizations reinvent or reorganize. Just an observation.)

Our source continued, “No one has explained to the American people that we are looking at 30-40 years there. No politician is willing to lay out the truth.” Election year or otherwise, we doubt anyone will tackle this topic.

Who can handle the truth? Our guess is the American people want the facts. It seems they are beginning to sense much of the information regarding Afghanistan in contradictory pabulum.

If one looks at headlines over the past couple of days, the lack of focus seems apparent. Of course everyone wants to tell his or her own story, but skim these offerings day after day and there is no theme other than allied conflict and confusion.

How would this read a year from now? Our official is dismissive. “Pull out and let them fight it out,” he said.

What is the truth about Afghanistan?

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