Next month will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and USA’s twenty year involvement in Afghanistan has been a disaster. Not since the Fall of Saigon (end of Vietnam War) has the United States had to leave an extensive war effort with our heads tucked down in failure.
It was President Obama who took out Osama Bin Laden in year 2011, which was the biggest victory the United States will see in our twenty year involvement in this war operation.
Launching the Iraq War was an historic, huge blunder, as USA diverted resources and focus from Afghanistan, leading a forever war that went nowhere fast. Incredible incompetence, and our military establishment and politicians need to hear this, because in the history books, America mostly wins our wars.
In the 20th Century, Republicans were masters at American warfare. Generals MacArthur and Eisenhower are both giants and legends of world history warfare. Trained of centuries of war, both were great warriors who won our nation’s most difficult war, on different theatres of war. They earned their glory and legacy.
Through the era of President George H.W. Bush with stunning success in the Gulf War, Republicans excelled in American warfare. Into the 21st Century, mostly, Republicans are lousy at war. Today’s Republicans are weak at war strategy, judgment, spending, instinct, and common sense.
Just being fair here, but as a Biden critic, the President gets an A on his report card for bringing an end to the war in Afghanistan, under fierce criticism from the nation’s war hawks.
Over 2300 American military personnel have died while serving in Afghanistan.
From a financial perspective, the United States spent upwards of $2 trillion in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (interest by 2050 is $6.5 trillion – Source: AP).
Afghanistan is very poor, and a tough nation to win wars in. Afghanistan has an economy of near $20 billion in GDP. About the size of Vermont’s economy. And over the course of twenty years, USA blew trillions in taxpayer dollars to let the Afghan army now likely fall to the Taliban.
Just in the last month, as the U.S. military began pulling assets out, the Afghanistan military simply fell apart as the Taliban made rapid gains. That the Afghan army quickly ‘evaporated’ begs the question, what was USA doing for twenty years occupying Afghanistan? Apparently nothing!
It is widely accepted that a main reason the Soviet Union (today’s Russia) communist model imploded was because of it’s forever war (1979-1989) in Afghanistan. We didn’t learn from the Soviets 10 year experience. Took us 20 years to end this war.
To make a historical comparison, in just four years (between 1941-1945), the United States spent over $4 Trillion (in 2019 dollars) to defeat Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. Let this sink in. We spent (what would be in today’s dollars) $4 trillion to defeat the two most hostile nations in world history, globally, and did it in four years. Not twenty years, to lose it all.
Reports coming out of Afghanistan that the Taliban are making major gains are disturbing. But in war, once the occupying force pulls out, whichever side is strongest is going to brutally destroy the other side to seize and maintain power. We’ve seen this over and over throughout history.
President Biden may remember all too well how things ended with the Fall of Saigon (end of Vietnam War) in 1975, and the mad rush to evacuate. That’s how wars often end.
Time to cut our losses in Afghanistan and bring our troops home.
Photo Credit: Hugh Van Es, and his iconic Fall of Saigon photo from 1975.