Michael's Dispatches

Afghanistan: CUT LOSSES

23 August 2012

image001-1000U.S. Rocket Strike, Kandahar Province, 2011

Most people likely wish to hear that everything will turn out right in Afghanistan.  The reality is that it will not end well.  This bastard war will have a thousand fathers and nobody will claim it.

In 2009, I wrote, “If a writer wants to make money, he should avoid truth and tell people what they want to hear.  Yet to win the war, tell the truth.”

Since 2006, at minimum, the AfPak war on the whole has been going down.  Only in 2010 [correction 2011] did I see some flicker of hope for a change of direction.  In my view, that flicker has been snuffed.  And writing truthfully about Afghanistan will never pay the bills, because I have nothing to say that people want to hear.  It is just bad news atop more bad news.

image003-1000USAID project came to standstill in Nimroz Province, Afghanistan, 2011

Our continued losses in Afghanistan are for nothing.  We should continue with a smaller presence to harass and kill terrorists, and losses from that are expected and part of the fight.  But the ongoing larger war is going nowhere.  We have been there since 2001.  This is 2012.  There is no vaguely discernible end.  We should look at Afghanistan as a century-long project, to be put on a far backburner.  The United States has problems to deal with at home.

image005-1000Shortly after IED strike, Kandahar Province, 2011

On 21 January 2012, I published the following, and wish to reiterate today:

Time to Leave Afghanistan

This war is going to turn out badly. We are wasting lives and resources while the United States decays and other threats emerge.  We led the horse to water.

Importantly, there is no value in pretending that Pakistan is an ally. We should wish the best of luck to the Afghans, and the many peaceful Pakistanis, and accelerate our withdrawal of our main battle force. The US never has been serious about Afghanistan. Under General Petraeus we were starting to gain ground, but the current trajectory will land us in the mud.

The enemies will never beat us in Afghanistan.  Force on force, the Taliban are weak by comparison.  Yet this is their home.  There is only so much we can do at this extreme cost for the many good Afghan people.  We must reduce our main effort and concentrate on other matters.  Time to come home.

Michael Yon

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