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Afghanistan: Another Disgusting Pullout?
Just my opinion, but refuting it may be difficult.
Applying historical lessons to the present....
"Nature abhors a vacuum."
That quote variously attributed to a writing of Francois Rabelais in 1534, and to Aristotle of a much earlier time, has continuing applicability today in Afghanistan, just as it did to the fall of South Vietnam.
The relevance and importance today is enormous, and we need to pause in this political season and just think a moment amidst the hyperbole of American policy related to pulling our troops out of Afghanistan sooner (now) or later (2013-2014).
We have a well-trained, modern military force of combined arms in Afghanistan, which includes support personnel of doctors, nurses, medics, quartermaster, and everything a modern army needs to conduct the ongoing war using satellites, drones, and other sophisticated intelligence, all run by personnel on the ground and behind the lines with the best education and training available in the world.
With our military serving overlapping tours, we have current tactical expertise which has been gained at a very high price in personnel, equipment, and national treasure, but the sum total of our current involvement is a competent, modern military force, waging a sustained effort to once again defeat a determined Taliban enemy.
Admittedly we have problems with a neighboring Pakistan, and a trouble-making Iran, which allow sanctuaries for the Taliban, and expensive headaches for our commanders on the ground. Both of these neighboring countries give clear signs of intending to meddle in Afghanistan for many years to come, no matter what United States commitments are made toward a strong and viable Afghanistan following our military's departure.
In my opinion, our military's departure (no matter now or later) will create that vacuum which nature abhors, and it cannot be filled by the best trained and educated Afghanistani military we can prepare between now and that future date.
Putting Afghan corruption and neighboring troublemakers aside, and recognizing that an inspired mix of Afghan and foreign mujaheddin kicked the Soviet troops out of Afghanistan with what was not inconsiderable help from the US, do we really expect an Afghanistan regime led by President Karzai and other Afghan leaders to be able to duplicate anything similar to the American military's present contribution to Afghanistan's security in the forseeable future?
Where will the doctors, nurses, quartermaster, pilots, and sophisticated intelligence, much less the supplies and financial investment to maintain the current momentum come from once the US military withdraws all of that which America is planning to withdraw?
Using the lessons of South Vietnam where the South Vietnamese started with leadership we had trained for years and a military equipped with what they already had and all we left behind for them, an indigenous underground and forces from the north steam rollered over those forces in a very short time when Congress and the American public withdrew all military and logistical support. Nature abhorred the vacuum we left in a country we were more heavily invested in than we are in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, the level of education of the South Vietnamese was superior to the level of education in Afghanistan. South Vietnam had the doctors, nurses, pilots, and other personnel which will be so hard to train and prepare in a less sophisticated country where the educational system such as it exists is devoted to religious instruction and until very recently had excluded women and girls from gaining an education.
If the current modern, well trained, equipped, and sophisticated US military cannot decisively dismantle the Taliban (which can now bide its time and prepare for the eventual withdrawal), can we not look ahead and clearly see already another disgusting American withdrawal and the resulting vacuum?
If what we see, is what we will get, how can we expect our leaders (or theirs) to fashion a different outcome?
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
While slightly dated, this insight still has value today:
- Timetable for withdrawal 'hardly manageable' | Asia | DW.DE | 13.04.2012
NATO is planning to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 - a date that will be extremely difficult to meet, as General Egon Ramms explained to DW.