Our Lost Cause in Afghanistan
More and more, despite the reluctance to accept the fact, Afghanistan is looking more and more like a Vietnam in the outcome. It's too bad.
Remember how the offensive for Marjah occupied the headlines, the long build up, the over careful rules about who to fire at and not to fire at, how some 15000 US troops were deployed against maybe 1000 Taliban. Those odds are right out of the Vietnam kill rate book, where bodycounts meant that battles were only fought when the odds were 10-1 in US favor and air support was available.
The showcase battle of Marjah, to secure the area from the Taliban, did work for some time, as long as the US presence remained to protect the locals. But, like in Vietnam, as soon as the US presence was reduced to an ineffective level, the Marjah locals are bowing to the Taliban threats and tactics. These locals are fleeing the area because American troop strength now cannot protect them. The Taliban terrorizes the locals. Like the Viet Cong in Nam, the Taliban has infiltrated the areas of Marjah, undermining everything the US had won only three months ago! The locals fear both the Americans and Taliban as they trust neither and gunfights now occur with more frequency as US troops leave to prep for yet another showcase battle at Kandahar. Many of the claimed Tailban never were killed, they did what the VC did in nam, dropped their weapons, assumed their farmer status until now. The locals refuse to help ID Taliban fighters in fear of reprisals-just like Vietnam.
None of this is a good omen.