Afghanistan – Vietnam All Over Again

The only war the U.S. ever fought and lost was the Vietnam War.  Excuse me, I mean the Vietnam United Nations Police Action.

One of the greatest difficulties we had in Vietnam, besides it being run by the United Nations, was that we never knew for certain who our friends and enemies really were.  Sure, we could recognize the various uniforms and clothes of the regimental North Vietnamese and Chinese, but it was those that donned other outfits that proved to be the most dangerous.

U.S. troops could move into a village and although the civilians appeared friendly, you never knew when one of them would pull out a weapon and start firing at us or toss a grenade our way.  Then there were the more cleaver Viet Cong who dressed in South Vietnamese uniforms and infiltrated U.S. military bases to kill our servicemen.  There were times in Vietnam that our military personnel didn’t know who they could trust.  They were afraid to turn their backs on anyone other than their fellow American soldiers.

The same thing is happening now in Afghanistan.  Three days in a row, American soldiers have been attacked by Afghan government forces or insurgents wearing their uniforms.  Since the beginning of August, there have been at least a dozen such attacks resulting in the death of 15 Americans and other international forces fighting with us.  Four Americans were killed in the latest of these attacks.

President Obama told the world that we would begin pulling out of Afghanistan and be totally out by the end of 2014.  Efforts to train and strengthen Afghan military and police have intensified and as it has, United Nations security efforts have weakened.  Currently, our troops have no idea if Afghan nationals are turning against them or if the weakened security has allowed more insurgents to infiltrate the ranks of those supposedly being trained to protect Afghanistan.

Like Vietnam, insurgents hide amongst the civilian population.  They have no problems sacrificing those civilians if it helps their cause, but if we kill any of those civilians, we are condemned by everyone.  The insurgents know this and rely on our reluctance to attack civilian quarters.  This makes any kind of effective warfare impossible to wage and even harder to win.

The old Soviet Union spent just over 9 years fighting the same war we are fighting now and they ended up packing up and leaving without really accomplishing much.  We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan now for nearly 11 years and like the Soviets, we’ve accomplished little to insure their stability and freedom.

Americans continue to die in a war we can’t win.  If our administration really cared about our service men and women, they wouldn’t wait until the end of 2014 to withdraw.  I’d tell them to pack up and get out now and leave the Afghans to fight amongst themselves as they have for the past several thousand years.