So glad somebody gets that the Afghan withdrawal ain’t cause it’s over

Anyone over thirty forty remembers Vietnam, and, hopefully, how peace with honor didn’t exactly turn out the way we hoped for the South Vietnamese. Quick rundown for the under forty crowd, sans philosophies/strategics/speculation: The U.S. ended a roughly ten year war in Southeast Asia in support of the South Vietnamese people, having beaten the Communist North Vietnamese government to a place where they were willing to cease hostilities against the South. Good for the South, good for the North, and good for Dick Nixon. Or so we thought.

The post-game wrap up came in the early part of 1973, and for a time all seemed well with the world. In Spring 1975, the North, having licked its wounds and fully rearmed, decided it was time to achieve Uncle Ho’s long term mission and resumed the fight. Without so much as a  “Fight’s On!” call, the North simply took it to the South. If you’re interested in reading the play by play with final score, dear reader, please Google “Operation Frequent Wind” and “Fall of Saigon”. The U.S. joined in for a brief bit, but in a way that most of us found shameful and an utter disgrace.

Fast forward to present day…and Afghanistan. There’s this cheeky fellow over on the Brit part of the planet, whose recent commentary might lead one to believe that we’re about to witness a replay of the final innings of the game in Southeast Asia.

Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup (Amazing, these really long titles of theirs. Whatever happened to Mister?), the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said he worried that the withdrawal was based on “political and electoral timescales”.

There’s much ado about what has been achieved, how much further there is to go, whether a force level of 200 thousand Police/Army is sufficient, and whether President Karzai (or his successor) is serious about maintaining the fight against the Taliban. In the midst of all the conversation, there is nothing pointing to a clear path forward with freedom from tyranny as the stated end goal. Or perhaps I missed that paragraph. So called Pundits claim a need for 400 thousand pair of Afghan Police/Army boots to maintain an adequate level of internal protection, but, clearly, half that number will have to do. Missing from the conversation is the subject of everyone’s BFF, Pockistahn, which clearly has impeded attempts to defeat the Taliban.

Pockistahn…befriending China, cozying up to Iran, and forming alliances throughout the Caucasus. And here’s me thinking back to Southeast Asia, and, once again, there’s China. Damn, if they aren’t that recurring open sore we keep having to deal with. Iran, building nukes, with their neighbor down the street who already have some. Tell me where your warm fuzzy index goes on that one. Russia, quiet as ever, but never truly silent in the background. Oh, and I mentioned the Caucasus. They who have oil, and industry, and like views of the world…contrary, for the most part, to those of western civilization. I might segue off on to how the Crusaders of old really screwed the pooch not getting the job done right the first couple of ventures out, but no need for tangents here. Right? Connecting dots yet, anyone?

So, now I’m back to this guy with the not unusually long title (for the Brits) of Air Chief Marshall Lord, and his opinion that the chosen way forward is all about upcoming elections. Barack Obama and Dick Nixon sharing a literary moment together as I am reminded of Robert Frost’s verse:

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Both having been elected with promises to keep and miles to go before they sleep, but neither particularly mindful of history or the result generated by their decisions. Which brings to mind George Santayana’s memorable quote:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Forty years down the road, some now say Vietnam has evolved into a respectable place to live. If you ask me, the price paid for relative quiet and peace was ginormous.The genocide was horrific, and personal freedom was irretrievably lost. Thirty years down the road from Rhodesia, we still have Robert Mugabe’s vision of Zimbabwe in play. No secrets there.

I’m wondering what the world will think in just forty months about Afghanistan. My opinion? We (the U.S.) are done in twenty months, and the country’s done in forty. Be ready to witness the celebration of the emergence of Talibanistan. With the American President receiving the nation’s leadership with open arms. Bet me.


About Mongo
Mongo only pawn in game of life.

4 Responses to So glad somebody gets that the Afghan withdrawal ain’t cause it’s over

  1. Justthisguy says:

    I’m with Jerry Pournelle and P.J. O’Rourke here. The former was in favor of short, sharp, godawfully violent bombings after 9/11 on every city in which they danced in the street about it, and the latter has said that one pays attention to Afghanistan at his peril. The Afghans may be pale and blue-eyed like a lot of us, but race is more than skin color; it’s the part between the ears which counts.

  2. Mongo says:

    This whole business of pulling out to win a reelection will lead to more disaster in SW Asia, which will spill over into Europe and, ultimately, end up here again. I’ve said it elsewhere that Arc Light is a really fine solution to most anyone’s woes, whether it be in the AF or Paki-land. Nothing like a 3 pack of BUFF’s to play a good game of Tali-whack, and make life right again.

    • Mongo says:

      PS SK1 said it over at Lex’ that sleep deprivation is one helluva motivator for peace. I tend to agree, hence Arc Light.

  3. Justthisguy says:

    As Jerry Pournelle has pointed out, we won the Vietnam thing and then Congress threw it away, by reneging on promises of re-supply, among other things. Jim Webb has said, “just try and find a man my age in Hanoi!”

    The fight was a long one with many detours which got lotsa folks undeservedly killed, but even with all the mistakes, we had it won, and the Congresscritters threw it away.

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