Here is a story headline in the NYT this morning: Attack at Kabul Hotel Deflates Security Hopes in Afghanistan. Really? You had security hopes? This is no different than Vietnam in that the government cannot and never will stand on its own two feet. In a Daily Beast article this morning by Peter Beinart, Kabus Bombing’s Political Fallout, he quoted a local car dealer, Nazir Amini, caught in Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel bombing as saying, “If they give the security responsibilities to the current government at 10:00 a.m., the government will collapse around 12 noon. They cannot live without foreigners.”
But I think what is more honest and direct were his indictments of President Obama and our government’s failure to face the reality of Afghanistan. And here the parallels with Vietnam are so true:
“…Obama did imply that his administration’s surge has so weakened the Taliban that they’ll trade their weapons for negotiations and eventually join the current government, thus allowing the U.S. to leave an Afghanistan headed towards peace. That’s what Mr. Amini was disputing. There’s an honest way to advocate for withdrawal from Afghanistan and a dishonest way. The dishonest way is to suggest that we’ll leave behind a government that can secure the country and a political process than can end the war. The honest way is to acknowledge that the Afghanistan we leave behind will be a chaotic, ugly place where the Taliban rules large swaths of the country, and much of what we have built may be washed away.”
We can never win there and it really does not make any difference. It is the lesson we should have learned from Vietnam, but we did not and our hubris will continue the suffering and emptying of our treasury because we can’t face reality.