Un Winnable Wars And The Orphan Generals

By Alexey Braguine
Nov. 19, 2012

Remember how the American Afghan War Started? That was a long time ago and you are forgiven if you don't remember. It was a short war and the Americans won it.

The objective was to topple the Afghan government as punishment for providing shelter to a suspected terrorist. I say suspected because the case against Osama Bin Ladin was never proven.

Special Forces went in, tied up with the Northern Alliance and, often on horseback, galloped across the country. When reaching Kabul, they were greeted as liberators. There were flowers, dancing in the streets.

Thoroughly defeated, the hated Taliban fled.

The US sent in more troops. American B-52 bombers converted the Tora Bora mountains into a moonscape. Osama Bin Ladin wasn't home when American troops paid him a call.

Loaded with dollars and protected by US Special Forces, Hamid Karzai left his exile in Pakistan, and became president of Afghanistan. Americans gave him more money. Karzai became rich, his brother also.

The American Army stayed, and stayed, and stayed. The Afghans noticed that they had not been liberated but occupied.. The Taliban returned. American forces retaliated by bombing weddings and other civilian targets, More people joined the Taliban. The US dragged in its NATO allies who made as much of a mess as the American occupiers.

The war became un winnable.

Imagine yourself being a general in the US Army. The President calls you and says, "Joe, I am naming you commander of our forces in Afghanistan. Go and win me that war."

As an experienced military commander, you know this is the kiss of death. You will go down in history as that guy who lost in Afghanistan. After leaving the White House you go to the BOQ where you have parked your bag in a VIP suite and get drunk. The bourbon provided in the mini bar is top notch and gives you great ideas- The war is un winnable, therefore I am not going to lose it. The guy who replaces me will be left holding the bag. "bwa ha ha. All I gotta do is to tell the idiot President is that we are at the edge of victory. Congress will love it too."

After the confirmation hearings, the press labels you a hero and off you go to the world's most isolated place in the world--your headquarters in Kabul. Everyone in there lies. With nothing to do but hope the war will last another year, you exchange Emails with a nice lady who understands you better than your wife.

Remember how many generals ended up badly in or after Afghanistan? Neither do I.


About the author: Alexey Braguine spent four years in Vietnam and Laos during the American involvement there. He has also worked in the Middle East and has visited Pakistan-Afghan border areas. He is the author of Kingmaker, a geopolitical thriller.

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