Talk about a shitty job. How would you like to be in Marine Gen. John Allen’s shoes, err, boots?
Allen, the chief U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, got grilled by war-weary Congress members a couple weeks ago, yet somehow managed to say with a straight face that the mission was “on track.” (Score one for military bearing.)
He boasted that Afghan security forces have expanded from 276,000 to 330,000. And on the face of it, that sounds swell. Unfortunately, it seems the training of at least some of these dudes (I don’t think there are any gals) is hardly up to par.
The Taliban killed 9 of them, and abducted 11 more in a two-day period. And this isn’t “news.” I regularly read stories of the Taliban running circles around these dudes. And, seriously… If you’re armed and you get abducted in a war zone, then I think you’re a might bit under trained.
But, assuming you were caught off guard by this (Hey, the snows just started melting…), you’d think you’d be ready two days later. But, no. Again, a guard was posted, the rest went to bed, and the Taliban killed the sole guard and routed the rest — 10 more dead, just another night in Afghanistan.
Even the knuckle-dragging Republicans want to call it quits, and public support is lower than ever.
On the bright side, we didn’t burn any Korans this week or have any Marines get busted on video for pissing on dead bodies.
And even though France just yanked 200 troops out of the country as part of an accelerated withdrawal, I guess there’s still a slim chance of “mission success,” whatever that looks like. (I’m guessing the slim chance is at about .001 percent, and that mission success could be defined as President Hamid Karzai controlling the capitol and much of the country, and running things a bit less corrupt than they already are — fat chance of that.)
I don’t doubt that Gen. Allen thinks we’re on track, or if he doesn’t, then I’m sure he thinks he can salvage the mission and still pull it off. He’s a military commander, and they teach you in the military to never give up. To accomplish the mission regardless of the odds. To keep your bearing when things go bad.
I respect his views, and I super-respect my brothers and sisters in arms serving over there, but it’s time the civilian establishment ordered our military to speed up its withdrawal. We need to leave sooner rather than later.
It took George Washington eight years to defeat the world’s greatest super power. We’ve been in Afghanistan 10 years and I doubt even he thinks we’re any closer to winning.
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
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