I'm going to ask you to read this, by Major Danny Sjursen, U.S. Army, in TomDispatch.
As I hope readers have figured out by now, I see absolutely no case for a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Neither does Major Sjursen. Do read, but I'll just give you this pull quote:
Remember something: this won’t be America’s first Afghan “surge.” Or its second, or even its third. No, this will be the U.S. military’s fourth crack at it. Who feels lucky? First came President George W. Bush’s "quiet" surge back in 2008. Next, just one month into his first term, newly minted President Barack Obama sent 17,000 more troops to fight his so-called good war (unlike the bad one in Iraq) in southern Afghanistan. After a testy strategic review, he then committed 30,000 additional soldiers to the “real” surge a year later. That’s what brought me (and the rest of B Troop, 4-4 Cavalry) to Pashmul district in 2011. We left -- most of us -- more than five years ago, but of course about 8,800 American military personnel remain today and they are the basis for the surge to come. . . .
, there are two things the upcoming “mini-surge” will emphatically not do:
* It won’t change a failing strategic formula.
Imagine that formula this way: American trainers + Afghan soldiers + loads of cash + (unspecified) time = a stable Afghan government and lessening Taliban influence.
It hasn’t worked yet, of course, but -- so the surge-believers assure us -- that’s because we need more: more troops, more money, more time. Like so many loyal Reaganites, their answers are always supply-side ones and none of them ever seems to wonder whether, almost 16 years later, the formula itself might not be fatally flawed. . . .