‘Muddled Thinking’ on Afghanistan

by | Nov 20, 2013

Army Afghanistan

Barry McCaffrey told Chuck Todd of MSNBC this morning that the proposed Afghan security agreement reflects “muddled thinking” in terms of the foolishness of leaving a necessarily embattled remnant in a “vast and hostile country.” He also pointed out the fact that the remnant would be 800 miles from the sea and the US Navy.

I could not agree more. The fate of the British mission at Kabul in 1879 comes to mind. Major Sir Louis Cavagnari and his escort of soldiers from the Guides were wiped out to the last man after a pitched battle with a Kabul mob. McCaffrey insisted that there are no important US security interests in Afghanistan. Once again, I agree. The civil war in Afghanistan is an intra-Pushtun war. It is not a war against the shattered al-Qaeda who once were a powerful force in the country.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser to Obama, then made an appearance to deny that the agreement is a political fig leaf to cover the embarrassment of Afghan/American looting of our aid money and yet another defeat endured in the name of the failed COIN philosophy. He made it clear that if the agreement is signed, the US will continue to “bleed” billions of dollars into Afghanistan. At the same time he left open the possibility that the US will “pocket” the agreement and withdraw all but a small group of advisers. This scenario would ensure the continuation of the process of embezzlement that has persisted for so long.

Let us hope that the Afghans will save us from the folly of further participation in their civil war.

Flickr/The U.S. Army

Reprinted with permission.


  • Col. W. Patrick Lang

    Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets). He served in the Department of Defense both as a serving officer and then as a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. He is a highly decorated veteran of several of America’s overseas conflicts including the war in Vietnam. He was trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years.

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