Sunday, July 19, 2009
Stumbled upon an interesting article by Michael Yon. Kind of nice to see that someone who knows what he's talking about has reached many of the same conclusions about this place that I have. It's tough to avoid the conclusion that we're being taken over here. Taken for everything we can provide, while we can provide it because developing this place is simply a herculean task. If anyone's doing a cost-benefit analysis of what's going on, I find it hard to believe they'd find this endeavor worth it at this point, though as an American I have full confidence that we can achieve anything given enough time. Frankly, I view a lot of what we're doing as enabling. And if there's anything an Afghan is especially good at, it's letting another person do his work for him and clean up his mess should such a person prove so willing. Our being here enables the local forces (the ANA, Afghan National Police) to sit back and let us do most of the fighting.
I'm not saying the ANA don't know how to fight, because I know from experience when the times get tough they are more than capable of turning it on and getting down to business. But since I've been over here I've seen the US forces in the area take a good number of casualties and KIAs. And I've yet to see the ANA lose a single soldier. Part of this is because the people we're fighting against sometimes don't target the ANA because they're fellow Muslims, but it's mostly because the ANA don't really get out there and do the kind of operations that would put them in danger...and would have more of an effect on the enemy. They like to sit back and let the US Army handle those missions. At this point in the war, the ANA should be doing the bulk of the fighting while the Americans sit back and provide fire support, medical support, and logistical help. But that's far from how it is. Allowing our absence to be felt might give the ANA the impetus to put up...or get overrun.
I will say this: the optimism, can-do attitude, perseverance, and industriousness of the Americans over here makes me very proud to be a part of what we're doing. Since I can't see our efforts magically producing those qualities in the average Afghan citizen, I foresee more of the same difficulties.