I saw a remark online that Afghanistan was turning into a "Death Spiral". That set me off.
Afghanistan is difficult, as any honest person will admit, and will remain difficult for quite some time. Expect to see advances and setbacks. Expect to see every little bit of negative news from there magnified either by our enemies or their enablers in the MSM. And expect us to remain there for a long, long time.
I am just coming back from my first tour there. I am currently in Kuwait, waiting on plane. I will probably go back at some point, either in the military, or with some other agency (looking at options to serve).
You will hear a lot of complaining about things, and a lot of that is quite valid. We are screwing up some incredibly important things, and many of those are being addressed, some better than others. Others still are getting little attention.
We did not win WWII or any other war through an unbroken series of battlefield victories and sound strategic decisions. We won every war we ever won through soul-numbing, clenched-teeth determination; in the huts, on the battlefield, and all the way up to the White House. It's hard to stay focused when the enemy succeeds. It's even harder when we screw things up through what you might call unforced errors. But staying focused is the only thing that works.
Afghanistan will not be won in a year, or in five, or in ten. It may be a lot better in ten years, and I certainly hope so. This is one of those "hinge of the world" problems, and we had better treat it as the long-term, difficult priority that it is.
Death Spiral, my ass.
I had two good friends shot and killed while we were there. One of them worked in my shop and stayed in the same open-bay-style hut with me. We were as close as could be.
We worked with some locals as well. They were just devastated by the news, when I told them, individually. These Afghan Muslim men pray for my friends, and call them Martyrs. Both of my friends were driving forces behind some of the more social/cultural interactions--teaching Afghan soldiers to play baseball, working out together, and such. Also, they both were involved in Humanitarian Aid missions, as well as coordinating charity shipments above and beyond the normal military channels.
These facts are not lost on Afghans in the area, and the memories of my friends are not gone from that country. One of the locals we work with told me of a dream he had, and long story short, it was part of how he is coping with the loss.
You will not hear stories like this unless you go and look for them. Go and look for them.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Posted by afghanmoon at 8:05 PM