“Ten Years Gone”

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That’s the title of a sour but thoughtful piece now up on Small Wars Journal:

As in Vietnam, the war in Afghanistan was lost before it was begun: it is lost because it cannot be won. Again our massive and superior military force is losing a campaign to a tough insurgent force. Again we are spending tens of billions overseas, and collapsing under our own weight in the field. Again our strength is being used against us. And again, by providing military answers to political questions, we are in quicksand in the developing world.

It’s by Stan Coerr, a ground-combat commander who served in Iraq. Something tells me this is going to be the theme emanating from some military and political quarters moving forward in Afghanistan. The lesson — of both Vietnam and Afghanistan — is that the military is a destroyer, not a builder. When we apply military force to solve non-military problems, we rarely prevail.