Pointing Fingers over Afghanistan

Earlier this month —before the Afghanistan collapse— IG John Sopko, released an interactive presentation entitled: “What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction.” The report is not classified, so anyone can read it, including all the armchair generals now bloviating on the “news.”

Anyway, it is broken down into lessons (that are maybe learned, but probably not):

  • Lesson 1: Strategy – The U.S. government continuously struggled to develop and implement a coherent strategy for what it hoped to achieve.
  • Lesson 2: Timelines – The U.S. government consistently underestimated the amount of time required to rebuild Afghanistan, and created unrealistic timelines and expectations that prioritized spending quickly. These choices increased corruption and reduced the effectiveness of programs.
  • Lesson 3: Sustainability – Many of the institutions and infrastructure projects the United States built were not sustainable.
  • Lesson 4: Personnel – Counterproductive civilian and military personnel policies and practices thwarted the effort.
  • Lesson 5: Insecurity – Persistent insecurity severely undermined reconstruction efforts.
  • Lesson 6: Context – The U.S. government did not understand the Afghan context and therefore failed to tailor its efforts accordingly.
  • Lesson 7: Monitoring and Evaluation – U.S. government agencies rarely conducted sufficient monitoring and evaluation to understand the impact of their efforts.

(There is also a PDF but as so many regular readers are on mobile devices…)

From the conclusion:

“…In other words, according to former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Jack Keane, “After the Vietnam War, we purged ourselves of everything that had to do with irregular warfare or insurgency, because it had to do with how we lost that war. In hindsight, that was a bad decision.” After all, declining to prepare after Vietnam did not prevent the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; instead, it ensured they would become quagmires.”

In other words, the outcome was inevitable, the only question was what President was going to do it.

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5 Responses to Pointing Fingers over Afghanistan

  1. R White says:

    No one within the worthless MSM will admit it, but dubya’s reckless “cowboy diplomacy” (that this country will have to deal with for decades to come), was nothing more than the U.S. using it’s bloated military in the equivalent of ‘smash and grab’ set of operations thus destabilizing certain third-world nations that were independent of the world bank and not solely dependent upon the American dollar.

    Leave it to morally bankrupt republicans to ignore the history of a war-torn, tribal 7th-century led kingdom like that of Afghanistan where other empires have failed as any type of fighting besides asymmetric warfare will not succeed. It’s only expected that a democrat, especially a neo-con like Biden would be tasked with cleaning up yet another republican foreign policy disaster.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. roket says:

    I bet the MIC got a big kick out of that report.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a huge stench of Iraq 2003 in the air:


    The MSM seems all in on portraying Biden as Losing Vietnam Afghanistan.

    The only people being allowed to speak are the war prostitutes like Condi Rice (who can fuck off and go join the Afghan Army if she want’s to go win the country for us.), William Bloody Kristol, Michael ‘Smoking Mushroom Cloud’ Gerson and David ‘Axis of Evil’ Frum, all of whom would be banished to to the wilderness under a curse of silence for their sins if we lived in a civilized society.

    I’m surprised they haven’t dragged Phil Donohue out of retirement so they could just fire him again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tengrain says:

      Chris Matthews is impotently screaming at his teevee, “BUT DID IT WORK?!!!”

      (And yeah, he’s the one who got Phil Donohue fired.)




  4. MDavis says:

    The U.S. government did not understand the Afghan context and therefore failed to tailor its efforts accordingly.

    I am not convinced. Rather, I am suspicious that some in the government understand the Afghan context perfectly and have used Item 2 (prioritized spending quickly, that part) to harvest some of the corrupted cash for themselves. If you were a dirt bag, wouldn’t you?


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