Afghanistan vet here, so keep in mind I say this as someone who went there. My job was Civil Affairs, a job which allowed me to repair roads, build relationships with the local community, and give school supplies to little kids. I loved my job, and I was pretty good at it. We got in some scuffles, and I had some friends get hurt. I made it through with nothing worse than a severe case of diarrhea a couple times.
Afghanistan gave up. Their government quit, their military gave away Kabul in a matter of hours. The US bears no fault in this.
We spent 20 YEARS handing them everything they needed for success; We equipped them, paid them, trained them. On paper, the Afghan military had the edge on the Taliban in every category that mattered.
But they're cowards. The people there are cowards. Brave enough to die trying to run away, clinging to a C17. If only that intestinal fortitude could have been applied to holding the line. Now, the country will begin it's slide back in time socially and economically.
Many of the people complaining protested the war. Many are from countries who weren't contributing. Most of whoever reads this never went. Frankly, your opinions are barely valid outside of a strictly academic standpoint.
Afghanistan was given a nation on a platter, and the people couldn't be bothered. They earned their downfall, and people who won't stand up for themselves when they have the ability deserve their fate.
Edit: seems like most of the vets that put their money where their mouth is agree with my sentiment (with nuances, of course).
I've gotta get back to work, but I'll try and reply when I can. In the meantime, stay hydrated and change your socks.
Edit 2: I'm aware of Afghan history, part of my job required me to research the culture and history deeply. I'm aware of the things that led to where we're at. I also understand that some of you are going to have some cognitive dissonance about this. The past cannot be changed, and if I was dictator for a day in 2001 I would have handled things differently. I am commenting on the situation as it is right now
Final edit: There's been some really good points raised, and I want to clarify some things:
-I do feel bad for the people about to be victimized. -the war should have stayed within the domain of Special Operations; conventional troops just complicated things (although many of them tried to do good there, and kudos to all those in uniform who went with honest intent) -I didn't bring up Pakistan/otherstans or the Saudi's for the sake of brevity. It's complicated, I agree.
It's a bad situation, and if we all had time machines everything would be perfect. But it isn't. My point stands, the Afghans gave up, and they'll pay for it, and I wish I could feel bad about it but I'm just tired.
I'll circle back to this thread later today to answer a few more questions. Keep the conversation going, maybe something good will come out of it.
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