04 Sep 2009

Murphy and Callahan, Military Experts

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In the Chicago Tribune Steve Chapman writes (HT2LRC):

On Oct. 7, 2001, the United States launched one of the most stunningly successful military operations in its history. Just four weeks after terrorists directed from Afghanistan killed nearly 3,000 people on American soil, we struck Al Qaeda and Taliban government targets with aircraft missiles and Special Forces soldiers. By early December, the Taliban was out of power, Al Qaeda had fled into the mountains and victory was ours.

But that was eight years ago. Did anyone expect back then that we would still be in Afghanistan today, with more troops than ever? The war we thought we had won is not only dragging on but getting worse.

You know, I’m getting really sick of this “nobody could have predicted” garbage. Whether it’s WMD in Iraq, the housing crash, the Bush administration manipulating the terror alert levels, or the fortunes of the Afghanistan occupation, people who were pooh-poohing the defeatists or conspiracy theorists at the time are now saying, “It’s not our fault for missing this. All responsible experts agreed with us at the time.”

Well, as far as Afghanistan, Gene Callahan and I knew what was up. I grant you, we didn’t publish a joint op ed in the Wall Street Journal the day before the US invasion, but on September 6, 2006 I wrote:

Wasn’t THAT Mission Accomplished a Long Time Ago??

Two things struck me about this USA Today article. First, the “biased liberal anti-American” media led me to believe that everything was fine in Afghanistan; this insurgency sort of came out of nowhere, as far as major media coverage. Second, notice that the general isn’t saying, “We’re going to pull out in six months.” No, he’s just saying that if they don’t defeat the Taliban in 6 months, the locals won’t support them. But our troops will still stick around, shooting and liberating.

Then in the comments, Gene said:

As I recall, the US troop death toll has risen every year since the invasion. I recall Ann Coulter stupidly squawking about [how] the US military was so much better than the Soviet’s, because we “conquered” Afghanistan in a couple of weeks and they couldn’t in ten years. She didn’t seem to be aware that the USSR was not trying to conquer Afghanistan — their puppet government was already in place! They were trying to crush a rebellion — just like we are, and we’re halfway to their total years already.

However, Gene doesn’t get to take credit for this, as he elsewhere has disavowed any responsibility for his past writings (see comments here).

Last point: In that 2006 USA Today article (the link still works), the NATO commander said they needed to break the Taliban within 6 months if there were ever to be hope of winning. So, everyone’s coming home now, right? We just need to email this link to the Pentagon to remind them?

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