Why we will never achieve success in Afghanistan

For centuries thinkers have observed that if you fight a war you must have apolitical objective, otherwise there is no point in fighting a war. A political objective can be evil or good. It can simply be to annex the territory of another nation, for its land, or to enslave its people, or to protect you own land from enslavement or confiscation by others. However, simply fighting a war withouta defined and achievable political objective is a waste of life, resources and time because no matter how many battles you might win, you will lose the war because you do not have an achievable objective.

Hilaire Belloc put it better; he wrote this about the battle of Blenheim:

A campaign is but the armed effort of one society to impose its will in some particular against another society. Every such effort must have a defined political object. If the object is served the campaign is successful If it is not served the campaign is a failure.

That must apply even if every battle is one by Western Society. If the West does not impose its will upon the Taliban then we will have won the war but we will have failed and all the lives lost will be lost for nothing.

Our purpose in Afghanistan was to fight terrorism there, thus prevent it from affecting our society. Is this actually politically possible? Do the methods we apply – sending thousands of soldiers there to present themselves as targets and assist in imposing democracy upon Afghanistan, to raise the standards of living there actually have any prospect of preventing terrorism affecting the Western Society further?

After many years and many deaths we have not achieved our political object. Democracy is unwelcome and our soldiers are propping up a corrupt government which fiddles the voting figures. We bomb civilians by mistake. For every Afghan we kill (and we do not know how many because no one keeps a proper count, we must drive two more Afghanis to arms to oppose us.

We have sent our brave troops into battles that they may win, but for a purpose that will never be achieved. The object of the war is not to win battles, but to prevent terrorism. We cannot succeed; the numbers recruited to the Taliban increase day by day.

The Afghan campaign is a political failure, not a military failure. It is time to bring our involvement in it to an end.

One Response

  1. Terrorism + Counterterrorism = Terrorism

    Electronic Warfare + E C M = Warfare.

    Will always end in tears a plenty, tears when its going on and tears when it has ended again, in constant resolution with everyones whole.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Send forth the best ye breed–
    Go bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild–
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half-devil and half-child.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    In patience to abide,
    To veil the threat of terror
    And check the show of pride;
    By open speech and simple,
    An hundred times made plain
    To seek another’s profit,
    And work another’s gain.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    The savage wars of peace–
    Fill full the mouth of Famine
    And bid the sickness cease;
    And when your goal is nearest
    The end for others sought,
    Watch sloth and heathen Folly
    Bring all your hopes to NOUGHT

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    No tawdry rule of kings,
    But toil of serf and sweeper–
    The tale of common things.
    The ports ye shall not enter,
    The roads ye shall not tread,
    Go mark them with your living,
    And mark them with your DEAD

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    And reap his old reward:
    The blame of those ye better,
    The hate of those ye guard–
    The cry of hosts ye humour
    (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
    “Why brought he us from bondage,
    Our loved Egyptian night?”

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Ye dare not stoop to less–
    Nor call too loud on Freedom
    To cloke your weariness;
    By all ye cry or whisper,
    By all ye leave or do,
    The silent, sullen peoples
    Shall weigh your gods and you.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Have done with childish days–
    The lightly proferred laurel
    The easy, ungrudged praise.
    Comes now, to search your manhood
    Through all the thankless years
    Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
    The judgment of your peers!

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