The United States Lost the War in Afghanistan

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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12 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    If you see that the point of the war was to defeat the Taliban, then, yes. We lost.

    If you see that the point of the war was to change the Afghan diet? Well, after a rocky start, we won:

    Don’t play the short game. Play the long one.Report

  2. Philip H says:

    I do not find this interpretation convincing. The US accomplished this quite early on. They could have killed a few thousand people in the first few dozen or hundred strikes, declared victory, and left. Nevertheless, she persisted. We stayed another twenty years. Why? Because all of us knew we had not yet won.

    Actually a great many of us knew we would never win, especially by your metrics, in Afghanistan. We knew that when the mujahadeen bankrupted the USSR and then sent them packing. America stayed because our “leaders” refuse to learn from history, have a warped sense of exceptionalism, and refuse to acknowledge failure. We were never going to “win” anything there.Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    Like I said, offer up plane tickets and fast track immigration to any who want them.Report

  4. JS says:

    If we didn’t win after 20 years and trillions of dollars, we weren’t going to win.

    Anyone who wants to continue the fight is free to pick up a gun (freely available in America), buy a plane ticket, and go die in glorious stupidity.

    We lost Afghanistan the day we invaded because we set an unachievable goal. We stayed 20 years trying to achieve it.

    hell, we almost missed out on one of the achievable ones (Bin Laden) simply because Bush decided to do Iraq too. Someone else had to finish that for him.

    Seriously, what’s the point of staying? Ego?

    How many corpses and wasted money will be enough to satisfy that?Report

  5. Michael Cain says:

    So far as I know, the ones who came closest to “winning” in the last couple thousand years were the Mongols. They went with two rounds of extermination and resettlement, and ended up with Afghan warlords/tribal leaders who had a bit of Mongol ancestry.Report

  6. North says:

    The best time to get out of Afghanistan was in the past. The next best time to get out is now. I’m very pleased Uncle Joe is taking a run at it and I hope he sticks it out.
    I wonder what the Taliban calculus will be? Lay low in hopes of things being quiet so the American infidels leave as scheduled or launch attacks in hopes of gaining glory but risking that the infidels decide to stay? Probably neither- they’ll need to focus on their real enemies: the government and peoples of the Non-Pashtun Afghanis. Contra ‘Nam their victory isn’t assured.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to North says:

      Trump ran on a few *really* important issues, one being the endless US wars. (I still believe that saying, during a national debate, that the Iraq War was the biggest mistake in US history was a huge, perhaps even decisive, factor in his election.) Public sentiment is behind pulling back those troops (the case is overdetermined) and if Joe can do it, then good for him. Dealing with what comes next is Joe’s challenge. Personally, I’ve never understood why the US thinks the military will solve (or resolve) the problems in that region. Hammers and nails, I guess. The long-term solutions won’t require bullets.Report

      • North in reply to Stillwater says:

        Credit where it’s due, Trump was right about the War and I agree that his breaking of GOP orthodoxy and denouncing the WoT was definitely a rung in his climb up the ladder to victory.

        And I’m mighty please Joe has the wits to steal the idea and exploit the opportunities Trumps movements opened for him to execute a withdrawal. As a writer at TAC put it “Joe Biden picks up million dollar bill Trump left lying on the floor”.Report