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The Ugly American pops his head up again

by Ron Holdraker
August 20, 2021

You would have thought that after 20 years in Vietnam, the U.S. would have licked their wounds and discovered we don’t know everything.

Vietnam’s shift from a centrally planned to a market economy has transformed the country from one of the poorest in the world into a lower middle-income country. Vietnam now is one of the most dynamic emerging countries in East Asia region.

It has practically no COVID deaths and a good friendship with the U.S. and a viable trading partner.

Of course for 20 years the Vietnamese were godless monsters out to crush attempts at what we considered a civilization nation. We forgot that not everyone likes our system of governing and economics. They were primitive at best and had outlandish laws we simply could not condone.

Move on to another generation of U.S. politics and understanding of foreign culture. Those bastards in Afghanistan worship in a different fashion, treat women abhorrently, have outlandish laws. They harbored terrorists that led to the U.S. 911 and cruel and sadistic methods. Imagine killing to achieve an outcome.

So, during the last George Bush administration we used the old American hammer to whollop the hell out of the country to eliminate any terrorists organizations and followers. Once we thought we achieved that, we naturally scowled upon their religious laws and ancient methods and decided the U.S. knew best. We must tame the savages.

We set up schools for women and in 20 years in Afghanistan raised a generation in good old American ways. We spent way over two trillion dollars, 2,448 troops and 3,846 U.S. contractors were killed, as calculated by the Associated Press, countless injuries and lingering human effects, to prove we knew better.

According to the Associated Press,  deaths were not exclusive to Americans. Afghan military and police: 66,000, Afghan civilians: 47,245, Taliban and opposition fighters: 51,191

 The U.S. trained and supplied a 300,000 fighting force, police of Afghanistan’s best and believed democracy in a government we approved would last along with peace.

They pretty much melted away without much of a fight within days of any challenge.

Before the U.S., Russia had similar plans and had their asses handed to them. So, did U.S. policy learn anything? Did the Afghanistans accept our way of life? Well, actually no-  and the smart soothsayers probably could have predicted last week’s failures.

It seems every 20 + years, or so, the U.S. forgets history, lessons learned at our missteps and plunges face first into dog crap. If the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was necessary, we should have fought the fight, packed up and gone home.

Elite fighting technology, training and desire was outlasted by a minority of poorly armed and trained soldiers with a goal. A Hezbollah leader once commented about the U.S. military  superiority “You have the watch, but we have the time”.

Then comes the political blame game. The Afghanistan war was shared by both Republican and Democrat presidential regimes. None of which had the wherewithal to admit it was a mistake. When it actually came time to pull the real plug, all the ‘intelligence’ the U.S. could muster amounted to diddly squat.

The press used helicopters on the roof of the U.S. embassy in Vietnam vs. the C14 cargo carrier planes at the Kabul airport as obvious comparisons to American planning, or lack thereof.

Honestly, no one expected the puppet regime of the U.S. backed Afghanistan government, or the super trained and outfitted Afghanistan military to survive the onslaught of rebels.

At least we exited thousands of translators and Afghanistan government officials out on a secured Kabul Airport in the closing days. That, at least saved some face of the U.S. 

So, what will become of Afghanistan, the schools and exposure to a different style of life? The seeds of change have been planted, just as they were in Vietnam. Over 20 years of U.S. involvement will undoubtedly have some lasting effect.

We impose our ideal society of others and have usually failed miserably. Women and religion will evolve in Afghanistan, just like they did in the U.S. We have a  short memory to such things as women’s rights, slavery, race relations, laws and equality.

Meanwhile critics will bemoan the fact that U. S. soldiers sacrificed their lives in a poorly thought-out, carried-out war and exit strategy.

George W. Bush,  Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden: Thanks for repeating the ill-advised moves in Afghanistan just like Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon did in Vietnam.

The Ugly American pops his head up once more.

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