Sunday, September 16, 2012

Green-on-Blue Attacks

You don’t withdraw from voluntary martial conflict  (such as our wars of choice in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, where we ourselves had not been attacked, and enjoyed the luxury of leaving at any time) simply because it’s hard slogging -- though that is certainly one legitimate factor to consider  in deciding how long to keep throwing good money after bad.  But certain trends, minor from the strategic or economic standpoint, are nevertheless telling.

In Vietnam, it was fraggings.   The word derives from fragmentation grenade, and referred to conscript soldiers (for we had the Draft back then, and some guys really didn’t want to be over there) killing their officers, e.g. by rolling a grenade into the pup tent where the officer slept.   This was a hint that the war, as it dragged on and on, was doing much more harm to American society  than could ever be inflicted on us by the Viet Cong (who merely wanted to be left alone, and which promptly ceased to be a problem when we pulled out).
Now, in Afghanistan, we have a rising and relentless trend of  “insider shootings”:  Afghan soldiers and policemen, in uniform, our nominal allies, killing NATO troops.  At some point you wonder:   For whom are we doing all this?  And if you answer, “If we leave, the Taliban will come back,” notice that the Obama Adminstration has shown itself quite capable of tracking our genuine enemies (who include al-Qaeda, with their maximalist caliphal agenda, but probably not the Taleban, who have more local concerns) in territory we do not control:  think Yemen and Waziristan.
Perhaps this the time when we should touch the brim of our cap, wish everyone well, and make an exit.

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