"I don't think we sat around a table, ever, and talked about where's this going to be in 20 years."
This is usually taken to be a critique of our ability to plan strategically long term. But I think it misses the reality mark. What really causes this is our short term deployments. Staffs go over for a year, and they basically go thru a series of ground hog days until they turn over the reins to the next group. The entire effort is usually directed toward getting through the day, then the week and month. It's just a matter of ticking off the days on the calendar, and then you get to turn over and leave. Add to that the number of reserve members who understandably have a short term viewpoint, and the situation is exacerbated.
If you want to win, you need to keep at least the management/leadership staff intact. Imagine if Ike had been replaced by someone else every year. It's no way to run a railroad, and especially no way to run a war that needs long term strategic thinking.
"we can't give them a soul"
So…is this a sort of an apology? Is there really any ownership here in the authentic sense? Because from my perspective as an army veteran from 90-94, and now a father of two kids who aren’t quite adults, what did the average American get from all this? Are we safer? Hell no, we created a terror super state, and my children will NEVER be able to pay for even their share of the debt, as if the shame of defeat wasn’t enough. The military as an institution has been destroyed and now run by full blown Marxists more concerned with white supremacy phantoms than defeating our enemies. DoD is wholly untrustworthy and should be decimated in the Roman sense. I don’t give a shit what pedigrees these perfumed princes have; all their so called intellect has bankrupted the country and set us up for future acts of terror on our own soil. What will learn from all this sifting through ashes? Probably nothing, based on the nonsense I see coming from the current joint chiefs. Well, This legacy family has had enough. None of our kids will serve this corrupt machine and be made to pay in blood for the horrific mistakes these clowns made decades ago. My comment isn’t very cerebral, sorry. I’m still too angry to be overly concerned with the finer details of why their various strategies didn’t work. I’m sure all these guys will be fine, though, working at their think tank/defense lobby/lecture circuit gigs. Us normals will just be down here paying for all of it, in more ways than one.
1. There was no strategy gong in. I am no McCrystal fan but he is closer to the crux than any of the others. We had no strategy going in and, once it became clear that tactical success could be achieved, the big units rolled in so the commanders could get their combat tour--that was the objective more than anything else.
Would a BCT commander patiently let the ANA try to conduct an mission or would the BCT make the US forces the center of the action to ensure success and competitiveness for that first star? Our leaders mostly placed getting promoted ahead of success in Afghanistan. A lesson Lawrence of Arabia taught about a hundred years ago but he was all about making the indig successful within their limitations and environment, not about making himself successful within the British Army.
2. The Services were unwilling to do Security Force Assistance. The preparation and employment of forces in Afghanistan reflects that completely. We did a crap job of training the ANA (not is all cases but in the main) because we insisted on teaching them the USA way mostly in English. Two huge mistakes. Most third world countries are not ready for NCOs and LTs making big decisions, they don't function on our timelines, and they don't speak English. Our utter reliance on interpreters, many of whom were not qualified in English or the target language, was shameful. The Army sending, for example, artillery batteries minus the guns in lieu of infantry companies with little or no conversion training or augmentation to bring them up to infantry company strength and equipment was scandalous but common.
3. The Afghans had no soul? Really!? Easy to say as an American who did not fight in the American Revolution, who did not face any risk to family or property. Tens of thousands of Afghans gave their lives. When POTUS abruptly pulled the plug, Afghanistan was not yet ready to stand on its own and Afghanistan was not ready to make good the pay checks. No surprise the ANA folded.