Lessons Learned From Making of a Quagmire Essay

Pages: 2 (728 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … lessons learned from Making of a Quagmire by David Halberstam and apply it to the defacto American raj in Afghanistan. First is not to become too closely associated with a present unpopular regime such as the Diem regime in Vietnam, as it is doing with the present administration in Afghanistan now (Halberstam and Singal 15). Also, staying in a never ending guerrilla war is an obvious lesson (ibid 65)

The best that can be done now is to declare victory since we have gotten Osama bin Laden and "train and transfer" the war to the Afghans. This was the original mission to go in, that is to decapitate and disrupt Al Qaeda. This has been done. It is impossible to do what every conqueror including Alexander the Great, Britain and Russia has tried and failed to do: totally pacify the country. We certainly can also remember the disaster of mission creep from the failure in Vietnam. Our arrogance, like those in the past, is clouding our judgment and we deceive ourselves if we think we can do what they could not.

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What is disturbing about the war in Afghanistan (and in Iraq as well) is that comparisons to Vietnam end at the energy question. For all of its problems, one of those did not include oil and natural gas. Truly, if one thinks about it, we must ask if we would ever have left if energy were an issue there. One does not have to be a Rhodes scholar to realize that it is the "e" word (energy) that really lies at the heart of the issue. After all, nation states (especially super powers) do not spend trillions of dollars defending nonessentials. The real reason Americans are dying in the Hindu-Kush is as far or as close as our car's gas tank, our home's furnace, or our jacuzzi. Decades of Middle East wars, oil embargoes and lines at gas pumps have not taught us to get off of the black heroin coming from the region. Clearly, we are more hooked than ever before.

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