America’s hubris on Nation Building & its failures

“Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it”

No story is more appropriate to repeat my favorite philosopher, George Santayana’s famous line.

After the Sept. 11th attack, the United States started airstrikes on Oct.7th, and ground troops first entered Afghanistan on Nov. 13th …on the pretext of hunting down Osama bin Laden and those responsible. That mission, probably because of America’s continued hubris on the idea of “Nation Building”, along with the involvement of foreign policy experts, political & business players, and the military presence for the “protection” of the population …while trying to win the hearts and minds of the people, like they tried and failed in Vietnam …eventually morphed into an all out war, without ever even trying to understand the lessons of another past conflict America got into!

The problem? Every Tom, Dick, and Harry likes to give their opinion on Vietnam’s exit or how worse the current exit was …and the vast majority of those opinions are from people who weren’t even born at that time, were not there, or never have even served. America’s apathetic ignorance in reading history, any type of history …and its preference in listening to politicos, whose only interest is to mislead for their own political gains, is the culprit of the problem.

Why did we get into Vietnam, in the first place?

Well! In 1954, Gen. Henri Navarre’s French garrison in the Muong Thanh Valley was totally out-classed and out-maneuvered at the Battle of Diem Bien Phu. A siege that lasted from March 13th till May 7th, 1954, as the Viet Minh overran the firebase …effectively ending the “first” Indochina War (1946–1954) and French Colonialism rule that has been in place since the late 1800s when the French Government finally signed the Geneva Accords of 1954.

The French understood from their experience, they could not survive in a country where they just weren’t wanted …especially, when their primary source of income to maintain their military presence was the cultivation and sale of Opium Poppy, making Heroin & Morphine …and operated by French & Vietnamese politicos & businessmen.

The Indochinese simply did not want to be ruled by any foreign government! So, after the French marched out of what was then known as French Indochina, the question became …which political players were willing to become the next great “liberators” of that territory?

The 1954 Accords divided, at the 17th parallel, what would be North & South Vietnam. There, entered the United States, who believed if the “Communists” took control, it would create a “Domino Effect” throughout Southeast Asia. A South Vietnamese Government was created with the condition of having a “Free Election” 2 years later in 1956, to reunify the South & the North. By that time, the US had full control of South Vietnam’s Government, propped up by US interests …which send them “Military Advisers”, money & economic aid, and supplies.

The reunification never occurred. From 1954 till 1965, the American presence and its corrupt government quickly lost favor in the South …more and more attacks on American personnel and military advisors continued until 1965 when tricked by the Military Industrial Complex with an attack on the USS Maddox. Lyndon Johnson immediately sent in a massive amount of troops and equipment to defend the South. Thus, started the Vietnam War …a war of attrition. 10 years of winning all the battles, but in the end …losing the War.

What have we really learned about Vietnam? Not much! Apparently, the USSR didn’t learn much, either. Originally allied with the Afghan Government since 1921, providing economic & military aid …it all fell apart in 1993 after the Soviets were attacked during the Afghan Civil War. The Soviets retaliated, and the rest is history.

At which time, the US saw the opportunity they wanted. With the financial assistance from the CIA …the Afghan Mujahideen, an assortment of other tribes & clans, and what’s now, most of the Taliban …and ironically, a guy named Osama bin Laden, who was also heavily financed directly by the United States …repelled the Soviet hordes of over 100,000 troops right out of the country.

That loss brought shame in Moscow, and was universally known as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam!

Now, 20 years overdue, we finally left Afghanistan …yet, another long war of attrition. The only problem we had? With all the wars the United States has won …as Lawrence O’Donnell so eloquently said; “The United States has never had a contingency plan for an exit strategy in leaving a country when we lose”!

How the hell do we get out? Comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam is like comparing Apples to Oranges! American deaths in Afghanistan’s 20 years are over 4,000 American troops, and over 200,000 Afghans overall, including civilians. In Vietnam’s 10 years …half of Afghanistan’s …there were over 58,000 American troops dead, over 1 million enemy deaths, and over 2 million civilian deaths, alone!

It’s all Apples & Oranges! We’re talking about 2 completely different wars, with 2 totally different situations on trying to get out.

In Vietnam, a total of 1,373 Americans, and 5,595 Vietnamese & other nationals were airlifted in 2 days cause the only warning was when the North Vietnamese army & the Viet Con were about to enter Saigon! There were no treaties or timeframe signed by anyone for a withdrawal, whatsoever! The war was still raging on, with American troops defending the city and fighting in the streets of the capital till the very last moment, possible!

Around 350–400 South Vietnamese were left outside the Embassy. As of 8/31/2021 more than 123,000 civilians and all American service personnel has been airlifted out of Kabul. The greatest amount of people ever evacuated safely from a war zone in history, anywhere!

Remember, the original agreement signed by Donald Trump & Mike Pompeo with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar was done without the knowledge of the Afghan Government …Americans will leave the country by May 1st, 2021 (which Biden extended to Aug, 31st), and it did not include evacuating anyone else, only the US Military & the US Embassy staff …screw the interpreters & anyone else that helped the American Gov’t…it was not part of Trump’s & the Taliban’s agreement!

And in return for safely getting the Americans out …Trump & Pompeo agreed to release 5,000 Taliban Terrorists, including its leader & now President, from jail! Also, the Taliban and the Afghan Army secretly made a deal for the Afghan Army to surrender without firing a shot! As news reporters on the ground, stated; as the Taliban entered every town, the Afghan Army would just stand aside and let them through …some with open arms!

We were in Afghanistan for 20 years …a war that totaled more than $2 trillion dollars and lasted longer than Vietnam’s 10-year war (1965–1975) …a war every president said they will end, including Trump …but never did! Until Joe Biden gave his word to the American people …and he did!

Yes! This evacuation undertaking has been botched really big time, some can be blamed on intelligence failures and some, the Pentagon’s own failure. But, the last thing anyone expected…that a fully equipped Army with the most modern & sophisticated equipment the military industrial complex can build and the US Government can buy, with a fully trained force of 350,000 plus men, the 75th largest army in the world! …was the total collapse and the cowardice of the Afghan Army!

Like every crooked government ever propped up by the American Govt. throughout the years …when the shit hits the fan, the president of the country, usually takes the first flight out with all the money robbed that he could stash in a suitcase…and run. No difference in Kabul’s presidential palace …he took the money & ran! When the population heard the news that their own government pretty much have given up and surrendered, the chaos began.

America has to stop living in blind ignorance! After 20 yrs …how many more weeks, or more months, or even more years would’ve taken to keep Afghanistan a modern centralized free democracy that the US promised 20 years earlier?

Why do we always fight someone else’s battles? …when will countries take on their own responsibilities and self-determination of their own future? Maybe, just maybe, getting run out of town might give a semi-intelligent person a hint that we’re not wanted?

Like in Vietnam, like the Soviets and the Americans in Afghanistan …it’s their country, and they’re the ones that have to eventually decide what type of future they want! It’s their destiny …it’s not ours!

Unfortunately, politicos and an assortment of powerful players always want to change the game for their own self gains and the glorification of militarism …it’s not about what other countries as a whole, want …it’s what Big Money & the Military Industrial Complex wants! Yes! The same military industrial complex, Dwight Eisenhower warned all of us about! Read a little history!

Now, there are those who negotiated in good faith or not with those they themselves, call terrorists, people they knew cannot be trusted, and then passed the buck to others who were obligated to complete the lousy deals made previously by them …while criticizing all the actions taken, and blaming all the trouble & all the chaos that ensued on others.

Never take responsibility and always blame the other guy! Ike also said; “The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions”! A little hypocrisy goes a long way when dealing with an uneducated & institutionalized ignorant audience, craving to hear every word they say …believing all the disinformation and all their lies!

Whether it’s Vietnam, Afghanistan …another colonialized country (by Great Britain) until 1919, or any other country …the concept of ”Nation Building” can never succeed or be achieved, and you can’t win the hearts and minds of anyone without 100% approval of its country’s population and its “legitimate” government. You can’t ever win a war on foreign soil when we, anyway we look at it …are not wanted!

Colonialism, unless is wanted, has continuously failed in every single country, with every single power in the world …and so has American Imperialism, with all its propped-up corrupt governments. You cannot take sides in another man’s battles, in another country’s civil war …it’s not our position to tell anyone what to do in their own country! It’s their future to make.

We, the People definitely have our own precious future to worry about …and I absolutely believe that no one wants to, or allow someone else to tell us what to do!

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Ret. Respiratory Therapist, Beatnik by birth & still living a Bohemian life, Thinker, Essayist, Blogger, & Lifelong Pragmatic Progressive/Liberal Activist

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RF Schatten

RF Schatten

Ret. Respiratory Therapist, Beatnik by birth & still living a Bohemian life, Thinker, Essayist, Blogger, & Lifelong Pragmatic Progressive/Liberal Activist

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