Quag­mire in Afghanistan

Re “Afghanistan’s des­ig­nated fall guy,” Opin­ion, June 18

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

The United States has had the mil­i­tary means to force fa­vor­able out­comes in every war we have fought since Korea. We have not ap­plied those means to their max­i­mum be­cause they are so dev­as­tat­ing. Pres­i­dents change com­man­ders, hop­ing to find one with a win­ning ap­proach that does not in­volve us­ing the most dev­as­tat­ing weapons.

Theodore White, in his play “Cae­sar at the Ru­bi­con,” wrote of Julius Cae­sar’s ruth­less mil­i­tary cam­paign in Gaul, in which he waged to­tal, dev­as­tat­ing war on the pop­u­la­tion. For­tu­nately, we don’t have the na­tional stom­ach to fight con­tem­po­rary foes the way Cae­sar dec­i­mated Gaul.

Fail­ing this, we have not de­vel­oped ef­fec­tive tac­tics to deal with foes who refuse to fight by our rules. Fight­ing at a dis­tance with mis­siles and air­craft hasn’t been suc­cess­ful. Our at­tempts to sub­vert from within haven’t been suc­cess­ful. And even when we “win” (and we haven’t found the cri­te­ria for that), the re­place­ment regimes tend to be worse.

Don­ald J. Loundy Simi Val­ley

An­drew J. Bace­vich makes a re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tion to the well-be­ing of the Amer­i­can public by point­ing this out: “Some wars can’t be won. Afghanistan falls in that cat­e­gory. To per­sist fur­ther is mad­ness.”

The war in Afghanistan is in its 16th year. It has cost the United States $800 bil­lion and more than 2,000 sol­diers. What will an ad­di­tional 4,000 sol­diers ac­com­plish there? Will they turn stale­mate into vic­tory? Or will the stale­mate in Afghanistan con­tinue with ad­di­tional loss of lives and money on both sides?

It is time to call it quits, bring our sol­diers home and let the Afghans de­fend their coun­try.

Nake M. Kam­rany Pa­cific Pal­isades

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