08.22.2021 07:44 AM

The wars that cannot be won

We didn’t have much choice after 9/11. But Adam Nossiter’s analysis in today’s New York Times is a must-read.

A snippet:

The war the Americans thought they were fighting against the Taliban was not the war their Afghan allies were fighting. That made the American war, like other such neocolonialist adventures, most likely doomed from the start.

Recent history shows it is foolish for Western powers to fight wars in other people’s lands, despite the temptations. Homegrown insurgencies, though seemingly outmatched in money, technology, arms, air power and the rest, are often better motivated, have a constant stream of new recruits, and often draw sustenance from just over the border.


  1. Gyor says:

    There was a choice, the Taliban weren’t invading us, we invaded them (don’t get me wrong, the Taliban was vile), so we had the choice.

    All this death, all this suffering, all these resources, were for nothing. We propped up corrupt pedophile warlords and a fake democratic government that was dust in the wind as soon as the West no longer propped it up. He’ll even Osma Bin Laden wasn’t in Afganistan ultimately, he was found in Pakistan.

    So much suffering and pain and politicians trying to run a country they didn’t understand.

    So here we are back were we started in Afghanistan.

    • Gloriousus et Liber says:

      Not really. The United States suffered a devastating attack on Sept 11, 2001 perpetrated by Al Qaeda/the Taliban. If Dubya just threw some Tomahawks and B-52’s over Afghanistan, a la Clinton and called it a day, I think he would have been impeached.

      What can be debated are the goals and strategies implemented to reach those goals, and to withdraw or not to withdraw. But after 9/11, the US had no choice but to topple Al Qaeda/Taliban.

  2. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Going forward, operations will have to be surgical, ongoing and with as much limited human power on the ground as possible. And they will have to take place only when an immediate threat to a country exists or some other national security priorities require eventual duration-limited intervention. Otherwise, forget it.

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Was the case made in rock-solid fashion that invasion was a necessary and why? I never saw evidence that was absolutely water tight re: the Taliban’s direct involvement in 9-11-2001. Sure, they harbored OBL and allowed training of fighters but was that it? This thing smells too much like Saddam’s WMD. Guess we will never really know for sure.

    • Derek Pearce says:

      The United States specifically requested that the Taliban extradite OBL and the Taliban specifically refused to. Hence the invasion was necessary. But the entire Western world (hey, guilty as charged here) got caught up in nation-building when OBL escaped from Tora Bora.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Thank you. I had forgotten all about Tora Bora. Hadn’t the Americans used the bunker busters over there that apparently did not live up to their billing? Looks like the caves won that round.

  4. PJH says:

    One of the smartest women I know mentioned twenty years ago that Afghanistan was going to be “Vietnam with snow” and that Afghanistan, historically, was “where Empires went to die”…..I poo pooed her comments and thought the invasion was a perfect opportunity to “nation build” and rescue the Afghan people from the brutal Taliban regime. Twenty odd years later, I realize how right my friend Nola was.

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