The New York Times reports that the United States military is withdrawing its forces from the Pech Valley; an area once thought vital in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The military once believed holding the valley to be critical in preventing insurgents from streaming into the country from Pakistan. Now the military says that the resources assigned to holding the valley are out of proportion to the areas’ importance. Sources state that the military presence once welcomed by the Afghan people has proven to be a destabilizing influence in the area and that the local tribesmen “just want to be left alone.” One hundred and three military personnel lost their lives defending the valley. Troops who were formerly stationed there are concerned that their sacrifice may have been in vain.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Is there anyone who lived through the Vietnam area that doesn’t see the similarities here in Afghanistan? Does anyone who lived through that time not remember the senseless military strategy of taking “strategic high ground” only to withdraw and then receive the order to take the same ground months, weeks or even days later? Have we forgotten our lack of understanding of the Vietnamese culture, the corruption in the government we were supposedly helping and the lack of a clear objective? Have we forgotten how we fought Vietnam with our hands tied behind our backs politically and we fought it against the will of the American people? Have we suppressed the memory of what happened after that last American helicopter lifted off that rooftop in Saigon?
They say history repeats itself…