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On not criticizing the Taliban

A reader writes in response to John’s post “Don’t criticize the Taliban!” What is to be said about that mind-boggling Army manual that John discusses in the post? The reader comments:

I am an active duty Army officer and a military history major with two deployments under my belt. I read this article in the Wall Street Journal when it was first published a day or two ago and have to tell you that this more than anything else is a huge sign that the war in Afghanistan is over and we have lost.

Th[e manual] was produced and sanctioned by mainstream elements in the institutional Army, otherwise it never would have even seen daylight. This is an indicator that the Army is looking for a politically acceptable way to explain why we have lost the war and why after a decade we have failed to turn the Afghan national security forces into anything approaching a reliable security partner. Call it a trial balloon.

Make no mistake, this is a turning point. This is the opening shot in a war of recrimination and it’s about to get ugly. To paraphrase T.S Eliot, the way the world ends is not with a bang but a whimper. From this point forward, it’s all over except the whimpering and recrimination that a strategic defeat in Afghanistan will entail.

I implore you and your readers to hold the current leadership in the DoD accountable across both administrations and to do an honest assessment of why our efforts in Afghanistan have fallen short. We owe that much to our dead….Obviously, this email is not representative of anyone’s view but my own.

Name withheld by request.

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