Sportsmen have an expression that nothing is more dangerous than a wounded bear. Today, the United States and our NATO/UN allies are wounded bears. America has tolerated the wounds of losing wars in North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Syria, but the one inflicted by Afghanistan is the most serious.
It may require the United States to do what is unthinkable at this moment – re-engage in Afghanistan with an overpowering force. It would have to be a real war – not one of these half diplomacy/half fighting deals. You know, shoot a little then talk, talk, talk as the enemy regroups, and then shoot a little more – the endless war approach.
It would require putting more boots on the ground, but not as many as one might believe if you only look at old battles. Today’s warfare can be fought with massive airpower and from computers.
The Afghan people are already revolting against the Taliban terrorists. Mobs have been bravely amassing in the streets waving the Afghan flag. Some have already been killed by the Taliban. If the allies were to re-enter the conflict with massive military support, the public would be that much more energized.
At this very moment, the top leadership of the Taliban could be removed with a surprise airstrike on the Presidential Palace. The allies have the knowledge and the airpower to take out virtually all the Taliban communications centers – leaving the street soldiers on their own. Allies also have the cyber capability to disrupt Taliban communications.
The first wave of aerial attacks – including drones – would drive the Taliban out of Kabul — and out of the other major cities – and back into the mountains. American forces would easily retake Bagram military air base. Swift action would prevent the Taliban from using any planes they might control for the moment.
Of course, victory in Afghanistan would have been a lot easier before Biden enabled the Taliban to take over territory and assets. A full attack on the Taliban would cost of lot of lives in a rather short time – with the Taliban and Afghan citizens taking the hardest hit. But there would be the loss of allied lives. But as in any war, the sacrifice of lives is a necessary tradeoff for the loss of many more lives over a long period of time. That was the reason President Truman dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
I well understand that any suggestion of re-entering the war in Afghanistan will be met with sharp disagreement –mostly from the folks who have been supportive of the no-win forever-war strategy to be eventually concluded with surrender and defeat. Same strategy was used in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Syria.
But that is political thinking. From a military standpoint, we could still win the war in Afghanistan. America and our allies are an indomitable military force. Remember how quickly we brought down Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. It was after the war that the diplomates lost the peace.
Unfortunately, the political folks are prevailing – and will likely continue to prevail. And as long as they do, America will continue to lose wars, continue to decline as a world power, and continue to be less secure on the home front. This bear is limping off to lick its wounds hoping the enemy that inflicted the injury will not pursue. Good luck with that.
So, there ‘tis.