November 1, 2014 at 8:43 PM by Dr. Drang
With the US and UK turning over their bases in Helmand province to the Afghan military last Sunday, the coalition military presence in Afghanistan is effectively at an end. Plans are to maintain over 12,000 “trainers and advisors” (10,000 from the US), but the war with the Taliban is supposed to be fought by Afghan troops from now on.
I don’t suppose America will learn anything from this war. Our collective memory seems to be shortening. It took at least two generations before we forgot the lessons of the Great Depression but only one to forget the lessons of Vietnam. The mistakes of Afghanistan—first, Bush leaving before the job was done to chase after Iraq, then Obama trying to turn the clock back to 2003—are probably not even considered mistakes by our current and future policymakers. If the Taliban take over again, we’ll no doubt hear that we should never have left in 2014. This war lasted 13 years; I wonder if the next one will ever end.