"Failed" - It Sounds Better than "Defeated"
Former Afghan warlord turned president turned pundit in exile, Hamid Karzai, complains that the US and her allies "failed" Afghanistan and are leaving the country "in total disgrace." At least he didn't say that the ISAF forces were "defeated." Failure can be spread around. Defeat is something the military wears - Algeria, Viet Nam, that sort of thing.
We were defeated. As in Viet Nam, we won all the battles but lost the war. The West went into Afghanistan with clear objectives - to send the Taliban packing for good, to destroy al Qaeda, and to restore civil society to the country, democracy, civil and human rights - that sort of thing. The Taliban rallied, just enough to deny us our objectives. In other words, we lost. We were defeated.
20 years. The last American army boot is supposed to leave Afghan soil on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that sparked this madness.
20 years is a pretty long campaign, certainly by modern standards. Despite what some generals say, if you can't win in 20 years, you just can't win. There's a phrase that captures this David v. Goliath struggle. "We have all the watches but they have all the time." For us to win, we must use all our sophisticated firepower and military prowess to destroy them as an effective entity. For them to win, they merely have to survive as an entity, denying us combat whenever possible but keeping our forces in the field while the years roll on and the folks at home grow weary or bored."We will be better off without their military presence," he said. "I think we should defend our own country and look after our own lives. ... Their presence (has given us) what we have now. ... We don't want to continue with this misery and indignity that we are facing. It is better for Afghanistan that they leave."
Karzai's rule followed the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 by a U.S.-led coalition that launched its invasion to hunt down and destroy the al-Qaida network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, blamed for the 9/11 attacks on America.