American Arrogance in Afghanistan

October 3, 2009 at 6:23 am | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

on full display, and a major reason why we are losing in Afghanistan. We value our lives more than theirs, our culture more than theirs, our way of life more than theirs. Nominally that’s just fine, but when you are in a battle like the one we are in Afghanistan, this just doesn’t work. The locals, who we value less than our own equipment, will act separately, and as they feel, rather than act with us.

The unit arrived at Wanat ill prepared for the hot work of building an outpost in the mountains in July; troops were thirsty from a lack of fresh water, and their one construction vehicle ran out of gas, so the unit was unable to complete basic fortifications. The soldiers had no local currency to buy favor by investing in the village economy, the history makes clear. The soldiers also said they complained up the chain of command about the lack of air surveillance over their dangerous corner of Afghanistan, but no more was provided.

Even as they settled into their spartan command post, the unit’s commanders were insulted to learn that local leaders were meeting together in a “shura,” or council, to which they were not invited — and which might even have been a session used to coordinate the assault on the Americans that began before dawn the very next morning.

The four-hour firefight finally ended when American warplanes and attack helicopters strafed insurgent positions. The paratroopers drove back the insurgents, but ended up abandoning the village 48 hours later.

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