In a letter in the April 19 Belleville News-Democrat, Retired Air Force Master Sergeant Roger Kennedy describes our predicament in Afghanistan as “sad but true,” which it seems to be.
I wish to supplement Kennedy’s summation of the situation with feedback in the Army Times from our troops in Afghanistan. Our troops in Afghanistan see Afghanistan as Vietnam to the Nth degree. We’ve sunk too many valuable resources into a bottomless pit and done so with questionable — or maybe even doubtful — results.
The “train and assist” missions have amounted to Americans leading the mission while Afghans follow behind. They are assisting us, rather than us assisting them. Bluntly stated, they are helping us get nowhere!
Training, assistance and advice can go only so far. When it comes down to the real nitty-gritty of it all, is there really the strong resolve to fulfill the ultimate purpose of it all: to go into combat and fight?
In Vietnam after years of training, assisting and advising the South Vietnamese armed forces, the South Vietnamese ran away leaving good equipment. In the final battle for Saigon, South Vietnamese officers ran away, deserting their units, discarding their uniforms and melting into the local population.
Two viable options exist for the U.S. in Afghanistan. One is to pull out and leave the country completely. The other course of action is to put regular combat units back into the country with proper aviation support and go in to win. However, it remains to be seen as to whether this country has the intestinal fortitude to do so.
Frank B. Austin, O’Fallon