September 29th, 2012

Godzilla, default

The USA had its worst defeat since Vietnam a while back and nobody noticed:

These two articles

discuss that the USA in a recent Taliban attack suffered its worst defeat since the Battle of Kham Duc, where a similar method of attacking US air power actually did work and work very welll for the Viet Cong.

There are two ways to analyze this. At the first level this is a sign that after ten years of a protracted war between the USA and irregular troops the USA's military effectiveness is slipping and in a bad pattern at that. The Taliban likewise are getting better at waging war against us, which one might expect after ten years to learn and to adapt to US methods, which have tended to be firepower and technology over other methods. Which works up until the technologically poorer side decides to attack the airplanes when they're on the ground as opposed to trying to shoot them down in the air.

Second, this is a point that calls into question why the USA is maintaining troops in Afghanistan at all at this point. Osama bin Laden is dead, but Karzai has as much chance to hold back the Taliban as Nyguen van Thieu did to hold back North Vietnam, if not far, far less than that. All that running an already-lost war forever does is keeping the death toll rising, it does not solve issues at any point beyond that. If the Taliban rise, furthermore, it actually would be the first thing since the invasion that deposed them that the USA has done to tie down Iranian strength, as the Iranians no more love the Taliban now than they did during their war against the Northern Alliance. At least when the Soviets had the sense to up and leave they did so by winning a spectacular, if barren and hollow, victory at Operation Majistral. It seems the USA hasn't learned from Vietnam that if we must back one side in a civil war as our proxies to find proxies that can actually fight and intimidate their enemies and won't be bushwhacking us in its spare time.

What never worked in the 1970s won't be more successful now.