No one thinks Kabul will fall while American forces are here. But even top U.S. commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal's latest assessment says that without reversing insurgent momentum in the next 12 months, defeating the insurgency will no longer be possible.
The quiet truth whispered by soldiers in the field and aid workers in Kabul is that the Afghan government is not likely to ever control southern Afghanistan's wildlands, the foreboding territory beyond the provincial capitals.
If complete destabilization of Afghanistan was the objective, then the US and NATO can congratulate each other and say, "mission accomplished."
However, if this was not the objective of the military campaign in Afghanistan, every single soldiers' death and injury here have been for naught.
The knuckleheads in the previous administration thought that a war would be "cheaper" than negotiating with the Taliban for the pipeline routes, which they were doing as late as August of 2001.
So what should we do?
1. "Get out of Dodge" and leave Afghanistan as fast as safely possible for those troops remaining.
2. Negotiate with whatever government is left standing for the installation of those pipelines to control Eurasian oil.
3. Demand from all elements of US government that they learn the lessons of history, both cultural and military, before ever, ever putting one single US military person in harm's way.
4. Forcefully remind those in power that war is never "cheaper" than negotiations. Take a good look at all the energy deals Russia and China have made recently, without firing a single shot to make these happen.