Some time in the next two years the United States will pack up its guns and leave Afghanistan. Like Vietnam, and to some extent Iraq, it will be able to boast that its military was never defeated in battle. Like Vietnam and even more like Iraq, the United States will leave Afghanistan having utterly failed to achieve any of the strategic objectives that led it to invade. It was all for nothing - all the lives, military, insurgent and civilian; all the billions that not even America could afford to squander; all the lost opportunities.
Canada got roped into a bad deal, a prime minister horribly misled by his top military guy who, as events have proven beyond any doubt, had no idea of what he was doing - none at all. Big Cod my arse. But worse was to come in the form of an ideologically bent leader in whose twisted mind keeping this party going made sense.
Canada, of course, was not alone in this folly. The Guardian's Simon Jenkins neatly summarizes Britain's failure:
Every warning was disregarded in a classic of "cognitive dissonance". The Afghan war has been sustained by years of mendacity and deceit from western governments. Elected representatives, the media and public opinion were induced to buy the line that success was "just around the corner". Embedded journalists would report that the army was "winning hearts and minds" and the Taliban were on the run. Sooner or later Nato would "retrain" the Afghan army, despite constant reports of the hatred and unreliability this army felt towards the occupation. Just last week, the British government bizarrely pledged to build "an Afghan Sandhurst", presumably as a palace for some future Taliban warlord.
All military and diplomatic experience, all the history and the scholarship in the world, did not stop this crude punitive venture being backed by conservatives and liberals alike in both the US and Britain. It was declared a good war. The drumbeats of battle stifled criticism. Any general got a cheer who could boast that the war would be over in weeks, and without a shot fired. Critics were met with the timeless, drear refrain, that their talk was defeatist, cowardly and lacked patriotism. Like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, they were drowned by the lust for glory.
...this is not the endgame. Britain is even now rattling sabres and dicing with disaster alongside the US against Iran. Such a war would be as catastrophic as could be imagined, and against a country that poses no conceivable threat to western security. The sole reason for going to war against Iran is to go to war against Iran. That is how we went to war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Clearly, nothing has been learned.