So what determines victory in Afghanistan? If you asked me after 9-11, my answer would have been simple and probably shared by a lot of SOF operators.

Answer=Disrupt a prolific terrorist training network (that we put in place) and capture or kill Bin Laden.

We could learn a bit from the Romans, they would not  interfere with a culture’s ideological and moral differences when playing nation builder. That’s one of the things the Romans did best, leave well enough alone and let the host nation run their own society and culture. How can you unlearn centuries of culture in a decade?

JSOC and War

At least JSOC and the CIA started figuring out that you can’t buy temporary loyalty in the Afghan hills with US currency (it does work elsewhere). It comes down to what’s important to a society, what matters to them. Turns out more than few village elders liked Viagra better than cash, and information started to flow. Whether their wives thought the same of this transaction is another matter entirely.

War is a terrible necessity in the world we live in, it seems like it always has been. Free people continue to sleep soundly at night because certain men and women volunteer to go into harms way to protect them.

I am proud to have served in US SOCOM with my SOF brothers. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That includes giving a lot of  JDAM headaches to a few bad guys, and sometimes their families that were unfortunately with them. While sometimes killing is an unfortunate consequence, I do realize that you can’t kill your way into the hearts and minds of any culture. And it is in the hearts and minds of human beings that the true seeds of freedom and compassion are planted.

Afghanistan Lost