While our tactical-level units have performed admirably in Afghanistan, our political leaders, policymakers, and senior general officers have failed them. It is the lack of a consistent and comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan that prevents the Afghan nation’s stability. Three administrations have mishandled the war in Afghanistan. And, after nearly 20 years in the country, we have little to show for our efforts.

As a retired general officer, I include myself in these failures. We have lionized the generals when we should have lionized our men and women that did the work under poor policy and strategy and an inadequate operational approach. They have taken the Afghan government, military, and police as far as they could. It is now up to the Afghans. Good tactics never fix bad strategy.

I give credit to President Trump for promoting our withdrawal. It is way overdue. Unfortunately, it was two secretaries of defense and two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that did not provide him with a withdrawal plan. In addition, four CENTCOM commanders, three SOCOM commanders, and four American ISAF commanders failed as well. For quite some time now, the filling of bodybags and hospital beds has not been justified, and nobody is being held accountable for that.

We have two choices.