Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch: "[A] government that collapses in days without America propping them up wasn't worth $2.2 trillion and thousands of American lives."
Josh Marshall agrees:
It is crystal clear that the Afghan national army and really the Afghan state was an illusion. It could not survive first contact with a post-US military reality. As is so often the case in life – with bad investments, bad relationships – what we were doing there was staying to delay our reckoning with the consequences of the reality of the situation.
But as I’ve said..., we knew this part. What has been deeply revealing to me is the American response. ... [T]he reaction has demonstrated to me is the sheer depth of denial. The inability to accept the reality of the situation. And thus the excuse making. Sen. Maggie Hassan’s press release ... is a painfully good example of that. So is this article by in The Atlantic by George Packer. Virtually everything Richard Engel has been writing on Twitter for the last 24 hours. All so much the cant of empire. But more than this, far more important than this, simply unwise.
In just the last century, let alone the past thousands of years of humanity, no one has held Afghanistan. The British, the Soviets, and now us, three separate empires with nearly-unmatched power, all three with bloody noses courtesy of an ungovernable quintet of steep valleys with few natural resources other than poppies.
You'd think we'd learn. But no, we didn't.