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U.S. did its job

Dear Editor:

Not sure why the mess in Afghanistan is President Joe Biden’s fault. Successive administrations have wanted to get us out. Obama wanted to do it. Trump said he would. Biden just did it.

In either case, getting out smoothly depended on the Afghans soldiering on while we did and, after 20 years training and equipping them, they certainly should have been able to — and the word from our generals was they could.

I served in Vietnam. The U.S. general then always saw “the light at the end of the tunnel” and claimed the Vietnamese could hold their own.

General Westmoreland was at least far more right than the current idiots: he Vietnamese did soldier on, hard. Even so, how many of us remember the turmoil in Saigon at the end, with the U.S. Embassy staff being evacuated by helicopter?

We just don’t seem to learn well. With Vietnam as recent as it was, we can fairly criticize Biden for continuing to believe the current Westmorelands, and for not beginning civilian evacuations far earlier.

But I don’t think anyone could have anticipated how quickly and completely the 350,000 man Afghan army would collapse, except the U.S. generals who worked with them. They should have, and they just need to be court martialed for that incompetence.

As to you guys who served there and are angry at politicians handing you another “defeat” — you didn’t lose, any more than I lost in Vietnam. If the U.S. had decided to stay in either place, we would still control the ground. The question in either case — the question Trump and Biden were answering — is how long must the U.S. bleed to control someone else’s ground, before letting them sink or swim themselves?

Pete Westover,

Russell

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