This week on What a Hell of a Way to Die, Francis and Nate discuss what we’ve always known, but never been ready to admit to ourselves.
Stanley McChrystal, retired Army General and former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has finally admitted there is no real answer to the war in Afghanistan. The only reason we continue to fuck around in there is we can’t stand to lose, but we know we can’t win. McChrystal apparently advised Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “muddle along” in Afghanistan, which honestly I could have told you was our grand strategy based on going there myself. And you know, paying attention to the last generation of war.
I went to Afghanistan in 2004. Nate went in 2009. We have people going now in 2018. Maybe once upon a time we had a plan, but I can’t imagine it was any better than what McChrystal is suggesting. Try to train, try to build, and hope like hell it sticks. The only difference is fourteen years ago, maybe there was still hope it could work.
I was told once by someone I respected the worst answer you can give is “I don’t know”. Not because not knowing is something to be ashamed of, but because it shows a lack of decision and conviction. At the very least if you don’t know, you inform the person asking that you will find out the information and get it to them. What we have now is a former leader advising the secretary of state with a shoulder shrug. The same secretary of state who’s bright idea is to keep the war going because the Taliban can’t wait us out forever. Apparently no one informed him of where the Taliban is from and what country we’re in.
For the interview section of the podcast, I spoke with Jason (@falsemotive) who is studying to be a sociologist specializing in the way veterans of the Global War on Terror refer to themselves and the language they use. Since the medical and sociological world doesn’t necessarily have much crossover with veterans, Jason is hoping to bridge the gap between the two so veterans can have a better sense of what successful transition to the civilian world looks like. If you are a veteran no longer serving, but did server during the GWOT, or are within a year of getting out and are interested in helping, send Jason a DM to his twitter account.