Now they are conventional wisdom.
In 2008 Michael published his second book,
Afghanistan is going to be much worse than anything we saw in Iraq and the conflict there could continue for decades.
Writing from a war zone is very rough on equipment, Michael is constantly having to have his equipment repaired and replaced.
After spending more than half his life in 74 countries outside the United States, including 25 Asian countries, a realization dawned that main human tides are beyond anyone’s control.
Media cannot be trusted, nor can government officials.
So, in 2004, he struck off to the Iraq war.
So thirsty were people for raw information that just months later, he went from no blog, to one of the busiest in the world.
Los Angeles times reported in 2006:
“[Michael Yon] emerged last year as the reporter of choice for many conservatives and supporters of the war.
His blog inspired so much buzz that by last month only 83 other blogs, out of about 26 million on the Internet, received more links from other websites.”
Strangely, he was not supporting the war, or opposing it.
Just taking inventory.
But since he was not waving anti-war, Bush-hate flags, this was taken as pro-war and pro-Bush.
Michael accomplished this with two cameras, one laptop, one helper, no advertisement, and willingness to say the truth no matter who it helped or hurt.
So here we are still in Afghanistan, dependent upon the same media to report knowledgeably and honestly.
Our biggest failures in Iraq and Afghanistan started with bad information, broken paradigms, with our American psyche still resonating with echoes of the big bang of Manifest Destiny that built our great land and then got us into trouble.
We sat at the table too long and now must push back to preserve and strengthen what we have.
To his credit, the President Trump recognizes that changing Afghan culture is not a viable path.
Afghanistan must not be on the menu of Manifest Destiny.
See the entire article below.
Others feel differently, evidenced by thousands of casualties.
There are simple turf wars with economic or local political basis.
Afghanistan is the biggest narco-state in human history.
Tribal and monetary veins are strong.
Proxy dimensions between players such as India and Pakistan are heavy influencers.
Interestingly, many Pashtun, Baloch, and others see the US as allies or potential allies in broader struggles. Pashtun, as example, sometimes contact me as if I speak for the US government, asking if we will help Pashtuns resist CPEC, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
I say, I do not speak for the United States, and offer only soft, informal advice to a few people. I ask what will you do about CPEC?
Some Pashtun seem ready to fight, seeing CPEC as a threat to a Pashtun homeland.
Domestically, in the US, Trump’s best political bet is to run the war as secretly as possible, while investing in propaganda and spin.
President Trump alluded only vaguely to political solutions in AfPak, making no mention of tribes. Kabul and Islamabad are not central powerhouses that one finds in Berlin or Bangkok, where one government speaks for most people.
The President of Afghanistan is often called the Mayor of Kabul. Talking about Afghanistan as a discreet location or country is as meaningless as talking about the Hawaiin climate while ignoring the Pacific.
If the US is to operate as a stabilizing influence in AfPak, tribes are primary keys. Or, as Steven Pressfield would say: It’s the tribes, Stupid.
We do not negotiate with Pashtun or other peoples as ethnic groups. Internally they, too, are factionalized.
Trump made no mention of tribes.
I asked in many villages why they thought we were there.
Many did not have any idea.
Others said they heard there was a bomb in America.
Our men and women are courageous.
If I could have streamed live for hours on end, day after day, year by year, from combat, our troops would make you proud, and probably leave some people hiding under tables.
But they kept going. Doing their missions.
There was plenty of courage and dedication.
I probably saw more combat in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other writer.
If not, close.
My take away was that this generation is better than popularly advertised.
Tough, resilient, smart, they make great Soldiers.
And it is up to older generations not to waste their lives chasing fantasies.
We must not continue pouring lives into bottomless pits that do not serve vital national interests.
So far, our various AfPak strategies have created a drug factory with monied enemies who are even more international than when we began.
I walked endless miles through that poppy and corn, in the mountains in deserts, watching our young people shot and blown to pieces.
We can beat the Taliban and associates.
That is simple, but would require epic war crimes spanning several countries, that no doubt would create a larger war.
Checking Iran includes maintaining airbases and intelligence operations.
See the entire article below.
I have been there during times of great troop strength and limber ROE and the grass still grew faster than we were willing to cut.
My sources indicate that when new US forces and any additional Coalition arrive in Afghanistan, total force will be fewer then 20,000.
Last time I was there, we had about 150,000.
Probably double that with civilian enablers.
I saw airstrikes nearly daily just in the places I went, and more firefights than I can remember.
It was not a matter of relaxing ROE.
We were free to shoot bad guys.
Even with 150,000 + enablers, if we were to succeed with troop strength alone, we brought a gallon of paint to cover a barn.
That gallon would barely paint the barn doors.
Coalition forces never have, and never will, step foot in the vast majority of Afghan villages, not to mention the Pakistan side.
After a string of smart Generals, and now into our third President plotting to win America’s longest war, it should be apparent that all the King’s Horses and men cannot glue Afghanistan into something that it never was.
Our regional interests must not be ignored.
These interests are best served with a small, quiet footprint.
Within US borders, we somewhat control small areas, yet even on many American streets, wild gangs free range, while aliens wash over our borders.
By comparison to the impossible AfPak frontier, the US-Mexico border is easy to guard. The Durand Line is just scribble on a map, with scattered checkpoints on the ground.
The line drawn by a couple of men splits through the Pashtun people, without their agreement, like two men randomly drawing a line through Mexico and expecting Mexicans to care.
The border we should must be concerned about starts in the Gulf of Mexico and ends in the Pacific.
The biggest monster we face is China.