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Proving Santayana right, today marks a milestone in the Afghanistan quagmire. A milestone in colossal stupidity:

“On Saturday Nov. 27, the United States and its allies will reach a grim milestone: they will have been in Afghanistan a day longer than the Soviet Union had been when it completed its 1989 withdrawal.”

And the end is not in sight:

“Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell last week made clear that the 2014 date for an end to combat operations agreed by NATO was an “aspirational” deadline. And an Afghanistan progress report by the Pentagon to the U.S. Congress released Tuesday made clear that despite the Obama Administration’s “surge” of some 30,000 extra American soldiers into the war zone, progress has been modest and the insurgency continues to expand.”

2014? What happened to July 2011?

“…it appears as if President Obama isn’t prepared to cut his losses in the war and order a sharp drawdown of troops next July, when, at least according to his stated policy, US forces will begin to leave Afghanistan. Worse, it looks like the much anticipated December 2010 presidential review of war policy is being reduced to a rubber-stamp approval of General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency scheme.

…Obama is increasingly in harmony with Petraeus. The president and the general are “meshing well, advisers say,” they reported, adding that the president strikes a “deferential tone” toward Petraeus even though Petraeus “has made clear that he opposes a rapid pullout of troops from Afghanistan beginning next July.”

A “deferential tone?” Who’s in charge here? That would be a rhetorical question, the answer is obvious.

“When asked by a reporter about the US “exit strategy” for Afghanistan, the senior defense official took issue with the term. “We don’t have an exit strategy. We have a transition strategy. The US commitment to Afghanistan is continuing, enduring, and long-lasting.”

A “transition” that, according to the former number two U.N. diplomat in Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, could take 100 years:

“We’re talking about something that will take 100 years, generations,” says Galbraith, “You can equip them. You can provide some training, but you can’t make them honest. You can’t make them literate. You can’t make them committed to the notions of policing that we have in the West,” he says.”

Once again, we’ve been here before. Apparently the lesson was unlearned. More on the Pentagon’s report to Congress, with the appropriate editing inserted:

“The Pentagon’s semiannual report to Congress on the war in Vietnam Afghanistan paints a picture of a country where corruption remains rampant, violence has increased, and a well-funded Vietcong Taliban insurgency continues to make troubling gains.

The report, “Progress Toward Security and Stability in Vietnam Afghanistan,” which was released this week, actually cites little in the way of progress in the war, a major US undertaking that is rapidly losing popular support among Americans and threatens to become a political burden on President Johnson Obama.”

The song remains the same, only the names have changed.

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