This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet client government in Afghanistan. Mark Twain, and more recently Niall Ferguson, claimed that history does not repeat itself, rather, it rhymes.1 If this is the case, then the poem the United States has written in Afghanistan is a tragic one of the Greek variety and highlights hubris in ways we have not seen since that other tragic poem named Vietnam. There is an even more similar Soviet one, also in Afghanistan.
Punch Them in the Nose . . .and then Leave
With no good exit options, U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan should heed the Soviets’ lesson and withdraw with a ‘fighting retrograde.’
By Commander John T. Kuehn, U.S. Navy (Retired)