Does the Great Retreat from Afghanistan Mark the End of the American Era? | The New Yorker

It’s not just an epic defeat for the United States. The fall of Kabul may serve as a bookend for the era of U.S. global power. In the nineteen-forties, the United States launched the Great Rescue to help liberate Western Europe from the powerful Nazi war machine. It then used its vast land, sea, and air power to defeat the formidable Japanese empire in East Asia. Eighty years later, the U.S. is engaged in what historians may someday call a Great Retreat from a ragtag militia that has no air power or significant armor and artillery, in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Source: Does the Great Retreat from Afghanistan Mark the End of the American Era? | The New Yorker

We have, I believe, proven again that we cannot successfully intervene in civil wars in far-flung countries in which the established governments are as corrupt and inept as those who are attempting to wrest power from them. Every country that went into Afganistan has left with mud on its face at the cost of many dollars and many lives.

This New Yorker op ed asks a cogent question. Can the U.S. survive another Vietnam-style defeat? I don’t think so. Some say the unexpected collapse of just about everything in Afganistan occurred because the U.S. was operating with bad intel. I suggest we were operating with zero intel. Did any sane official or military commander think when we went into that country in 2001 that we would be there so long, spend so much money, sacrifice so many lives, and then emerge saying, “By God, that was worth it?”

If so, how naïve they must have been, and continued to be up until this very moment.


Contest: Holding Each Elephant’s Tail: Voices from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

from Missouri Warrior Writers Project:

Holding Each Elephant’s Tail:  Voices from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

The Missouri Warrior Writers Project, in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council, is pleased to announce a contest and call for submissions for its national anthology of writing by veterans and active military service personnel of Afghanistan and Iraq about their wartime experience.  This experience includes deployments and those who have never been deployed.  Transition back into civilian life is also a topic of interest for this anthology. The contest will award 250.00 each to the top entries in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.  All entries will be considered for publication in the anthology.  There is no entry fee.  Guidelines are listed below:

-Prose limited to 5000 words. Up to 3 poems (max 5 pages). Submissions that exceed these limits will be disqualified.

– Deadline December 30, 2011. Winners will be announced by April 1, 2012.

– There is no entry fee for submission, but submissions must be limited to one per person per genera

– Manuscripts must be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document. (Save with a *.doc extension). Please combine all poems into one document and use first poem as title.   Send to:

-Put your name and contact information on the first page of your submission document and nowhere else within the manuscript.

-Please include a brief (75 words or less) bio with your submission.

-Work previously published will be considered, but new work is preferred.

-Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but we ask that you notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. (This will avoid potentially awkward situations.)

-Southeast Missouri State University Press acquires first-time North American rights for previously unpublished work. After publication, all rights revert to the author and the work may be reprinted as long as appropriate acknowledgement to the anthology is made. All entries will be considered for publication.

JUDGES:  Brian Turner, poetry.  Mark Bowden, nonfiction.  William Pancoast, fiction.

The anthology will be released  on Armed Forces Day, 2012.

Contact for additional information

What a great project and a wonderful idea for an anthology.