The U.S. military said it will offer recommendations on the war in Afghanistan to President Donald Trump within the next week. The announcement comes amid expectations of a request for thousands of more troops to break a stalemate with Taliban insurgents. Current and former U.S. officials said discussions revolve around adding three to five thousand troops. Those forces are expected to be largely made up of trainers to support Afghan forces and air crews. So far, Trump has offered little clarity about whether he could approve more forces for Afghanistan Wochit
Just over 50 years ago, I was a frontline combat Marine in the Vietnam War during 1965-1966. I served in two famous infantry battalions. On March 29, 1973, we left Vietnam, unfortunately, in disgrace after ten long years of fighting, incurring more than 58,000 servicemen and women killed in action (KIA).
Fast forward – we have been fighting in Afghanistan for 16 years now – the longest war ever fought by the United States, sustaining over 2,300 service people KIA. Ask yourself, what do we have to show for it?
President Donald Trump faces tough decisions about how to proceed in Afghanistan, where rebuilding projects have repeatedly failed, hindered by bribery and fraud among Afghan nationals and United States contractors. Ironically, military leaders have already begun calling for an increased U.S. troop presence in the country, which could anger Trump’s voting base – people like me. In February of this year, Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr. (a U.S. Army four-star general who has commanded our forces in Afghanistan and the Resolute Support Mission since March 2016) described the situation as a "stalemate" and issued a warning about heavy casualties among U.S.-trained forces in the country.
I have just published a book, "Vietnam: My War – Five Decades Later," about my first-hand warfare experiences during the earliest phase of the Vietnam War. I discuss the lessons and strategies put forth by Sun Tzu in his book "The Art of War." Then I ask why haven’t our politicians and senior-level military strategists learned anything from the Vietnam conflict? From my perspective, we have not. We have not because I do not feel that the current political powers, on both sides of the aisle, as well as our current key military leaders have the guts and conviction to fight a war as described by this ancient Chinese general, superior military strategist and great philosopher.
My advice is that today’s U.S. military and political leaders of the Afghan effort should take away a clear understanding of Sun Tzu’s work – “The supreme act of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Sun Tzu went on to state that you must: “know your enemy, know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”
And lastly, Sun Tzu stated: “Once war is declared, he will not waste precious time in waiting for reinforcements, nor will he turn his army back for fresh supplies, but cross the enemy’s frontier without delay.”
James I. Schaap is a former Marine Corps Corporal and an 80% service-connected disabled Vietnam Veteran who lives in Reno. Learn more about his new book at www.jamesikeschaap.com.