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Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Afghanistan Debacle Summed Up: We Suck at Nation Building | The Daily Beast

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Elliot Ackerman’s superb narrative exposes all the good intentions, bad practices, and errors that contributed to the turmoil of collapse in 2021. The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan by Elliot Ackerman is a succinct yet heartbreaking book with three connected story strands. Ackerman keeps coming back to the same theme: the lack of commitment on the part of the American government and people, and how this deficiency enabled the Afghan government to lose the trust and confidence of its own people. The absence of permanent American bases and structures seems to be one area where he observes the most evidence of American hesitancy and wishful thinking: “The ultimate tragedy that unfolds in Afghanistan is the accumulation of hundreds of wrong decisions,” he writes. Major General Fred Haynes, a courtly Texan in his mid-eighties, sighed, and said, “We are very good at blowing things up and inflicting maximum punishment on our adversaries, but we ought to get the hell out of the nation-building business because we don’t know what we are doing.”




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