In the New York Times, Sunday International section, page 13, article: “Video Shows Abuse by Afghan Forces,” ( examines how Afghan forces were videotaped abusing bound and wounded bodyguards of a powerful northern milita-commander arrested by U.S. supported government. The video, filmed by members of the security forces, shows soldiers kicking bloodied detainees and stepping on their heads while smiling and posing for the camera. It appears the lessons of Vietnam are lost to history. As a decorated combat platoon leader in Vietnam, the U.S. and South Vietnam’s forces failed to comprehend the basic rule of any insurgency, win the hearts and minds of the local population. Corrupt government and abusing captives is a wonderful way to turn the population against you to support the insurgency. The simple rule is to persuade the people to support the U.S. supported government by keeping to fairness standards, even if the face of atrocities. The U.S. controls less than half the country, Time to:
1. Compel the U.S. supported Afghan forces to respect the rights of captives, even in the face of atrocities.
2. Continue to build public support through roads, schools, medical support, recruit forces from local populations.
3. If the U.S. supported forces fails to operate within rules of Geneva Convention, deal directly with the Taliban and abandon the U.S. supported corrupted government.
4. Pull out and let the civil war draw to its own conclusion and make a deal with the winner.
After 17 years of war and still ongoing, we have lost and time to admit it.