...The relentless affirmation of [the US military's] lethality leads to underestimation of the enemy. Before you stick your hand into a hornets’ nest, it is well to examine the hornets. We don’t. The Taliban are primitive mountain-crawlers with AKs. “No problem, sir! We can take them. We’re the best equipped etc.” In an ancient war of classical antiquity, the Vietnamese were held in contempt as rice-propelled paddy maggots. No problem, sir. We’ve got fighter planes and tanks and endless zip-wowees. Everything but understanding and curiosity.
Of course, Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City. In like fashion, the French also got run out of Viet Nam, and from Algeria, the Russians from Afghanistan, the Israelis from Lebanon, in each case a trained modern military losing to angry and inventive amateurs...
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