Michael Walsh covers it. Here's a quote from the AFP story he cites:
America’s longest war entered its 12th year Sunday, with the anniversary marked by a Taliban statement claiming that NATO forces are “fleeing Afghanistan” in “humiliation and disgrace” . . .
“With the help of Allah, the valiant Afghans under the Jihadi leadership of Islamic Emirate defeated the military might and numerous strategies of America and NATO alliance,” the Taliban said in a statement Sunday.
“And now after eleven years of unceasing terror, tyranny, crimes and savagery, they are fleeing Afghanistan with such humiliation and disgrace that they are struggling to provide an explanation”.
A total of 3,199 NATO soldiers have been killed in the war, more than 2,000 of them Americans. Most deaths occurred in the past five years as Taliban attacks escalated, according to icasualties.com.
Even among the “anti-war” Left, it’s become a commonplace to “honor the troops” for their service. But the very fact that Afghanistan is now America’s longest war — and is slated to end in ignominy in 2014 — ought to be a profound source of shame both for the Pentagon and its civilian masters across the Potomac. The Taliban was quickly routed after 9/11 by a platoon of Marines and a set of steak knives, and the American forces since have distinguished themselves on the battlefield, tactically. But strategically — that’s a different story. Thanks to a total lack of understanding of the meaning of the word “victory,” a failure to finish the job– a failure of will — has been the hallmark of both administrations.
Strategically? There is no strategy, well, except to leave. How can one have a workable strategy when you've announced your departure date in advance?
The military knows how to fight and win. If left to do the job they would. Instead, given the ROE and other impediments, they've essentially been hobbled by the "old women" above them to the extent that they can't even fire at night because they might disturb the local's sleep if they engage the enemy they're watching emplace IEDs.
We talk about never again engaging in a Viet Nam? We're right in the middle of one and doing precisely the same stupid things we did then. In fact we're even "improving" on that debacle while in Afghanistan. It has gone from being a military operation to a political operation - just like Viet Nam. And, as usual, all the politicians have managed to build is a bureaucratic chain of command that is so rule restricted and tentative that they're afraid of their own shadow.
And who suffers? The troops everyone wants to honor.
When you go to war, either go to war to win, or stay home. And yes, victory is not pretty and it is certainly possible a lot of people may die. That includess locals and the enemy. That's the price.
Politicians: If you're unwilling to commit to victory and pay that price, then don't commit the troops.
That is the very best way you can honor them.