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Obama could repeat Soviet mistakes in Afghanistan.


From Human Events

The Afghanistan commander warned his political master that “Our soldiers are not to blame.  They’ve fought incredibly bravely in adverse conditions… [But] without a lot more men, this war will continue for a very, very long time.”

This wasn’t an exchange between Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and President Obama at last Friday’s White House strategy meeting, but it could portend a future meeting.  Rather, the speaker was Gen. Sergei Akhromeyev, the commander of the Soviet armed forces, testifying before the Soviet Union’s Politburo in 1986 to explain why 110,000 Russian soldiers were losing in Afghanistan.

Russian generals warned their politicians to abandon the Afghan mission from the start.  Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, then-chief of the Soviet defense staff, warned in December 1979 that an Afghan invasion “…could mire us in unfamiliar, difficult conditions and would align the entire Islamic east against us.”  But defense minister Dmitri Ustinov rejected the general’s advice.  “Are the generals now making policy in the Soviet Union,” asked Ustinov.  “Your job is to plan specific operations and carry them out …. Shut up and obey orders.”  Russia abandoned Afghanistan in Feb. 1989 after losing 15,000 soldiers.