If you've been paying attention to the news at all over the last couple of weeks you must have noticed that the term "unwinnable war" is being applied more and more to our mission in Afghanistan.
It's a stupid phrase because there is no such thing as an unwinnable war. At the end of 1940 the war must have seemed "unwinnable" to the British people. By the end of 1941 the war must have seemed "unwinnable" to the Soviet people - but both eventually prevailed over their enemies.
All wars can be won - it just depends on the strategy and tactics applied. What you actually have are losing strategies and tactics or winning strategies and tactics. If your strategy is failing to achieve the objectives and the tactics are resulting in severe casualties then you need to address that strategy and those tactics - or take advantage of your enemies mistakes in their strategy and tactics.
The truth of Afghanistan - regardless of whether you think we should be there or not - is that our strategy is undefined and our tactics are obviously wrong. First of all, you can not win a war with a political strategy. The overriding strategy must be military. If we insist on pursuing this mission we must face the fact that the Afghan people are neither ready nor capable of governing their country themselves.
The discredited President and his abject, corrupt government must be replaced by a military governance. We ARE an occupying force and an occupying force must take control. Military commanders must have complete control over all areas and be free to take the decisions necessary to achieve objectives.
As for our tactics - well, we keep taking areas which we then withdraw from allowing the enemy to reclaim that land without any effort. Imagine if we had done the same against Nazi Germany? We'd still have a million soldiers camped on the borders of Holland, Belgium and France today!
Our strategy and tactics in Afghanistan are not working. It's always hard - if not impossible - with this style of warfare to achieve success. The only way you can do it is to apply tactics that work and we have only one example where this has been done to a successful conclusion - Malaya.
What we need is an updated version of the "Briggs Plan" - whereby the strategy was to deprive the enemy of resources and safety. Deprive them of food and people and harass them at every opportunity so that they never have a moments respite.
We're not doing that now and as long as we don't do that this war will remain unwinnable.