A Soviet war vet of the USSR’s war in Afghanistan details why war won’t work:
I asked an old man, ‘Why do you live in such conditions? Don’t you want to do something to improve your lot?’ ” Lisinenko said. “But the man replied, ‘Don’t you understand that the worse we live in this world, the better our lives will be in paradise? We don’t want the same things in life that you want.’ ” How do you battle a foe who has so little to protect in this world? A person who may believe a greater good will come from sacrificing himself, his home, his family? How do you vanquish an enemy for whom categories of defeat and victory, life and death do not match yours? “Nothing we know works in their world,” he said.
“When I hear people talk about terrorist ‘bases’ I have to laugh,” said Vyacheslav Izmailov, who commanded a battalion in Afghanistan. “Terrorists don’t sit in bases waiting for bombs to drop. They live in houses. They live with families. . . . If America begins to drop bombs, all they will do is convince the anti-Taliban population that the United States is their enemy.” Moreover, there are few targets other than villages, the veterans warn. There are few bridges, no factories. Most of the country’s infrastructure has been destroyed in decades of civil war. “Even in Iraq you had something to bomb,” Lisinenko said. “But there are no targets in Afghanistan. There’s nothing there to bomb.”
“Don’t do it like we did. Don’t do it like you did in Vietnam,” he said. “Don’t listen to me if you don’t want. Listen to your own people, those who fought in Vietnam. . . . They’ll tell you the same things.”