A recent discussion regarding the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and Iraq [and Iran?] brought an observation of Henry Kissinger from 1969 to mind.
"I can’t believe,” Kissinger told us, “that a fourth-rate power like North Vietnam doesn't have a breaking point."
While far from being an original thought, it is still somewhat disconcerting to consider that American leadership can continue to enmesh themselves in situations such as this time and again with no thought as to what has led to this path. [Kissinger was wondering the same thing 37 years ago that the current administration is wondering now. The only difference being that the American forces had the option of withdrawal with a chance of success]. The Bush administration has enthusiastically opted to place itself in a state of zugswang from which they no longer have the luxury of disengaging from, unlike earlier neocolonialist 'adventures' in Grenada or Panama. By ignoring the motivations and history of their opponents, they have effectively made the same mistake as a number of military leaders throughout the past century - fighting the wrong battle. Much as the British commanders attempted to repeat the Crimean War during WWI and the French attempted to use the tactics of WWI to win WWII, America's political leadership gives the impression of having gravely misjudged their opponents and their supporters. It is as if they assume that the Iraqi and Afghan peoples have been secretly waiting for the opportunity to become citizens of an American satellite state. Now, instead of seeing what they wanted us to see, we are now witnessing the chickens coming home to roost.