The Patience Reservoir

The United States should expedite its departure from Afghanistan, said former Air Force Chief of Staff retired Gen Ron Fogleman. “The American public’s patience for this war is over. It’s done. And so the sooner we leave, the better,” asserted Fogleman Wednesday during an address sponsored by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies in Arlington, Va. He added, “It was a dream that you could take an area of the world that wasn’t a functioning country and turn it into a functioning country on the timelines required to satisfy the American public. [It] just wasn’t going to happen.” Fogleman said it’s “pretty amazing” the public has “hung with this thing for 10 years,” because “the American public will not sustain a long war. It’s just not in their nature.” However, even though “certainly, in the near term, it’s no success, by the classic criteria,” Fogleman said he was moved to optimism about Afghanistan by a conversation he had just had with David Chu, former Pentagon personnel and readiness chief. Chu said “we may not know . . . for 50 years” if US involvement there was worth it, recounted Fogleman. Immediately after the Korean war, noted Fogleman, South Korea showed little sign that it would be a thriving democracy and economic power within that same span.