The Afghan soldiers sprint ahead, exposed to any bombs but unafraid. U.S. squad leader Sgt. Mason Mullins yells to them to slow down. “We don’t move that fast!”
Time and again this happens: the Afghans outpace the Americans and the Americans must reel them back in. The pace of the raid slows even further when the combined patrol rounds up several Afghan villagers and must enroll them in a biometric database using wireless devices that take 20 minutes to boot up.
By the time they surround Mohammad’s brother’s compound, the Taliban commander and his host are long gone — apparently having fled on a motorbike.
This happens when troops know that the war is not worth their sacrifice (or much else).
The real problem isn't mission failure in an unimportant land-locked country far, far away. The real problem is that a generation of Western army troops and in other ways also Western combat aviation have become used to such a mode of warfare. A mode they won't see again when sometime in the -hopefully distant- future there's a war that can actually remind us why a great part of the peacetime budgets and peacetime efforts for improvement, improvement, improvement* were justified.
*: (or at least matching the levels of performance demonstrated by ancestors)