Tyler Hackler posted this picture and I think it speaks to emotions being felt again by GWOT vets and the realization of the link between Vietnam veterans and the current vets. Although vastly different in how we were treated at home in comparison, the view of "failed" overall missions and the loss that they caused are pretty bonding I believe.
In Vietnam they couldn't go into Cambodia where their enemies sought refuge. When they did get to go in, they were called back before being able to accomplish the goals and left their enemies safe haven with the knowledge they would continue to be attacked without being able to truly retaliate. I've talked to some of these guys who went into Cambodia after years of being restrained and its pretty emotional, especially when they talk about having to turn around and go home before accomplishing their mission, which was in literal eye sight.
In Afghanistan we had Pakistan, where we openly received rockets and mortars from. They'd sneak across the border a few meters, set the rockets and leave back to their safe haven. They were able to slink down the mountains attack us and run back. Pakistan was supposed to be an ally, but never went into waziristan the neighboring province, and couldn't control it, yet we weren't permitted to go there either. Its hard to fight with both hands behind your back. Even the killing of Bin Laden was shockingly done without Pakistan knowledge for fear they would tip him off. His killing was symbolic only because he had not been relevant for several years by that point. Personally, I would have rather them let us fight the fighters in Pakistan than kill bin Laden, but no one asked me.
In both situations we left allies to be slaughtered after years of promising the opposite. The world currency isn't just the American dollar, its the actions of government, that's why we no longer have respect world wide and that is why terrorists have known that the western nations will collapse in a prolonged war. Britain, France, America, even Russia have capitulated despite technology.
This isn't the Afghans fault, we taught them to rely on the same technology that gave us the advantage while not giving them the technology to succeed and have the advantage. This war, like Iraq and Vietnam, was a generational game. We should have stayed and let the same little girls who we fought to give the privilege of education to grow up and become the same force that women are in America today. We should have stayed and let the boys who brought us phone cards and falafels grow up with their business savvy and the desire to be more than a serf to grow up to be the fierce fighter for independence that they wanted.
We've abandoned those who will not be able to defend themselves to suffer the same fate as those we fought for in Mosul and all over Iraq. They will be beheaded, burnt, and thrown into slavery. Those young boys, when family debt can't be paid, will be turned into chai boys (look it up). The girls who want to read, write, and be independent will be killed for attempting to do any of this, just like in Mosul.
We didn't fail in the battles. But our nation just failed those people who would have made their country stronger. This is more than a tragedy or depressing, its a massacre of innocence because those who sent us to fight didn't have the fortitude to see it through. While I'll be glad to know Americans won't be killed there, it'll be only at the cost that freedom will never exist and thousands upon thousands have and will be killed there because they believed our promises to never abandon them.