The four stages of Afghan despair

I recently came across the late Russian journalist Artyom Borovik, who saw and wrote about the Soviet War in Afghanistan. His book Hidden War, has this eerie paragraph:

Anyone who stayed in Afghanistan for a long period of time, or who was sent there on a regular basis, typically went through four phases.

The first stage (which would usually last up to three months) went something like this: “The war is proceeding on a normal course. If only we can add another twenty or thirty thousand men, everything will be fine.”

Several months later the second stage : “Since we’ve already gotten ourselves into this jam, we should get the fighting over with as quickly as possible. Adding another thirty thousand men isn’t going to do it. We need at least another army to shut off all the borders.”

Five or six months later, the third stage: “There is something desperately wrong here. What a mess!”

Then, half a year or so later, the fourth and final stage: “We’d be wise to get the hell out of here – and the sooner the better.

I don’t think this needs much comment, really….