Afghan War planners caught plagiarizing ending from war in Vietnam

It all sounded so familiar.

By Cat Astronaut

KABUL — U.S. military officers involved with planning the War in Afghanistan have been caught plagiarizing plans from the 1970s to lose the Vietnam War, according to a new report on the decades-long conflict that abruptly ended on Sunday.

“I thought the plans looked a little strange at first, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I noticed they forgot to update some of the charts,” said Dr. Tim Plumber, an author of the report. “In the Afghanistan surge plans from 2009, there are two whole pages about off-limits brothels in Saigon.”

After reviewing hundreds of planning documents from both wars, Plumber’s team said it was obvious they had just copied and pasted “Afghanistan” into places where the documents previously said “Vietnam.” When they saw that one of the overarching goals of the war was to contain the spread of communism into Northern Helmand Province, they knew something was fishy.

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“Not only was the general nature of their plans the same, but they took direct quotes out of the Vietnam playbook,” said Plumber. “Jingoistic call to arms to combat a poorly-understood but vaguely menacing threat; years of slogging counterinsurgency devoid of purpose; ineffective training and preparing of local forces to one day deal with problems on their own; slow descent into apathy and waning public interest and/or support, followed by a clumsy and embarrassing withdrawal. 

“It’s all there.”

The revelation has rocked the military’s strategic planning community, which prides itself on its ability to find new and innovative ways to waste American lives and dollars.

“In Iraq, at least we did it in funky and creative ways,” said retired Gen. Mark Scruggsfield, who planned numerous ill-fated operations for which he was awarded three Legions of Merit and a six-figure job after retirement. “Makes me cringe that our best officers can’t even find original ways to lose.” 

In the long term, Plumber remains hopeful that there’s a silver lining to it all. 

“If I was a betting man, I’d bet we’ll see helicopters taking off from the roof of the embassy in Kabul any day now,” he said. “But 40 years from now we’ll all get along just fine, and Afghanistan will be a pretty affordable yet exotic vacation destination.”

Cat Astronaut is a demobilized mobile infantryman and the creator of Ye Olde Tyme News.