No, Afghanistan is NOT a humiliating defeat.

lawrence serewicz
3 min readOct 4, 2021

We have heard a lot of overheated rhetoric about America suffering a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. Among the many commentators are those who should know better than to characterise the end of the conflict as a humiliating defeat.

When compared to *any* previous humiliating defeat, America’s withdrawal from Afghtanistan after 20 years of war, at a time, place, and pace of its choosing, is anything *but* a humiliating defeat. To argue otherwise, is to be intellectually dishonest and to dishonour those who have suffered a humiliating defeat.

  1. France 1940 is a humiliating defeat. France (and its allies) was defeated in six weeks. A well equipped, well trained, modern, experienced army was steamrolled in six weeks by the Nazis.
  2. Dunkirk 1940 is a humiliating defeat. Britain had to evacuate most of its troops but still left behind all their equipment and 40,000 men. They fled under an improvised evacuation facing continuous German attacks as the remaining French and British troops fought a valiant, if ultimately futile, rearguard action. Nothing was negotiated and France and Britain surrendered on the Nazis terms.
  3. Burma 1942 was a humiliating defeat. As General Joseph Stillwell put it bluntly, the Allies (British, Chinese, and American) were run out of Burma by the Japanese. He had to fight an exhausting rearguard action holding off the Japanese. Stillwell walked out of the Burmese jungle leading his men in one of history’s greatest retreats.

“I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is as humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, go back and retake it.”

  1. Singapore 1942 was a humiliating defeat as the Japanese, despite being outnumbered, overran the British and conquered what had been considered a defensive bulwark in seven days. The Japanese bluffed the British into surrendering even though Churchill had told the local commander, Percival, to fight to the end. In the end, 80,000 British, Indian, and Australian troops were captured. It remains the largest surrender in British history. Once they surrendered the local population was subjected to horrific treatment by the Japanese military…