It is with considerable sorrow that we must now leave a country for which we sacrificed so much. We invested so many lives and so much treasure, and I would have thought the local people would return our munificence and stay with us, but no — they have chosen to go their own way.

How could we have lost? We are indisputably the world’s only superpower with the finest armed forces and the most dazzling array of military hardware. As you know, we have defeated many nations with far more power than the ragtag soldiers our enemy has mustered. They could barely assemble a united force, while our men were supremely well trained and just as supremely well equipped.

And strategically, we controlled all the entry points going into and out of their country. We entered their territory with lightening speed, and immediately took control of their cities; that is where the bulk of their population live, leaving only the often barren countryside under their control. Many of their citizens welcomed us as friends and even liberators, and many stayed with us until the very end.

Most poignantly, what we had to offer their citizens was the finest, most advanced civilization on Earth, one that many of them welcomed with open arms, seeing the beauty of the life which we were willingly offering them. How they can now turn us down and sign on with the crude, bumptious government they will now have to live with?

Yet this is where we are: the people will stay with the rebels and try to work with them to create a new regime, one following a set of principles which we will never fully understand. And we and our soldiers will leave this ungrateful land and return home. But let us see just how successful this benighted nation proves to be under the problematic leadership of their military hero, George Washington.

Cheiten is a long-time Princeton resident and author of plays, short stories, and poems. Of this piece, he says: ‘In view of the humiliating collapse of the U.S.’s Afghan adventure, I wanted to write a set of reflections of what a general might be thinking in the face of such a fiasco.’

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