The recent collateral damage and refugee problems from the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are more proof that some foreign policy situations are very difficult to simply bomb your way out of. One commenter yesterday even suggested that the American news media was somehow responsible for the American loss in the Vietnam Civil war. However, the fact is that the U.S. was battling an intense will of nationalism on the part of the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. Further, despite military action since the early 60's in Vietnam all the way until 1973, the U.S, made little headway against North Vietnam and Viet Cong forces operating in the South no matter how much bombs were dropped. The Public simply lost their support for a war that could not be won how it was being fought.
The cold hard fact is that the U.S. dropped 7.8 million tons of bombs during the Indochina War, which was far more than the 2.7 million tons of bombs dropped by the combined Allied forces during the entirety of World War II, and yet this 7.8 million tons went nowhere towards resolving the war in Indochina. The fact of the matter was that the U.S. was killing thousands in Indochina each and every month, and 1.9 million total persons during the war, yet those death figures were nowhere near enough to win that war.
In the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is somehow hoped that dropping a bunch of bombs on religious radicals who believe they are called by God to establish his rule over the nations and challenge nations nations like the U.S. because they believe differently, will somehow win out. But dropping a lot of bombs didn't work in Vietnam.
Certainly the Taliban and Al Qaeda cannot be allowed to win out, or to threaten the U.S. or other nations with their exported brand of terrorism. However, history is not on the side of the U.S. winning wars against motivated low tech opponents. Some foreign policy problems are just too difficult to bomb your way out of.
The strength of the Taliban may now be at their peak in both Afghanistan and Pakistan despite military efforts to stomp them out. So far the current military strategy hasn't really worked to stop the Taliban. And Pakistan has the seventh largest military in the world combating these Taliban forces.
Winning wars against such low tech motivated foes are very difficult for the U.S. despite new advances in technology or new generals with new war strategy plans. Will the Taliban and Al Qaeda ever be defeated. They need to be. But can they be defeated?