The trove of U.S. "Lessons Learned" documents on Afghanistan published by the Washington Post portrays, in excruciating detail, the anatomy of a failed policy, scandalously hidden from the public for 18 years. The "Lessons Learned" papers, however, are based on the premise that the U.S. and its allies will keep intervening militarily in other countries, and that they must therefore learn the lessons of Afghanistan to avoid making the same mistakes in future military occupations.
These "lessons learned" should lead to U.S. withdrawal from the countries we have wrecked, opening the way for the UN and other legitimate mediators to come in and help their people to form sovereign, independent governments and to resolve the intractable secondary conflicts that U.S. wars and covert operations have unleashed.
Secondly, the U.S. must conduct global diplomatic outreach to make peace with our enemies, end our illegal sanctions and threats, and reassure the people of the world that they need no longer fear and arm themselves against the threat of U.S. aggression. The most potent signals that we have really turned over a new leaf would be serious cuts in the U.S. military budget - we currently outspend the next seven or eight militaries combined, despite our endless military failures; a reduction in U.S. conventional forces and weapons to the level needed to meet our country's legitimate defense needs; and the closure of most of the hundreds of U.S. military bases on the territories of other nations, which amount to a global military occupation.