That awful grinding noise you're hearing is our progress in Afghanistan coming to a halt and the sound of palm trees and rice paddies sprouting from the Afghan soil.
It started with a request for reinforcements that went unanswered for months.
It sped up when Navy SEALs were brought up on charges because they gave a captured terrorist a fat lip.
Now we're second guessing commanders and punishing them if a mission under their command is unsuccessful. Batallion commanders, company commanders, and platoon leaders all are getting the message loud and clear: take no risks whatsoever. Better to avoid contact than to take the chance that something may go wrong. Imagine if we had fought World War II this way. There would have been no MacArthurs, no Pattons, no LeMays, no Battle of Midway, no Battle of the Bulge, no D-Day.
When you're receiving fire from both the front and the rear, the natural thing to do is dig the foxhole deeper. No risk and no initiative means you're fighting a defensive war on the enemy's terms, where your goal becomes force protection. This is what turns wars into quagmires.