In 1975, a handful of Soviet military advisers were sent to Afghanistan; by 1978, there were more than 3,000; within a decade, well over half a million Soviet troops has passed through.
US involvement in Vietnam also began with a small advisory mission in 1950. It expanded to 750 in 1955, and 16,300 by 1963.
This reflects the inherent difficulties of long-distance regime change, and the excessive and usually disappointed hopes placed in modern air power.
- No Boots on the Ground? U.S. Specal Force wearing sneakers? Libyan rebels receive military training (politisite.com)