Burnside is an ideologue who is certain that he is right and everyone
else is wrong. In his position, he's a deeply dangerous loose cannon.
That is the point of the series.
What, precisely, was the Carter administration supposed to do about
Afghanistan? Invade for the rebels, so that Russian and American
soldiers would be shooting at each other? Afghanistan was the Soviet
Viet Nam -- a long, debilitating, and ultimately fruitless war. It
provided a lot of valuable intelligence about the strength of the
Russian military. The outcome of that mess was about the best that
America could have hoped for -- it weakened Russia's credibility and the
Communist Party's grip on power. Two years after their withdrawal from
Afghanistan, the Soviet Union was dissolved.