Criminality, culpability, or incompetence…..History will likely record our Afghanistan debacle as the end of an Empire. The magnitude of this failure, the significance of this event on our foreign policy going forward, the sheer momentousness of all that this portends is hard to comprehend. Now, with 13 needless American dead, the weightiness of the incomprehensible collapse of everything it means to BE an American is staggering, and impossible to put adequately into words.
I am not talking only of the unimaginable spectacle of the doddering President effectively surrendering to our enemies, something that has NEVER even been considered by any previous President, or even the mystifying ineptitude of our military leaders at the highest levels. There is something even more disconcerting going on here. There are, inexplicably, a significant number of Americans who are defending this historic failure, and this administration.
It is tempting to dissect the events in Afghanistan going all the way back to 2001. The history of our involvement there, our successes and our failures, is a massive, and massively complex, subject. And, for the purposes of trying to come to grips with the ignominy of our retreat, most of it is irrelevant.
The facts are simple, we surrendered, to the Taliban, the entire nation of Afghanistan, abandoned our Afghan and NATO allies, and deserted our fellow Americans, leaving them all to test their fates against the tender mercies of the most brutal savages in the world. As a nation, and through the actions of the man claiming to be our President, and after consulting with supposed military professionals, our military was ordered to cut and run, discarding more than $80B worth of lethal and high-tech equipment. And that was just the beginning of our national nightmare.
By itself, the betrayal of literally everyone who was counting on us to continue to be AMERICANS was ghastly. But we also armed a tribe of terrorists, turning them into one of the best equipped armies in the region. If that wasn’t bad enough, we not only let them get their hands on the classified documents detailing which Afghan citizens worked for or supported coalition forces, we handed the Taliban a list of all the Americans and Afghans that we were trying to evacuate. It is so inconceivably stupid that it cannot possibly be real, but it is.
After euphemistically “collapsing” back on Kabul, in the middle of the night, without notifying any of our allies, we seemed shocked that the ANA quickly fell apart, followed immediately by the collapse of the Afghan Government. We eliminated all the tactical tools in their toolbox the moment we pulled the support personnel they needed to wage war, and we relinquished key terrain without so much as a harsh word. In fact, in the case of THE key piece of terrain, Bagram Air Base, we slinked away in the middle of the night without even a courtesy call to the base commander. Shameful.
In Kabul, it was a surprise to some that the scene descended into chaos. Secretary of Defense, Austin, and CJCS Milley, along with other equally genius officers, presumably at CentCom, recommended abandoning all else and falling back to focus on the defense of Kabul, only to do nothing to defend Kabul. The Taliban took the city from them without firing a shot, other than the celebratory ones they like to fire when they have beaten the world’s sole superpower through the tricky military strategy of driving into town, unopposed, and planting a flag.
Once the stupefyingly clueless military strategy of our ‘gifted’, senior, uniformed leaders led to the horrible surrender of the entire nation of Afghanistan to a group of flip-flop wearing, 7th Century, barbarians, the administration and their lackeys in the media took immediate ownership of their failures. Just kidding, they blamed Trump. Displaying his usual lack of self-awareness, Biden claimed that his hands were tied, and he was simply executing an agreement Trump made. Some, in the media, to their credit, started pushing back. Finally. I guess there is a bridge too far for some of these “journalists”, you simply must abandon enough Americans to fend for themselves to find it. In order to believe the claim that this was all DJT’s idea, you must ignore Trump’s actions while President, and set aside common sense. First, if Biden followed Trump’s plan, it would be the only plan of his predecessor that he didn’t reverse outright, without the slightest consideration of the consequences of doing so. Second, if this really was Trump’s plan, surely Biden and his group of military geniuses would have seen the folly in it and called an audible. If they failed to see the flaws, they are more woefully artless at the art of war than they appear now, which is an impressive feat indeed. A third option is that this was Trump’s plan, and the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight (GTCSS) agreed with it, making it now THEIR plan. Ownership of the plan happens when you decide to execute it, regardless of the author. The final, and most plausible, option is that this is the brainchild of the brain trust of the brainless, spineless, clueless, GTCSS.
There is an alternative ending, which is probably the most accurate. In this alternative scenario we consider the fact that we have history’s greatest intelligence collection apparatus. There is nothing we don’t see, no email we don’t read, no phone calls we don’t listen in on. When Trump was negotiating with the Taliban about a framework for reducing the American footprint in Afghanistan, he apparently called the Taliban Commander, Abdul Baradar, and told him, in brutally blunt terms, that if a single American or ally was harmed, or if any provision of their agreement was not followed to the letter, that he would obliterate the Taliban Commander, personally. He then told the Taliban Commander exactly where he (Baradar) was located, pointing out that his location was always known to us. Our capabilities belie the idea that we were caught unawares. This was so inept and incompetent that it could not have been a mistake, in my opinion.
One hypothesis is that Biden, in a rush to be out on 9/11, made a deal with the Taliban to leave all our equipment and abandon Bagram, so long as they allowed him to pull all personnel out without interruption. If so, he was double-crossed, and this was more than he or his team of military “experts” could deal with. This is all conjecture at this point, of course, but it is the only way any of this makes sense to me with the information we currently have.
However, it came to pass, having been surprised by the Taliban, the GTCSS was caught in a reactionary loop. The Taliban was forcing them to react to the Tali-plan, rather than the other way around. This has gone poorly for the GTCSS, but worse for those that were relying on the United States to exhibit the barest modicum of competence.
Now, for the first time in our history, we are going to leave Americans behind, to be cannon fodder for terrorists. We have the ability and capability to prevent this, but we don’t have the military or political will to do so. The President of the United States is surrendering American citizens and our allies to a group of terrorists that we have beaten on every significant encounter for 20 years, for a reason that is not clear, and one which cannot possibly be sufficient. The damage this entire episode has done is incalculable.
Right now, the correct answer to this crisis, of our own making, would be to retake Bagram, reinforce Kabul, and slaughter Taliban in biblical numbers. However, much of that would require some level of cooperation from Afghans themselves, and why would any sane person, let alone an entire country, trust us now? Our political cowardice, or duplicity, whichever it ends up being, has eliminated almost every tool from OUR toolbox. The only realistic option would be to take Kabul, which we could do fairly quickly, and bring everyone out, BEFORE pulling the military out this time. We would likely still not get every American out, but it would be better than what is certainly coming.
Believe it or not, the fallout in Afghanistan itself will pale in comparison to the second and third order effects we will experience in the future. First, imagine what it would take to regain the trust needed for any current ally to help us again, or for any future potential ally to align themselves with us. Can you envision what it will take to make locals see the benefit in assisting us on their soil? Then, what about the way our actions will influence our current enemies? China is already making overtures toward Taiwan, Russia is becoming more arrogant, and Iran is licking its chops at the thought of nuclear weapons knowing there is no chance the United States is able or willing to stop them. We will see shifting alliances as nations realize we cannot be trusted, and have become a paper tiger, more concerned about teaching our soldiers Critical Race Theory than teaching them about making war. We are in extremely dangerous waters, and our crew is a bunch of moronic drunks who appear to have never sailed a boat before.
Now, we have dead Marines, and one dead Sailor. This was a completely avoidable scenario. Our “Commander-in-Chief” killed them as surely as if he detonated the explosive vests himself. Every single person who voted for this obviously cognitively challenged crook is equally responsible for those deaths, as they placed the value of ‘no more mean tweets’ over the value of our national security. They put political party over their country. This debacle is on all of them.
Biden must go. Period. Impeachment, resignation, or 25th Amendment…whatever the method, he cannot lead. He is incapable of carrying out his duties. And, in my opinion, he just committed treason. He rendered aid and comfort to our enemies. I don’t see any other way to articulate his actions in arming our enemies when he easily had the means to retrieve or destroy our equipment. He, and those advising him, have failed spectacularly, and at every level. If they simply had made decisions by flipping a coin, they would have gotten around half of the decisions right. It is almost as if they were trying to get only wrong answers. This cannot stand. Not only does the President have to be relieved, his military commanders whose fingerprints are anywhere on this, must not just be fired, but be cashiered out of uniform. This is unforgivable.
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