An interesting prediction

The US president said as recently as 8 July that there was no likelihood of Afghanistan being overrun.

Hmm. And here’s a problem that afflicts any at all hierarchy that tries to do stuff:

The Sigar report also lambasted the tendency for politicians and senior military to look for good news. It says there is a “natural desire for good news to pass on up the chain of command”.

“In the words of one former senior military official: ‘As intelligence makes its way up higher, it gets consolidated and watered down; it gets politicised. It gets politicked because once policymakers get their hands on it, and frankly, once operational commanders get their hands on it, they put their twist on it.

“Operational commanders, state department policymakers and Department of Defense policymakers are going to be inherently rosy in their assessments. They will be unaccepting of hard-hitting intelligence.’”

All factories report that the Plan is met being, Comrade!

As to the specific problem:

It also raises the question of why the Biden administration ever thought it was safe to leave Afghan forces on their own after decades of dependence on the US for key skills, including air cover, logistics, maintenance, and training support for ANDSF ground vehicles and aircraft; security; base support; and transportation services.

So anything complex wasn’t to be done locally by locals.

At the outset, the US began transforming the Afghan National Army from a light-infantry force to a combined-arms service with army, air force, and special forces element.

The local economy – in the broad sense, in that sense of capabilities and technical competence, not just money – couldn’t support a complex military. Thus, perhaps, it would have been better to simply remain with what could be supported locally, a light infantry force.

50 thoughts on “An interesting prediction”

  1. A light infantry wouldn’t stop the Taliban, even if it didn’t suffer from the corruption and rivalry that is endemic there.

    It strikes me that now Afghanistan is a classic example of the sunk cost fallacy but the cost includes lives as well as treasure. All these politicians and soldiers bleating about how all those lives were given in vain are falling into exactly that fallacy. What do you want to do – expend more lives and treasure? To what purpose? History should tell you it ain’t going to work. It’s terrible for the locals, especially the women, but we can’t help everybody. See North Korea as an example.

  2. If the Afghan people have not got themselves into a position to defend themselves after twenty years of the civilised world spending blood and treasure on them, tough.

  3. What Addolff said, in spades.

    Why should anyone else defend a country if the menfolk of that country drop their weapons and run before shots are even fired?

  4. The problem with the entire region – with the noble exception of Israel – is that everyone is fighting but no one is fighting for freedom.

  5. Everyone always tries to maximise what they perceive as their own personal advantage. Understand this & you understand how the world works.

  6. I think you’ll find what was the Afghan armed forces *were* a light infantry force. Sure, they had mine resistant armoured vehicles, but there were no armoured brigades, and their airforce was primarily light helicopters. Their only fighter aircraft were propellor driven and specifically bought on the basis they were “low tech” and easy to support.

    Fundamentally, the big problem was corruption, which is why we’re now hearing reports of military leaders being paid to surrender. Interestingly enough, soon after Taliban meetings with Chinese officials

  7. So sorry, but I find myself simply barren of fucks.

    It’s terrible for the locals, especially the women

    This is the new one for interventionists: “We must do it for the wimmin of Afghanistan’. Apart from the futility, if we are to re-invade Afghanistan under the banner of women’s rights, why are we not also invading Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and any one of a dozen other third world shitholes?

    It’s none of our business and we are best off out of it.

    Although, India might want to have a think about having a border with a bunch of Islamists funded by fascist China. And Putin might also reconsider getting chummy with China when China is building influence throughout the ‘stans which once were part of the Russian/Soviet empire…

  8. A mate of mine was up at Nowzad (I think it was). There was a policy in place that any civilians injured as a result of our actions could claim compensation. One father brought his young daughter in with gunshot wounds three times. On the third time he was of course arrested but the realisation that these people are not like us – though I suppose Shannon Matthews’ mother might have tried they same thing – was powerful. There is no such thing as ‘Afghanistan’ in the way that there is ‘France’ anyway. It’s just an agglomeration of tribes with no loyalty to the next village, never mind to Kabul. The only way to stop it being a problem to the west is to protect our borders, but the Taliban are regularly landing men on our southern beaches and we don’t seem institutionally to care very much. Enoch was right – he just got the who part wrong.

  9. @ MC

    ‘India might want to have a think about having a border with a bunch of Islamists funded by fascist China’

    Funded by the British and US taxpayer too – the money we send to Pakistan is handed directly to the Talib via the ISI. We literally paid for the bombs they killed our squaddies with. Madness.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ It strikes me that now Afghanistan is a classic example of the sunk cost fallacy but the cost includes lives as well as treasure. All these politicians and soldiers bleating about how all those lives were given in vain are falling into exactly that fallacy. What do you want to do – expend more lives and treasure? ”

    And the sink cost works both ways.

    Gen McMasters on the most recent Goodfellows podcast talks about advising Trump on the issue it was well known that Trump wanted out so they presented that option first amongst others. Trump selected the one that was in force when Biden became President because he was persuaded that that was the best option.

    One thing that deeply concerns me is that Biden chose to leave purely because Trump opted to stay and see it out. That is no way to make policy.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Although, India might want to have a think about having a border with a bunch of Islamists funded by fascist China. And Putin might also reconsider getting chummy with China when China is building influence throughout the ‘stans which once were part of the Russian/Soviet empire…”

    China’s main concern is going to be the Taliban taking an interest in the plight of the Uyghurs.

  12. Fighting in Afghanistan is an odd business. The Taliban and the Mujahideen before them aren’t a homogenous unit: they are an alliance of independent groups. These groups change sides. I recall one pitched battle back in the days when the Russians were entrenched there. The government and “rebel” sides were fighting along the length of a town street. The fight stopped when it was time for the evening meal and both sides wandered off with neither pressing the tactical advantage! The next morning both sides took up their positions on that same street and fighting resumed. The one difference was that due to overnight diplomacy one group had swapped sides so was at the other end of the street.

    You can not win a war in Afghanistan. The best you can do is be on the winning side for a period of time.

  13. “We shall fight on the beaches”: or rather, we’ll send the RNLI to help them ashore on the beaches.

    “we shall fight on the landing grounds”: actually they seem to waltz through Heathrow unimpeded.

    “we shall fight in the fields and in the streets”: well, not in Rotheram, obvs.

    “we shall fight in the hills”: oh, aye?

    “we shall never surrender”: but we already have.

  14. As far as I can see as long as the Taliban confine themselves to inflicting medieval atrocities within the borders of Afghanistan let them get on with it

    Wise voices said twenty years ago that trying to turn Afghanistan into Surrey was a completely futile objective

    Politicians NGOs and wimmin activists knew better of course

    Surprised it took this long

    It was clear from the early days that the tribal groups were completely untrustworthy as were our so-called allies in Pakistan

  15. History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

    There ought to be a version of Godwin’s Law for comparing foreign entanglements to Vietnam (though perhaps the promises of ‘a new Vietnam’ if we liberated Kuwait in 1990-91 deprecated that link?) but the parallels are strong.

    As the late Colonel Harry Summers described a conversation with his North Vietnamese Army opposite number, during negotiations in Hanoi in 1975:-

    “You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield.” said the US colonel.

    The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this. “That may be true,” he replied, “but it is also irrelevant.”

    Afghanistan became a place for thrusting G3 types to arrive, spend six months planning and executing Big Operation IMPRESSIVE NAME, and go home for tea, medals, promotions and knighthoods.

    A classic example was Op EAGLE SUMMIT in 2008, moving a 200+ ton turbine to Kajaki Dam: tactically successful (we shot lots of Bad Guys, the turbine got to the dam), operationally comical (the Joint Fires cell were calling in £250,000 GMLRS rockets on individual enemy fighters – impressive precision for the ‘seventy-mile sniper rifle’, but not exactly a cost-effective fight) and over a decade later the turbine’s still sitting there corroding gently because there was no plan to install it, set it to work and keep it under control. But, this was reported as a great success by our brave fighting men (and tactically it was, it was just operationally and strategically pointless)

    For much of the campaign, Vietnam was of similar vein; lots of “search and destroy” and “sweep and clear” missions to chase down the elusive Viet Cong, or to hunt them out in the countryside (because a dozen insurgents on foot or bicycle, can so easily be found and chased down by a battalion of infantry) that generated firefights, US casualties, medals, and a near-mythical “body count” for Washington to plug into computer models and show ‘progress’.

    As popular support waned, “Vietnamisation” was meant to fix things. Unfortunately the South Vietnamese military was massively corrupt (and the US – supposed to be there to empower and free Vietnam – wasn’t able or willing to address that) and whenever it was sent to fight, as at Ap Bac or Lam Son 719, it collapsed in disorder. When North Vietnam attacked southwards in 1975, both sides were confident the US wouldn’t rush back to help… and that quickly ended with the North reuniting the country under Hanoi’s control and the famous shots of helicopters evacuating the US Embassy. Sound familiar?

    On a personal level, I was in the headquarters of Multinational Division(Southeast) in 2005, trying to work out (a) how the Iraqi military and police could stand up and take over as the Coalition troops withdrew, (b) how we could assess and manage that so that we didn’t leave before they were ready, (c) how to resource and manage that transition. There was a very clear step change from above that summer, as word came down to start preparing for Afghanistan; at a point where the reviled “Snatch” Land Rover was being found to be inadequate, we were meant to lose hundreds of them to the Afghan operation and make do with soft-skinned vehicles, for instance. Timescales had to be shortened, resources reduced, and handovers accelerated, to fit around the upcoming Op HERRICK regardless of whether that made sense in Iraq.

    The politicians and the senior Army were “bored” with Iraq, we’d done what we were there to do, Afghanistan was the new place for the cool kids to hang out… and as a result, we failed really badly there. (I can’t claim we’d have done better if we hadn’t been cut off, but what actually happened – collapse of Iraqi security forces, rise of ISIS, a few years of civil war – was pretty much our worst-case-possible scenario)

    But an eighteen-year-old Afghan ANSF or ANA soldier today has lived their entire life under ISAF’s efforts to stabilise and civilise the country; if the tribalism, fanaticism and corruption is so deep that one generation isn’t enough to get it down to a manageable level, how many decades are we meant to keep trying for?

    (Don’t even get me started on the disastrous effects on our Army, which has over twenty years forgotten how to do ‘warfighting at scale’ because an entire generation has served under the mantra of “forget that boring Cold War crap, this is where the action is”.)

  16. “Boots on the ground” is the standard riposte to any suggestion that there might be a better way. It’s just a shame that those boots mean a foreign military occupation which all the locals will hate.

  17. The only way to win a war in a medieval country is to fight in a medieval way. The only way to win against a partisan army where you can’t tell the combatants from the non-combatants is to kill everyone and let God sort them out. We’re not prepared to wage war like this and it’s now a question of whether they will get to wage war on us like that.

  18. China’s main concern is going to be the Taliban taking an interest in the plight of the Uyghurs.

    I have seen zero evidence of any Muslim group in any country taking the slightest interest in the plight of the Uyghurs, even when they haven’t taken a bung from China.

    @Jason Lynch- interesting but depressing! Operation Eagle Summit seems to sum up the whole exercise.

  19. ‘The only way to win against a partisan army where you can’t tell the combatants from the non-combatants is to kill everyone and let God sort them out. We’re not prepared to wage war like this and it’s now a question of whether they will get to wage war on us like that.’

    I can only agree Interested.

  20. “China’s main concern is going to be the Taliban taking an interest in the plight of the Uyghurs.”
    The Taliban won’t be interested in their welfare as the Uyghurs are the ‘wrong’ sort of Muslim.

  21. Wise voices said twenty years ago that trying to turn Afghanistan into Surrey was a completely futile objective

    On the “bright” side, we have managed to turn Rotherham into Afghanistan!

  22. @BiW

    Wise voices said twenty years ago that trying to turn Afghanistan into Surrey was a completely futile objective
    On the “bright” side, we have managed to turn Rotherham into Afghanistan!

    Very good, but it does pose the question: why is it harder to turn Afghanistan into Surrey than the reverse? You’d think rural peasants would quite like to live a more western life, but apparently not. It is genuinely puzzling.

  23. Allthegoodnamesaretaken,

    Fair enough – only eight years from delivery to operation, and not on line until two years after the main UK forces left… which is hardly a great advertisment for the joined-up thinking we were meant to be good at.

  24. You’d think rural peasants would quite like to live a more western life, but apparently not. It is genuinely puzzling.

    They would, but just not in their own country.

  25. @ottokring

    They would, but just not in their own country.

    That was kind of my point – they don’t in our country either. Blokes wandering around Bradford dressed as though in the Hindu Kush, teachers going into hiding for insulting their alleged prophet, daughters and sisters beaten to death for holding hands with the wrong boy, wives developing rickets because they’re never allowed to leave the house, half of them resolutely refusing to learn English such that our official paperwork has to be in about fifteen different languages. This is not living a western life.

  26. Dennis, Who Probably Just Offended Someone, Somewhere

    Beyond this being a gigantic failure on the part of the Biden Administration, let’s not forget those who preceded Biden in complete and utter failure:

    George Bush (and Dick Cheney)
    Barack Obama
    Donald Trump

    as well as…

    The U.S. intelligence community (especially the CIA)
    The U.S. armed forces

    Bush and Cheney started that war, and neither had the balls or the brains to fight it to win it.
    Obama – Didn’t have the balls to end it on U.S. terms.
    Trump – See Obama.

    Meanwhile, the CIA managed to get everything about the Taliban and the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan completely wrong on an alarmingly consistent basis.

    And the military? Once again attempting to build and train armies for nations that don’t exist in the minds of the inhabitants. Nobody in Afghanistan identifies first and foremost as Afghan. That’s to keep the Westerners happy. They identify by tribe/clan. The U.S. military ignored that, as they did in Iraq, and so completely failed.

  27. @dennis

    Interesting to note that the eeevil colonialists did not take this route

    They used the tribal system

  28. Rural peasants can’t live a more Western life where they are whether they want to or not. A Western life needs 24/7 electricity, good communications both electronic and physical, a predictable legal environment that guarantees property rights, a populace that don’t hate & fear everyone outside the family/village. They also need the desire, engagement & persistence to work towards that goal. The puzzle is more that this happened only in parts of Europe centuries ago to set us up for where we are today.

  29. @Tractor Gent

    Rural peasants can’t live a more Western life where they are whether they want to or not. A Western life needs 24/7 electricity, good communications both electronic and physical, a predictable legal environment that guarantees property rights, a populace that don’t hate & fear everyone outside the family/village. They also need the desire, engagement & persistence to work towards that goal. The puzzle is more that this happened only in parts of Europe centuries ago to set us up for where we are today.

    I think yours is a slightly reductive and circular argument – you seem to be saying it won’t happen because it can’t happen because they don’t already have its accoutrements (though in fact in many cases they have some of them anyway).

    They can certainly live a more western life: electricity is not a requirement for abandoning forced marriage and deciding not to murder your daughter if she refuses her cousin.

    They have a head start on our peasant ancestors too – they set an example which is there to be seen and potentially followed.

    I think it won’t happen simply because armed men with religious mania won’t allow it to, which is slightly different but probably gets to the same place in the end.

  30. Afghanistan doesn’t matter (to us) in and of itself, but the nature of the West’s rout is very important. Our enemies and allies will react accordingly. Taiwan and Ukraine must be feeling pretty uncomfortable right now.

  31. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious

    Interesting to note that the eeevil colonialists did not take this route

    They used the tribal system

    True. But then the colonialists had a clear objective in mind, which can almost never be said for U.S. foreign policy.

  32. With regard to the Uyghurs, I noticed the Taliban spokesman saying that they would not allow others to attack foreigners from their territory, and they hoped the foreigners would reciprocate. Of course this reminded me of a tale I read many years ago where the trembling victim says to the villain, ‘But you promised me you wouldn’t shoot me’. And he naturally says, ‘That was a lie told to keep you quiet.’

    The other thing I noted was him saying that the Taliban wished to retain contact with the international community. I translated this to mean, ‘The bloody fuckwits have been pissing cash on Afghanistan as fast as they can print it. We want this to continue. It’ll help bulk out our receipts from the drug trade’.

    Still at least the Oz government did make one sensible decision. When I read that the Yanks were evacuating their embassy, I checked what the government had done about ours. It was evacuated on 28 May.

  33. It’ll be very surprising if there isn’t now a major hostage crisis and/or a shoot down of a planeload of evacuees / troops.

  34. I see a great deal of cause in all this in the desire of boys to play soldiers. Politicians come up with ideas about military adventures. This is the sort of things politicians do because they’ve no idea what’s involved or the likely outcomes. The military could tell them it’s a stupid idea likely to end in a godforsaken mess. It did last time. But they don’t. Because all levels of the military want to play soldiers. It’s their justification for existing. Why they went into the military. And so it starts. And when it begins to go wrong they reward failure with more of the same. There is always a military solution. This has been, from the start, a total fuck up. But there’s no doubt there’s a sizeable proportion of the military would rather still be in Afghanistan. Fucking up. Playing soldiers.
    Sorry but this seems to have been the story of a whole lot of military excursions of late. UK & US. Iraq II for a start. One could draw up a list. None of them have been successful. Apart from an opportunity to play soldiers.

  35. Dennis, Polishing The Ol' Crystal Ball

    Stunning as it may seem, what you are now witnessing is the end of the Biden Presidency. It lasted eight months, and its collapse is near total. Not even the darkest days of The Carter Years compares to this. Actually, there is nothing to compare this to in modern U.S. history. Nothing.

    What next? My guess would be the implosion of the Democrats. Biden can no longer lead, so his usefulness to the progressives is nil. They will take their Crazy to a whole new level, which can only help Republicans. The moderate Democrats can now safely jump ship and defy Pelosi and Schumer, which is what they will have to do to survive the 2022 elections. Look for open warfare between progressives and moderates within a month or so.

  36. Dennis, Clear-Eyed As Always

    It’ll be very surprising if there isn’t now a major hostage crisis and/or a shoot down of a planeload of evacuees / troops.

    We’re still early in the game. Give it some time.

  37. There are thousands of western troops and civilians still on the ground in Kabul. They’re only coming out with Taliban agreement, so we already effectively have a hostage situation.

  38. Dennis, what do you think the military’s role is in the orchestration of this SNAFU? Have they been following the White House’s direct instructions? Or interpreting them? Or was this their idea? If interpreting 1) The best they could come up with under the circumatances? 2) With malice? If their own idea, 1) or 2) again?

  39. Reasons for the questions:
    I wouldn’t discount the military sacrificing military & civilian lives for political advantage. Why not? Presidents do it all the time.

  40. Dennis: Oppressor, Warmonger, Capitalist and Consumer of Petroleum Products

    Dennis, what do you think the military’s role is in the orchestration of this SNAFU?

    Who knows? In one sense it doesn’t really matter… Given what the Taliban has done in the last week, and how they have done it, it is clear the U.S. military has failed on all levels. Name a mission given to them in Afghanistan and they’ve failed at it. Completely and totally.

    The Army, Navy (Marines) and Air Force had twenty years and two trillion dollars to work with, and the end result was the collapse of the Afghan government and armed forces in less than a week. That’s their role in this… the rest is only the details.

  41. “what do you think the military’s role is in the orchestration of this SNAFU? ”

    “I wouldn’t discount the military sacrificing military & civilian lives for political advantage. ”

    What would be the US Army’s political advantage from presiding over the biggest military fuck up since the Trojans said ‘Hey that wooden horse looks like fun, lets wheel it inside the city and have a party!’?
    How exactly does whats happening right now make them look good, or improve their position politically in any way?

    I just think this is the consequence of having a woke military. The real world has caught up with the carefully constructed fact free and reality ignoring ‘narrative’ and the whole thing has come tumbling down.

  42. Jason Lynch,

    “History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

    There ought to be a version of Godwin’s Law for comparing foreign entanglements to Vietnam (though perhaps the promises of ‘a new Vietnam’ if we liberated Kuwait in 1990-91 deprecated that link?) but the parallels are strong.”

    It rhymes because it comes from the same source problem: starting a war without any clear aims and without much real commitment. Sun-Tzu warned against this thousands of years ago.

    There’s that great quote in Apocalypse Now (and the whole film is really about this): “Charlie didn’t get much USO. He was dug in too deep or moving too fast. His idea of great R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat. He had only two ways home: death, or victory.”. The Viet Minh were committed to victory, while the US forces were punch clock bureaucrats turning up to get paid.

  43. A few thoughts:

    1. Yes, Trump met with the Taliban. Unlike Biden, the deal he made had conditions. Trump didn’t give a shit whether he offended the terrorists, or the international community. He told the Taliban that if they didn’t honor the agreement, the U.S. would retaliate after the first offense. In fact, Trump ordered airstrikes in Afghanistan for that very reason. Biden, on the other hand, had absolutely no strategy and just focused on media optics instead of defending against the actual threat. But hey, he put rainbow flags on the U.S. embassy! Biden also was a senator back in 2001, when he voted to engage with this country to begin with. He also was intent on leaving Afghanistan even during his years under Obama. Again, without any exit strategy.

    So yes, Trump also wanted to pull out of Afghanistan (as did most average Americans), but it was only dependent on the Taliban’s cooperation and was not set in stone. So don’t let the media or your liberal friends try to spin the narrative on that one.

    2. I was reading an article from the Jerusalem Post, saying that when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, it only enabled Hezbollah and Fatah to gain more ground and exponentially increase their arsenal of rockets to fire at Israeli civilians. Thankfully, the U.S. isn’t in close vicinity to Afghanistan, but many other countries are, and too many of them also support the Taliban via military aid or recognition. Taliban forces won’t be content to stay inside Afghanistan or their other current strongholds. They aren’t simply taking land. Their interest is in promotion Sharia law across as many territories as possible, and they won’t stop until they are stopped. Unfortunately, the Afghan army itself hasn’t shown a willingness to defend its own country, so unless we re-enter with another foreign intervention, the only options are A) Sanction Afghanistan and incentivize all surrounding countries to do the same, or B) Have all surrounding countries build a wall around Afghanistan and just forget about it. Of course, good luck getting cooperation from Iran, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan.

    3. The way the left is treating this scandal is a textbook example of their weakness and naivete. Every time the Taliban posts on Twitter about their “inclusive” brand of Sharia, and every time Russia and China congratulate them for “freeing” Afghanistan, the CNN viewers and never-Trumpers eat it all up. It’s impossible in their world that maybe, just maybe, Trump was better at dealing with terrorists and dictators, so they instead resort to believing the people who behead dissenters and force underage women to marry. They also give these terrorists the benefit of the doubt when they blame the West for what everything the Taliban does to its own fellow citizens. God forbid the left ever takes responsibility for their own policies. They simply hate conservatives more than they love human beings. It’s easier for them to adopt that line of thinking than to admit that Trump and his supporters were not an exact replica of the Nazi party. It’s an insane worldview, but still one that they’re comfortable with. They’ve never been forced to endure challenges by anyone in their liberal circles, even when the absurdity is staring them in the face, so the mere thought of humility is a dangerous unknown.

  44. Boganboy: “Still at least the Oz government did make one sensible decision. When I read that the Yanks were evacuating their embassy, I checked what the government had done about ours. It was evacuated on 28 May.”

    At least someone was paying attention and drawing conclusions…
    To get this kind of “bloodless” speedy takeover, the Taliban must have bribed everyone who had any influence. And they got away with shiping off anyone who didn’t want to play ball for the past half decade or so to begin with..

    Anyone who acts surprised at this outcome is either lying through his/her teeth, or so utterly stupid they’d need a reminder to breathe.

  45. The opium harvest will probably be a lot bigger next year, and there’s a ready world market. Drones with glyphosate sprayers? Less of a PR problem than Agent Orange.

  46. @ Dennis the Oppressor
    “it is clear the U.S. military has failed on all levels. Name a mission given to them in Afghanistan and they’ve failed at it. Completely and totally. ”

    Quite. Maybe they shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place? But they like playing soldiers, don’t they?
    It’s going to be blame time soon. It’s always the more recent stuff gets remembered clearer. A chaotic & disastrous exit can be laid at the president’s door wouldn’t do the military any harm at all.

  47. @bloke in spain

    While I don’t trust anything Biden says, he was correct in saying that the Afghan army was not willing to defend their country. This isn’t just some last-minute excuse either. For decades now, we’ve been hearing news stories about the struggles of training these troops. The U.S. effort collided head first into a clusterfuck where 50% of their trainees were illiterate, and so many of them under the influence of drugs that around 2,000 Afghans had to be discharged from the ranks every month.

    When it came time for combat, the Afghan troops were seen hiding in foxholes and, if they fired their weapons at all, were shooting indiscriminately in some general direction of the enemy, even while the Americans were begging them to aim with their scopes.

    To say the U.S. army failed at training these guys is to overlook the insane amount of corruption in this country, where even the trained Afghans were cutting deals with the Taliban behind the scenes. The failure in Afghanistan is not the failure of the troops, but of the decision-makers who wouldn’t accept that it was a lost cause.

    In hindsight, we can say that spending trillions and 20 years on this debacle was a mistake. Our entire reason for entering the country in the first place was to find and capture/kill Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, we were stuck in the Vietnam War mindset in 2001, and both political parties (including Biden himself) decided to engage in nation-building. Biden arrogantly assumed in 2003 that we could only prevent terrorism by having the almighty U.S. take over and police the world yet again.

    What Trump realized, is that government fucks up enough things when dealing with domestic issues, so it’s even worse to get too involved in other countries’ affairs, especially in countries vastly different from ours. Trump also wanted to withdraw, but while meeting certain conditions on the ground. Instead of fretting about how many women or trans men were serving over there, he was making sure the Taliban knew the consequences if they backed out of their deal. If Trump had won re-election in 2020, it’s fair to guess that he would probably call for a number of airstrikes on Taliban strongholds before withdrawing any additional troops. In case you hadn’t noticed, he had very little concern for pleasing the media and international community’s perceptions of him.

    It seems the Biden Administration was very concerned about “honoring” the deal to withdraw by a certain date. That’s the thinking of an out-of-touch elitist who doesn’t know how terrorists work. It’s the assumption that all will be well once certain conditions are met, you know, because the terrorists told us so. It’s the assumption that you can reason with unreasonable people.

    In the real world, terrorists are opportunists. They will say and do anything they can to throw everyone off their scent. Why do you think they’re posting on Twitter right now about the “inclusive” regime they’re planning to implement? Just like the Chinese government under Xi, the Taliban is looking to fool the most gullible audience they can gather. Also, keep in mind that the average age of an Afghan citizen is 30. Many people in this country have little or no memory of how the Taliban operated in the 1990s or earlier, and even where trust in the organization is lacking, there is fear of the unknown.

    But Biden and many others in the Establishment don’t grasp the concept of changing course when things aren’t working. They’re a broken record of strategy, and can’t stop worrying about their reputations in the media, rather than the human lives they’re putting in jeopardy–even the lives of Americans still trapped in Afghanistan! In Biden’s poor excuse for a speech yesterday, he spent the majority of time point fingers at others, which is to be expected from a career politician. But at the very least, he could have offered some next steps as to how he will resolve the chaos. That is, if he ever had a contingency plan to begin with.

    Most Americans, regardless of party, don’t necessarily have a problem with the fact THAT we left Afghanistan, but there is a huge problem with HOW Biden went about it. What we needed to do, as at least one possible option, is slowly remove troops, while keeping constant tabs on the situation on the ground. The possibility of adding troops back into the mix should always have been on the table. And perhaps we always needed to have some number of American security forces in the country, just as we have in many countries we are allied with. Even if not engaging in combat, these troops could have served as lookouts for the U.S. military, who could have conducted airstrikes on any terrorist compounds that would begin to crop up. It’s not a perfect situation, but it may have been less expensive than the all-out conflict we’ve had thus far. It also would have shown consistency in our response to the situation, rather than putting ourselves in harm’s way or having to train a ridiculous number of incapable Afghans.

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