Leaving Afghanistan and Lessons to be Learned

The headlines in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday (front page above the fold) screamed:

“Speed of the Taliban Advance Surprises U.S., Alarms Allies”

Baloney!! The only people that were surprised were the lilac sniffing Eli’s (Yale graduates) who dominate the United States Department of State. Oh yeah and the dumbest man ever to ascend to the presidency since President Millard Filmore (Whig) – President Joe Biden (D).

The following day the Wall Street Journal added to the bewilderment by publishing an editorial entitled “The Debacle in Afghanistan” in which the editorial board, after noting that Mr. Biden and President Donald Trump shared the blame, opined thusly:

“Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates famously wrote that President Biden has been on the wrong side of every major foreign-policy issue in his long career. The world is getting another example as Mr. Biden’s hell-bent, ill-planned withdrawal from Afghanistan is turning into a strategic defeat and moral debacle.”

The only error in the Journal’s editorial is that the list of those to blame is far too short. You need to start with former President George W. Bush who began this fiasco. Mr. Bush was right to have invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of crushing the Taliban and disrupting al-Qaeda*; however, having achieved the initial goal in a brief period, Mr. Bush chose to then attempt to develop a Western style democracy in what was and still is a feudal system of shifting alliances among regional tribes – that was the beginning of the nearly twenty year slog to retreat, defeat and waste.

Then came President Barack Obama who promised during both of his campaigns to withdraw from both Iraq and Afghanistan and set arbitrary timetables that only encouraged the Muslim extremists in both countries to carry on and position for the inevitable draw downs and, in Iraq’s case, withdrawal – the result of which was to encourage the creation of the Islamic State by one of the most sadistic killers to arise in modern times – Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi. But what drove Mr. Obama was not a realistic plan to withdraw but rather fear that he would be blamed for the defeat of America by a bunch of third world cave dwellers. (It is the same fear that drove former Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon to sacrifice the lives of 57,000 young men and women in Viet Nam – not to win a war, but rather to avoid the blame for losing one.) Regardless, the slog toward defeat continued unabated during the full eight years of Mr. Obama’s tenure.

And Mr. Trump fell victim to the same miasma of looming defeat. He knew that our efforts in Afghanistan were pointless. He knew that the sacrifice of even one more young American man or woman was unjustified. He knew that the nearly Trillion dollars wasted in Afghanistan could have been better spend in a hundred different ways with better results. He stated pointedly that we should withdraw, but he let the morons of the State Department, the blame resistant generals of the Pentagon, and the psuedo warriors among the members of Congress snipe, delay, and cast doubt. He should have quietly planned a massive aerial assault that overlaid a rapid withdrawal. He should have admitted that there was no good outcome and if the politicians wanted to blame him for defeat, so be it. But he didn’t and he shares in the blame.

And Mr. Biden to his credit is going forward with the withdrawal – at least we think he is despite the fact that he just committed an additional 8,000 new troops to “expedite” the withdrawal. Mr. Biden’s principle sins were two-fold. First, he tried to justify the withdrawal on the basis that the Afghan troops had been well trained, armed and equipped by the United States. Baloney!! The ragtag Taliban is cutting through Afghanistan like a hot knife through butter. That “superbly trained, armed and equipped” Afghan army is fleeing in its path leaving all of those arms and equipment to the Taliban. Everybody outside of Washington, D.C. and New Haven, Connecticut (home to America’s effete elitists) knew that the Afghan army would surrender, that Kabul would fall in a matter of days, and that the executions, rapes, and other atrocities by the Taliban against innocent Afghan civilians would commence immediately. (How is it that the Eli’s of the State Department can so consistently be so naively wrong and yet continue in power? You would get a more robust and realistic foreign policy agenda from a small town high school in eastern Montana than from these feckless mooks.)

And second, Mr. Biden should not be criticized for the decision to leave Afghanistan – after all it was basically the same decision made by Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump. But it was Mr. Biden’s decision as to how to affect the withdrawal, and, for that he bears sole responsibility despite his attempt at misdirection during his August 16 speech. With a backdrop of people falling from the sides of airplanes as they sought an escape from the coming horror of the Taliban, Mr. Biden spoke at length about the reason to withdraw – thus blaming others – while saying nothing about the catastrophic means of withdrawal that he and he alone chose.

His predictable failure should result in his resignation from presidency but for one major problem – Vice President Kalamari Harris (D). Mr. Biden’s resignation would only make a horrible situation worse. At the very least Mr. Biden should demand the resignation of the senior officials who participated in his decision and that should include Secretary of State Antony Blinken (an incompetent boob who has been at Mr. Biden’s side for most of Mr. Biden’s forty years of ineptitude in foreign policy), Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Mr. Blinken for complicity in making the decision and the latter two for failure to object forcefully as to the idiocy of the decision.

If Mr. Biden carries through with his commitment – and that’s a big “IF” – by the end of September we should be well rid of yet another war to which our leaders committed us without the will to win it or at least win the original mission and leave. Yes, it is going to be a bloodbath in Afghanistan but if the people of the Afghanistan will not fight for their own country, then they do not have a country and the return to tribalism is inevitable.

There are three lessons to be learned from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. First, if you are going to deploy our young men and women, they should be sent to win and given the tools, logistics and directives to win – not just maintain the status quo. Second, we should define precisely what constitutes a “win” and retire upon completing it. And third, we should never again seek to impose a Western style form of democracy on a third world population totally unprepared for its complexity.

Today, the United States has developed and deployed some of the most sophisticated weaponry in the world – almost all of which allows us to conduct both massive damage and precise death from afar. We will always need “boots on the ground” but never for ever. Between financial tools and “stand off” weaponry, the United States can protect itself endlessly without engaging in the swamp of “nation building.”

But our current foreign policy simple leads to teaching a bunch of insurgents from one sh*thole after another that the United States is fairly easy to defeat because it concentrates on the politics instead of the conflict.

*For those of you forced to endure a teachers union led education in the Portland public schools, al-Qaeda, with Osama bin Laden as its leader, was responsible for the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a failed attempt on the White House where nearly 3,000 people were killed.