Where There’s a Will

 

I could write a lot, but I won’t.  It’s been written before.

“We” stopped trying to win this war a decade ago.  One day, the Afghan war stopped being a war, and many of us pretended not to notice.

I’ll just put a marker down here that we lack even the will to actually leave.  Would that we could simply check out of that roach motel in whatever idiotic fashion is required, and then see no more headlines about it, but I don’t think we will.

One day, the Roman Empire ceased to exist and nobody noticed at the time.

We also stopped being the kind of country that can win any war; the will is absent. We are no longer a people, but a collection of peoples who do not much like each other.  There is no “we.”

The Taliban and their adjacencies will claim that they stared down the U.S. and won.  I used to say “No, we were defeated internally!” But why should they care?  They’re not wrong; we just don’t like how their version sounds.

Well, I keep mulching this text, but it remains compost.  I’m worked up about this.  You know what I’ll do about it?  Absolutely nothing.

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  1. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    I’m mad as hell.

    I’m just a Joe anybody. However, even I know first point of order was to destroy classified material. Second point of order was to get all non combatants out of the country vie Bagram. Third point of order was to destroy all equipment not coming with us. Last point of order. Military leaves. 

    It seams apparent this operation was done almost in reverse.  Disgrace does not come close to describing this. 

    • #1
  2. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    One other thing.

    Is it likely that. 

    The Generals scuttled withdrawal under Trump. Biden probably knew they did this so rushed the withdrawal. The Generals wanted to stay so they gave Biden a FU parting gift.  

    • #2
  3. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Yup.  The entire Executive mutinied against Trump.  Again, our enemies (foreign and domestic) will say that America became a dictatorship under Trump, and they will technically be right.  But the Devil is in the details.

    • #3
  4. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The Generals scuttled withdrawal under Trump. Biden probably knew they did this so rushed the withdrawal. The Generals wanted to stay so they gave Biden a FU parting gift. 

    Or, the Generals have been lying about the Afghan troop readiness for so long, they believed it too. 

    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    The Generals scuttled withdrawal under Trump. Biden probably knew they did this so rushed the withdrawal. The Generals wanted to stay so they gave Biden a FU parting gift.

    Or, the Generals have been lying about the Afghan troop readiness for so long, they believed it too.

    Very much so.  I know that figures were being fabricated as early as 2008/9.

     

    • #5
  6. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    BDB: We also stopped being the kind of country that can win any war.  The will is absent.  We are no longer a people, but a collection of peoples who do not much like each other.  There is no “we”.

    This sentence says a lot more than just winning a war. Nicely put, BDB. Those of us who still see us as a “we” keep trying to pull us back from the brink. At some point, we are going to get too tired to fight or die off.

    • #6
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    What do you mean we, BDB?  The punishment of the Taliban could have been swift.  Was this ever a war?  And did we, the citizens have any say in it in any regard?

    I’ve read about difficulties establishing a civilian government, and in trying to train a local police force, and about the occasional suicide bomber, but in twenty years I’ve never heard any list of military objectives and whether they were accomplished of not.

    From what I understand we went into Afghanistan to put down the Taliban and Al Quaeda which they harbored, and to remove a “breeding ground” for anti-US islamic terrorism.  It seems to me that that was accomplished in the first few years.  And if they showed their heads again, we could have gone back.  What have we spent $2 trillion trying to do militarily in Afghanistan for the rest of this 20 years?

    • #7
  8. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Blondie (View Comment):

    BDB: We also stopped being the kind of country that can win any war. The will is absent. We are no longer a people, but a collection of peoples who do not much like each other. There is no “we”.

    This sentence says a lot more than just winning a war. Nicely put, BDB. Those of us who still see us as a “we” keep trying to pull us back from the brink. At some point, we are going to get too tired to fight or die off.

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What do you mean we, BDB? The punishment of the Taliban could have been swift. Was this ever a war? And did we, the citizens have any say in it in any regard?

    I’ve read about difficulties establishing a civilian government, and in trying to train a local police force, and about the occasional suicide bomber, but in twenty years I’ve never heard any list of military objectives and whether they were accomplished of not.

    From what I understand we went into Afghanistan to put down the Taliban and Al Quaeda which they harbored, and to remove a “breeding ground” for anti-US islamic terrorism. It seems to me that that was accomplished in the first few years. And if they showed their heads again, we could have gone back. What have we spent $2 trillion trying to do militarily in Afghanistan for the rest of this 20 years?

    Aren’t we saying the same things here?  The difference might be that I feel “we” had our say — we had five presidential elections and surely as many non-P, and we communicated loud and clear that we wanted nothing to do with winning any war.  Decent people who also wanted to fight this like a war and win are a minority of a minority.

    To the extent that there is a “we”, it is not good.  “We” have spent $2 Trillion (or whatever) neither to defeat the Taliban nor to bring rock & roll back to Kabul, but to play out some domestic farce.

    War is politics by other means, but all politics is local.

    • #8
  9. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    To win this war and leave meant the gravy train died up for the war industry. This is why I think the lions share of the blame falls on the generals. They did this to us in a tantrum about the gravy train going away. 

    60/40 Generals, Biden 

    • #9
  10. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    To win this war and leave meant the gravy train died up for the war industry.

    Note that to lose the war and leave means the exact same thing.  Perverse incentives drive perverse results.

    • #10
  11. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    BDB (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):

    BDB: We also stopped being the kind of country that can win any war. The will is absent. We are no longer a people, but a collection of peoples who do not much like each other. There is no “we”.

    This sentence says a lot more than just winning a war. Nicely put, BDB. Those of us who still see us as a “we” keep trying to pull us back from the brink. At some point, we are going to get too tired to fight or die off.

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What do you mean we, BDB? The punishment of the Taliban could have been swift. Was this ever a war? And did we, the citizens have any say in it in any regard?

    I’ve read about difficulties establishing a civilian government, and in trying to train a local police force, and about the occasional suicide bomber, but in twenty years I’ve never heard any list of military objectives and whether they were accomplished of not.

    From what I understand we went into Afghanistan to put down the Taliban and Al Quaeda which they harbored, and to remove a “breeding ground” for anti-US islamic terrorism. It seems to me that that was accomplished in the first few years. And if they showed their heads again, we could have gone back. What have we spent $2 trillion trying to do militarily in Afghanistan for the rest of this 20 years?

    Aren’t we saying the same things here? The difference might be that I feel “we” had our say — we had five presidential elections and surely as many non-P, and we communicated loud and clear that we wanted nothing to do with winning any war. Decent people who also wanted to fight this like a war and win are a minority of a minority.

    To the extent that there is a “we”, it is not good. “We” have spent $2 Trillion (or whatever) neither to defeat the Taliban nor to bring rock & roll back to Kabul, but to play out some domestic farce.

    War is politics by other means, but all politics is local.

    Yes, I think we’re saying mostly the same thing.  And yeah, seriously it could have been just hundreds of billions.  But to me Afghanistan has flown mostly under the  reporting radar.  And frankly, I figured that the government and the military might know something I don’t.  But no one ever asked me whether I agreed with it or not, and elections are a crap shoot, and Afghanistan was not at the top of my list anyway because I didn’t know anything about it.  Generally I opposed it, especially the idea of transplanting democracy and nation building for those who don’t want it.

    • #11
  12. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    For a lot of people, the Taliban is not the great enemy, nor is China.  We are the enemy.

    • #12
  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Flicker (View Comment):
    From what I understand we went into Afghanistan to put down the Taliban and Al Quaeda which they harbored, and to remove a “breeding ground” for anti-US islamic terrorism.  It seems to me that that was accomplished in the first few years. 

    This is on Bush.  In the early years instead of stockpiling these guys at Guantanamo, there should have been military tribunals, followed by executions.  He had the backing of the country and should have proceeded. Instead we telegraphed at  that early stage that we were not a serious country.   All the blood and treasure to follow were wasted.  Although a nice profit was to be made by the connected.  

    • #13
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    For a lot of people, the Taliban is not the great enemy, nor is China. We are the enemy.

    Right now a lot of those people are in our Military and Intelligence establishment.

    • #14
  15. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I am deeply, deeply depressed and part of the minority of a minority who does not buy the Trump/Biden line of “endless war” at all.  But that means nothing.  You’re all right about lack of will.  And complete lack of American interest in Afghanistan.  Though Americans aren’t much interested in anything really.  Except Instagram.  

    • #15
  16. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    BDB (View Comment):
    I feel “we” had our say — we had five presidential elections and surely as many non-P

    Elections are about each voter’s 2 or 3 top priorities, not viewpoints on every subject. Few American voters chose a candidate primarily for one’s stance on the war gemerally, let alone specific policies not forthcoming. 

    • #16
  17. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Who knows who runs the Biden administration, good lord, maybe even Biden, as guided by the Chinese, but Bush is to blame for this war.  He actually believed we could make a difference.  Maybe Trump, by saying what he said to the Iranians could have slowed it all down in Afghanistan as well, maybe even caused a mixed system of some kind, but the place is hopeless, in any living persons life time.   Biden couldn’t even wait until winter. Frankly that sounds like the Chinese. 

    • #17
  18. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Flicker (View Comment):
    but in twenty years I’ve never heard any list of military objectives and whether they were accomplished of not.

    Well said, @flicker – this is a key point that is often overlooked (and Mr. Biden, although he has alluded to it several times, seem incapable of understanding it): No US President – not Bush, not Obama, not Trump, and certainly not the current occupant vacationing at Camp David – has ever come to the American people and expressed what VICTORY would look like in Afghanistan. What would be the conditions on the ground, and how would we be able to measure success?

    If the Commander-in-Chief can’t explain what winning looks like, how in the hell are the American people supposed to know it? The fact that we’ve put up with this nonsense for 20 years is actually quite a testament to the faith Americans have had in our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Sadly, now we are seeing how weak the senior military leadership has become, especially in the last decade. Our service members deserve better generals.

    • #18
  19. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    I feel “we” had our say — we had five presidential elections and surely as many non-P

    Elections are about each voter’s 2 or 3 top priorities, not viewpoints on every subject. Few American voters chose a candidate primarily for one’s stance on the war gemerally, let alone specific policies not forthcoming.

    Is that a rebuttal, or support, or… neither?

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I am deeply, deeply depressed and part of the minority of a minority who does not buy the Trump/Biden line of “endless war” at all. But that means nothing. You’re all right about lack of will. And complete lack of American interest in Afghanistan. Though Americans aren’t much interested in anything really. Except Instagram.

    It’s still early but I think that the immediate relinquishing of the posts by the Afghani army shows what 20 years of encouragement, training, and financing will do.  To a herd of cats.  Cats can be trained to herd, I suppose, but only so long as the treats are given.  From Iran (I don’t know about Korea) to Viet Nam, to Iraq, to Syria to Libya, it seems were have taken rather stable, controlled, more or less civilized governments and taken them down, most likely by the manipulations of the CIA.  Also, democratizing a country requires a population that understands and can peaceably accept a democratic or republican government that is voted in.  We have seen failed “democracies” all around the world for 200 years or more.

    • #20
  21. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Also, democratizing a country requires a population that understands and can peaceably accept a democratic or republican government that is voted in. 

    This is a serious statement. The generations of Afghan people have been oriented to their “own” people. Their people might be only one or two families who make up a village. It seems to me that there is not a majority of people living there who have a national identity. That concept is a necessity for the successful creation of a republic.

    • #21
  22. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    We did not need to create a republic to protect our interests in Afghanistan.  People can debate that statement or the original mission, but what is happening right now is a travesty.  It’s heartbreaking.  

    • #22
  23. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    BDB (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    I feel “we” had our say — we had five presidential elections and surely as many non-P

    Elections are about each voter’s 2 or 3 top priorities, not viewpoints on every subject. Few American voters chose a candidate primarily for one’s stance on the war gemerally, let alone specific policies not forthcoming.

    Is that a rebuttal, or support, or… neither?

    More of a rebuttal. If the war was not a top issue, as I suspect, then politicians had little incentive to care what voters thought about it. 

    • #23
  24. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    I feel “we” had our say — we had five presidential elections and surely as many non-P

    Elections are about each voter’s 2 or 3 top priorities, not viewpoints on every subject. Few American voters chose a candidate primarily for one’s stance on the war gemerally, let alone specific policies not forthcoming.

    Is that a rebuttal, or support, or… neither?

    More of a rebuttal. If the war was not a top issue, as I suspect, then politicians had little incentive to care what voters thought about it.

    Then it seems “we” had our say (as much as there’s a “we” in this “country” anymore).  We may be saying the same thing here.

    • #24
  25. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Main Feed!  Thanks, everybody!

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    BDB (View Comment):

    Main Feed! Thanks, everybody!

    So you’re not booted out!

    • #26
  27. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Flicker (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Main Feed! Thanks, everybody!

    So you’re not booted out!

    I’m taking that as tacit notification of double-secret probation.

    • #27
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