Should We Have Left Afghanistan Altogether?

 

Let me rephrase that for accuracy: Should we be leaving Afghanistan altogether? Thanks to the missteps of our current president, we are still actively leaving Afghanistan because Joe Biden has created the conditions for the Taliban to seize virtually the entire country in blitzkrieg fashion and control all of Kabul and the immediate territory around the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul. Clearly, I’m not only taking issue with the Biden administration but also with the plan for complete withdrawal from former President Trump. In this post, I suppose I’m bucking the conventional wisdom to posit that leaving Afghanistan altogether is actually a strategic mistake and makes the world a much more dangerous place.

In this Sunday’s latest despicable press conference Joe Biden proclaimed that China and Russia would like nothing better than to see America continue to be bogged down in Afghanistan. Really? In the last two-plus years, with a force structure of 2,500 service personnel, combat aircraft, a vast fleet of Humvees, surveillance drones, sophisticated electronics, intelligence assets and a shooting war that had effectively ended around 2014 – was America “bogged down”? Doesn’t “bogged down” really refer to all-out active combat and maneuvers across the country on many fronts, as for example America’s involvement in Vietnam at the height of that conflict? I suppose we can discuss semantics in the comments thread below.

Or are China and Russia now pleased to see that we are scrambling to get out of Afghanistan and pleased to see the manner is which are doing so? Certainly, the Kremlin’s strategists and the Communist strategists in Beijing observed very closely, the reckless way in which Biden and our Pentagon leadership completely mishandled America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and have learned a great deal about what an inept collection decision-makers America has – national security advisors, Pentagon brass, and our current Commander-in-Chief. Do you think perhaps their fulfilled desires to finally have a weak and incompetent American security apparatus somehow intimidates them? Do you think that Beijing or the Kremlin are intimidated by the Biden administration and the Pentagon brain trust that just gifted billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded military assets to the Taliban and their al Qaeda associates – Blackhawk helicopters, Humvees, weapons, ammunition, sophisticated electronic optical targeting systems and more?

Or does the grossly negligent way in which the Biden administration went about exiting Afghanistan embolden China and Russia and give them reasons to dust off any of the various plans they have for adventurism in their geographic theaters? Annexations of Taiwan for the Chinese and final and complete annexation of Ukraine for the Russians? Testing the NATO responses for border incursions in the Baltic States? Testing of responses by U.S. Navy and the Biden administration in the South China Sea? Encouraging North Korea to fire several more missiles in the direction of Japan? Veiled and adamantly denied attacks of American infrastructure – power grids, the Internet, American banks, telecommunications – to further assess how a flustered, incompetent and weak Biden administration might respond?

Can an argument be made to have kept Bagram open and active and territory between Bagram and Kabul protected and secure for many years with drones and other intelligence-gathering assets for the intelligence to be gained by remaining in-country? Is it all-important, or not important at all, to have a threat response platform with rapid-response combat aircraft in-country, especially since Afghanistan is situated directly between two nuclear powers – Pakistan (who created the Taliban) and Iran that is on the verge of having nuclear weapons (thanks to the Obama administration and now the Biden administration)?

As for the feasibility to be able to do so, ask yourself how long West Berlin stood, surrounded by East Germany on all sides, after WWII and before the Berlin Wall came down. Having American military bases remain active surrounded by hostiles is not a new concept. Given the threats in the region – particularly with Iran, thanks to Obama and now Biden – having Bagram open and operational for the foreseeable future would probably have been a smart move – particularly since Turkey – a so-called NATO ally with its hostile posture toward Israel, may not be relied upon to act responsibly; and since our relationship with Pakistan, the country that provided Osama bin Laden safe haven is sketchy at best. Yet, as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, the Biden administration, with all its Ivy League and West Point graduates, doesn’t appear to have the ability to make smart moves.

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  1. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Smart, spot on analysis.  Sadly…

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Smart, spot on analysis. Sadly…

    Agree.

    Brian Watt: In this Sunday’s latest despicable press conference Joe Biden proclaimed that China and Russia would like nothing better than to see America continue to be bogged down in Afghanistan. Really? In the last two plus years, with a force structure of 2,500 service personnel, combat aircraft, a vast fleet of Humvees, surveillance drones, sophisticated electronics, intelligence assets and a shooting war that had effectively ended around 2014 – was America “bogged down”?

    Yes, that rubbed me the wrong way, too.  If the action in Afghanistan was so all-consuming that it was “bogging down” the ability of the US government to deal with China and Russia, or do anything else at all, then we’re in even worse shape that I am beginning to suspect.

    Every time Biden and his co-dependent enablers open their mouths, they show how incompetent, weak, and dumb they are.  Biden, at this point, at least has an excuse (although I think he’s been that way all his life; he’s just worse now).  I don’t know what to attribute it to as far as the rest of them are concerned.

    Yesterday, at one or another of the interminable briefings, a reporter asked a question along the lines of –why didn’t we anticipate these latest threats from ISIS  (the ones that caused the US to send out the advisory to citizens telling them NOT to come to the airport).  The interchangeable spokesliar, I forget who, actually replied with (paraphrasing, but pretty accurately), “Well, don’t forget we pulled out all our intelligence gathering apparatus several weeks ago….”  Reminded me a bit of the child who murders both parents and then cries because he’s an orphan.

    Which is the long way around to “I don’t know the answer to the question posed in the OP.  But it seems like a good question, and the remarks about keeping Bagram open with a channel for intelligence gathering sounds perfectly reasonable.  Interested to hear others’ opinions and insights.

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think Trump, or perhaps Mattis, was doing a really good job of assisting the Afghans without terrible American losses. The worst year was 2010 when there were 496 Americans killed in Afghanistan. I suspect Trump has been angry since then and he hasn’t stopped to realize the situation had changed. In 2020 only 9 Americans were killed in Afghanistan.

    I agree with the OP. We were doing very well. The Afghans were making strides. To his everlasting credit, part of that was Donald Trump. And I must say I admire everything else he did as president. But he never saw this situation clearly, and the back-channel negotiations he instituted with the Taliban are what Biden used to accomplish his own evil ends. Trump should not have been talking to the Taliban without our allies including the Afghans present.

    First Trump, then Biden were wrong to make deals with the enemy at the expense of the Afghans.

    But Biden’s treachery to the Afghans and to us is criminal at this point and far, far worse than anything Trump did or would have done. By abandoning Bagram Air Force Base and leaving that equipment and weapons for the Taliban, Biden will be guilty of mass murder. I hope he finds himself in an international criminal court.

    But that will all take time, time the women and children do not have.

    • #3
  4. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    One runway for evacuation, the other for air support (A-10’s, Apache helicopters, AC-130 gunships), not Delta Airlines.

    Having a pathological liar as the CIC isn’t helping the situation, and collateral damage to our citizens due to inertia is a distinct possibility as we saw in Benghazi.

    Leaving Afghanistan has to make India wonder, a country whose Army and Navy is based upon the British model to include officers that have been to Sandhurst, and probably speak better English than we do, would be a valuable ally.

    Contrary to Joe Biden’s slander of the Afghani troops, they have lost around 55,ooo troops in the fight, and they depended on US air support, as did our troops. When we bugged out why would they fight? They have their own families to protect, and they knew what was coming from the Taliban.

    You are going to see Islamic terrorists flock to Afghanistan to celebrate the Taliban victory, and more importantly to train and plan attacks across the globe, including targets in the United States.

    The two Taiwans, one in Asia, the other in Europe (Ukraine) have to be worried, because like Joe Biden our word is now worthless.

    More people have been shot and wounded in Chicago since 2011 than Americans in Afghanistan, but we are not going to do anything about that.

    The Biden run and hide foreign policy has damaged the United States, and NATO and it may take decades, if the Russians and Chinese give us decades to correct this debacle.

    The lesson for us is never, ever vote for a Democrat.

    • #4
  5. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    MarciN (View Comment):

    But he never saw this situation clearly, and the back-channel negotiations he instituted with the Taliban are what Biden used to accomplish his own evil ends. Trump should not have been talking to the Taliban without our allies including the Afghans present.

    First Trump, then Biden were wrong to make deals with the enemy at the expense of the Afghans

    This may add some valuable context. Or not.

    • #5
  6. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    Yeah, agree. From my totally civilian perspective it seems commonsensical that the last people to leave an entanglement such as Afghanistan are the military. Make sure our civilians, Afghan friendlies and usable materiel are safely out of danger then back out by way of Bagram, shooting all the way if need be.

    • #6
  7. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Doug Watt (View Comment): The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    What if it wasn’t a mistake?

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    philo (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment): The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    What if it wasn’t a mistake?

    Yes, and that would make it worse. The story is floating around that it was abandoned to prevent more troops being deployed if things went to hell.

    • #8
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    philo (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment): The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    What if it wasn’t a mistake?

    A great power’s retreat always sows chaos in its wake.  Sometimes deliberately?  There’s something really odd about the way Bagram was abandoned to looters, without even informing the Afghan Govt.  Or was it part of the deal with the Taliban?

    • #9
  10. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Zafar (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment): The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    What if it wasn’t a mistake?

    A great power’s retreat always sows chaos in its wake. Sometimes deliberately? There’s something really odd about the way Bagram was abandoned to looters, without even informing the Afghan Govt. Or was it part of the deal with the Taliban?

    Or worse?

    • #10
  11. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment): The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    What if it wasn’t a mistake?

    A great power’s retreat always sows chaos in its wake. Sometimes deliberately? There’s something really odd about the way Bagram was abandoned to looters, without even informing the Afghan Govt. Or was it part of the deal with the Taliban?

    Odd indeed. Per Mike Pompeo, it was the Trump administration’s plan to get all the military assets back to the U.S. (and presumably to other US bases worldwide) and not leave them for the Taliban or any other friends or supporters of the Taliban. So, one can either assume that the Pentagon was overruled by Biden in securing those assets; or that some in the Pentagon or in the national security team advised Biden that the loss wasn’t critical. Whether some of this material, especially any of the communications or targeting gear ends up in the hands of the Chinese, then questions might get more pointed. It’s a good thing that there’s no history of the CCP gifting anyone in the Biden family or Biden-affiliated business entities some $1.5 Billion. 

    • #11
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    philo (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    But he never saw this situation clearly, and the back-channel negotiations he instituted with the Taliban are what Biden used to accomplish his own evil ends. Trump should not have been talking to the Taliban without our allies including the Afghans present.

    First Trump, then Biden were wrong to make deals with the enemy at the expense of the Afghans

    This may add some valuable context. Or not.

    Thank you. That is helpful. Trump mentioned this in his Alabama rally on Saturday. But he didn’t say very much. 

     

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    philo (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment): The first big mistake was leaving the Bagram air base, fortified and with two runways, rather than the one runway airport we are defending now.

    What if it wasn’t a mistake?

    I’ve read somewhere–have no idea if it was true or not–that it was part of the deal he made with the Taliban for “safe passage” for Americans. 

    The world needs to know how this happened. 

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think Trump, or perhaps Mattis, was doing a really good job of assisting the Afghans without terrible American losses. The worst year was 2010 when there were 496 Americans killed in Afghanistan. I suspect Trump has been angry since then and he hasn’t stopped to realize the situation had changed. In 2020 only 9 Americans were killed in Afghanistan.

    I agree with the OP. We were doing very well. The Afghans were making strides. To his everlasting credit, part of that was Donald Trump. And I must say I admire everything else he did as president. But he never saw this situation clearly, and the back-channel negotiations he instituted with the Taliban are what Biden used to accomplish his own evil ends. Trump should not have been talking to the Taliban without our allies including the Afghans present.

    First Trump, then Biden were wrong to make deals with the enemy at the expense of the Afghans.

    But Biden’s treachery to the Afghans and to us is criminal at this point and far, far worse than anything Trump did or would have done. By abandoning Bagram Air Force Base and leaving that equipment and weapons for the Taliban, Biden will be guilty of mass murder. I hope he finds himself in an international criminal court.

    But that will all take time, time the women and children do not have.

    Considering how long such a case would likely take, Biden probably won’t be around that long either.

    Or even if he was still physically alive, he might be found mentally unfit to stand trial.

    • #14
  15. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think Trump, or perhaps Mattis, was doing a really good job of assisting the Afghans without terrible American losses. The worst year was 2010 when there were 496 Americans killed in Afghanistan. I suspect Trump has been angry since then and he hasn’t stopped to realize the situation had changed. In 2020 only 9 Americans were killed in Afghanistan.

    I agree with the OP. We were doing very well. The Afghans were making strides. To his everlasting credit, part of that was Donald Trump. And I must say I admire everything else he did as president. But he never saw this situation clearly, and the back-channel negotiations he instituted with the Taliban are what Biden used to accomplish his own evil ends. Trump should not have been talking to the Taliban without our allies including the Afghans present.

    First Trump, then Biden were wrong to make deals with the enemy at the expense of the Afghans.

    But Biden’s treachery to the Afghans and to us is criminal at this point and far, far worse than anything Trump did or would have done. By abandoning Bagram Air Force Base and leaving that equipment and weapons for the Taliban, Biden will be guilty of mass murder. I hope he finds himself in an international criminal court.

    But that will all take time, time the women and children do not have.

    Considering how long such a case would likely take, Biden probably won’t be around that long either.

    Watch the polling data on Biden’s approval ratings in the months to come. If it gets worse and he can’t recover then Democrats in the House and Senate will sense a massive defeat next year in the mid-terms and may start to play nice with Republicans and push for invoking the 25th Amendment to get Harris in place with time before the election. Their allies in the MSM will pronounce on a nightly basis what a wonderful change this is and that Harris deserves a grace period. If Taiwan and/or Ukraine are attacked in the next few weeks or months and Biden and the Pentagon again show their incompetence, then a major rout for the Dems in 2022 is inevitable. The signs for Dem losses in 2022 are already evident but with mail-in ballot, ballot harvesting, and outright election fraud – not that that would ever happen – they may not suffer that many lost seats in Congress. Biden, with Afghanistan, has just poured gasoline on the Dems 2022 hopes…and it could get worse. Much worse.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think Trump, or perhaps Mattis, was doing a really good job of assisting the Afghans without terrible American losses. The worst year was 2010 when there were 496 Americans killed in Afghanistan. I suspect Trump has been angry since then and he hasn’t stopped to realize the situation had changed. In 2020 only 9 Americans were killed in Afghanistan.

    I agree with the OP. We were doing very well. The Afghans were making strides. To his everlasting credit, part of that was Donald Trump. And I must say I admire everything else he did as president. But he never saw this situation clearly, and the back-channel negotiations he instituted with the Taliban are what Biden used to accomplish his own evil ends. Trump should not have been talking to the Taliban without our allies including the Afghans present.

    First Trump, then Biden were wrong to make deals with the enemy at the expense of the Afghans.

    But Biden’s treachery to the Afghans and to us is criminal at this point and far, far worse than anything Trump did or would have done. By abandoning Bagram Air Force Base and leaving that equipment and weapons for the Taliban, Biden will be guilty of mass murder. I hope he finds himself in an international criminal court.

    But that will all take time, time the women and children do not have.

    Considering how long such a case would likely take, Biden probably won’t be around that long either.

    Watch the polling data on Biden’s approval ratings in the months to come. If it gets worse and he can’t recover then Democrats in the House and Senate will sense a massive defeat next year in the mid-terms and may start to play nice with Republicans and push for invoking the 25th Amendment to get Harris in place with time before the election. Their allies in the MSM will pronounce on a nightly basis what a wonderful change this is and that Harris deserves a grace period. If Taiwan and/or Ukraine are attacked in the next few weeks or months and Biden and the Pentagon again show their incompetence, then a major rout for the Dems in 2022 is inevitable. The signs for Dem losses in 2022 are already evident but with mail-in ballot, ballot harvesting, and outright election fraud – not that that would ever happen – they may not suffer that many lost seats in Congress. Biden, with Afghanistan, has just poured gasoline on the Dems 2022 hopes…and it could get worse. Much worse.

    It would be a shame if that’s what has to happen before people will stop voting for Dims, but there may be no other way to teach the lesson.

    • #16
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Brian, you make a pretty good argument for staying in Afghanistan.

    I do not agree with the Cold War/West Berlin analogy, and I do not think that either the Taliban in particular, or Islam in general, presents a serious danger to us.  We were defending West Berlin, and Western Europe generally, from an external Soviet threat.  In Afghanistan, the threat is internal.

    Moreover, the Soviet Union perhaps could have developed the capability to reach our shores, particularly if they had conquered the rest of Europe.  So it made sense to prevent this.

    There is no danger whatsoever of either Afghanistan in particular, or any Muslim country, invading the US by force of arms.  Not in a hundred years.  They are utterly incompetent.  

    The way that they could invade — and already are, to some extent — is if we let them in.  Which is why I don’t want to take in refugees, a point on which I think we disagree.  That is the only way that the Afghans in particular, or Islam in general, can present a danger to us in America.

    So while I think that you overstate the case for remaining in Afghanistan, it would perhaps be worthwhile to do so, if there was public support.  But there is not.  Whether you like it or not, there was a bipartisan consensus, for about 5 years, that we should get out of Afghanistan.  A representative government is not going to be able to sustain such a military effort, in the face of bipartisan public opposition.

    This also implies that the problem is not our elites with the “Ivy League” degrees.  They are carrying out the withdrawal plan initiated by President Trump and continued by President Biden, in accordance with the wishes of the electorate.  Maybe the American people are wrong about this, but they’re getting what they wanted.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Brian, you make a pretty good argument for staying in Afghanistan.

    I do not agree with the Cold War/West Berlin analogy, and I do not think that either the Taliban in particular, or Islam in general, presents a serious danger to us. We were defending West Berlin, and Western Europe generally, from an external Soviet threat. In Afghanistan, the threat is internal.

    Moreover, the Soviet Union perhaps could have developed the capability to reach our shores, particularly if they had conquered the rest of Europe. So it made sense to prevent this.

    There is no danger whatsoever of either Afghanistan in particular, or any Muslim country, invading the US by force of arms. Not in a hundred years. They are utterly incompetent.

    The way that they could invade — and already are, to some extent — is if we let them in. Which is why I don’t want to take in refugees, a point on which I think we disagree. That is the only way that the Afghans in particular, or Islam in general, can present a danger to us in America.

    So while I think that you overstate the case for remaining in Afghanistan, it would perhaps be worthwhile to do so, if there was public support. But there is not. Whether you like it or not, there was a bipartisan consensus, for about 5 years, that we should get out of Afghanistan. A representative government is not going to be able to sustain such a military effort, in the face of bipartisan public opposition.

    This also implies that the problem is not our elites with the “Ivy League” degrees. They are carrying out the withdrawal plan initiated by President Trump and continued by President Biden, in accordance with the wishes of the electorate. Maybe the American people are wrong about this, but they’re getting what they wanted.

    I would say that the lack of public support for maintaining a pretty small “footprint” there – 2500 people, and no deaths in a year and a half – was because, Surprise, Surprise!, they were being lied to by the media especially.

    Just for the one aspect, if you had asked “people on the street” how many Americans had been killed in Afghanistan over the past 18 months, how many do  you think would have given the correct answer, “none?”

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    kedavis (View Comment):

    . . .

    I would say that the lack of public support for maintaining a pretty small “footprint” there – 2500 people, and no deaths in a year and a half – was because, Surprise, Surprise!, they were being lied to by the media especially.

    Just for the one aspect, if you had asked “people on the street” how many Americans had been killed in Afghanistan over the past 18 months, how many do you think would have given the correct answer, “none?”

    Well, I don’t think that the real footprint was 2,500.  I don’t know the actual numbers.  I’ve seen a report of 18,000 contractors supporting the Afghan military, and spending of about $45 billion/year.

    I also don’t know about the long-term viability of holding the country with a small force.  It did work since the deal made by the Trump administration, which was at the very end of February 2020.  That deal aimed at a US withdrawal in May 2021, as I understand it.  I’ve also heard that there’s this thing called the “fighting season” in Afghanistan.

    So it may be that the Taliban simply bided their time in 2020, as US forces were drawn down, and then renewed their offensive once the 2021 fighting season arrived.

    It may be correct that the relatively small force — say 2,500 US troops and 18,000-odd contractors — could have provided sufficient assistance to the Afghan army to hold the Taliban at bay.  But I don’t think that this has been put to the test.

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    . . .

    I would say that the lack of public support for maintaining a pretty small “footprint” there – 2500 people, and no deaths in a year and a half – was because, Surprise, Surprise!, they were being lied to by the media especially.

    Just for the one aspect, if you had asked “people on the street” how many Americans had been killed in Afghanistan over the past 18 months, how many do you think would have given the correct answer, “none?”

    Well, I don’t think that the real footprint was 2,500. I don’t know the actual numbers. I’ve seen a report of 18,000 contractors supporting the Afghan military, and spending of about $45 billion/year.

    I also don’t know about the long-term viability of holding the country with a small force. It did work since the deal made by the Trump administration, which was at the very end of February 2020. That deal aimed at a US withdrawal in May 2021, as I understand it. I’ve also heard that there’s this thing called the “fighting season” in Afghanistan.

    So it may be that the Taliban simply bided their time in 2020, as US forces were drawn down, and then renewed their offensive once the 2021 fighting season arrived.

    It may be correct that the relatively small force — say 2,500 US troops and 18,000-odd contractors — could have provided sufficient assistance to the Afghan army to hold the Taliban at bay. But I don’t think that this has been put to the test.

    Considering that NO Americans died in 18 months – and that time includes way before the announcement of a likely/definite withdrawal, so the Taliban etc had no reason to “go easy on us” during that time – while the Afghan army was fighting and dying with our assistance, makes me think your assessment is… off.

    • #20
  21. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Brian, you make a pretty good argument for staying in Afghanistan.

    I do not agree with the Cold War/West Berlin analogy, and I do not think that either the Taliban in particular, or Islam in general, presents a serious danger to us. We were defending West Berlin, and Western Europe generally, from an external Soviet threat. In Afghanistan, the threat is internal.

    Moreover, the Soviet Union perhaps could have developed the capability to reach our shores, particularly if they had conquered the rest of Europe. So it made sense to prevent this.

    There is no danger whatsoever of either Afghanistan in particular, or any Muslim country, invading the US by force of arms. Not in a hundred years. They are utterly incompetent.

    The way that they could invade — and already are, to some extent — is if we let them in. Which is why I don’t want to take in refugees, a point on which I think we disagree. That is the only way that the Afghans in particular, or Islam in general, can present a danger to us in America.

    So while I think that you overstate the case for remaining in Afghanistan, it would perhaps be worthwhile to do so, if there was public support. But there is not. Whether you like it or not, there was a bipartisan consensus, for about 5 years, that we should get out of Afghanistan. A representative government is not going to be able to sustain such a military effort, in the face of bipartisan public opposition.

    This also implies that the problem is not our elites with the “Ivy League” degrees. They are carrying out the withdrawal plan initiated by President Trump and continued by President Biden, in accordance with the wishes of the electorate. Maybe the American people are wrong about this, but they’re getting what they wanted.

    Your conventional thinking on WWII-era warfare and invasions is duly noted. Welcome to the 21st Century where warfare is carried out by unconventional means – cyber attacks, chemical weapons, dirty bombs, commercial aircraft flown into high-rise buildings in major western cities. By extracting ourselves from Afghanistan we no longer have human intelligence assets or overhead surveillance or a strike force capability around Afghanistan should we need it. How you can derive that I was inferring or making some sort of case against a Muslim military invasion of the United States, is beyond me.

    • #21
  22. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Brian Watt: Can an argument be made to have kept Bagram open and active and territory between Bagram and Kabul protected and secure for many years with drones and other intelligence-gathering assets for the intelligence to be gained by remaining in-country? Is it all-important, or not important at all, to have a threat response platform with rapid-response combat aircraft in-country, especially since Afghanistan is situated directly between two nuclear powers – Pakistan (who created the Taliban) and Iran that is on the verge of having nuclear weapons (thanks to the Obama administration and now the Biden administration)?

    I’ve been one of the longer holdouts supporting the middle east intervention strategy. There is strategic value in having military presence and capability on both sides of Iran. However, the case against continuing a presence was ultimately persuasive once Obama flubbed the plan and gave back so much hard won ground with nothing to show for it. I’m not sure of the answer, but I think keeping a small presence and strip occupied (like we did in Berlin or Cuba), could also make some sense. I think I’d need to hear more details though.

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Brian Watt: Can an argument be made to have kept Bagram open and active and territory between Bagram and Kabul protected and secure for many years with drones and other intelligence-gathering assets for the intelligence to be gained by remaining in-country? Is it all-important, or not important at all, to have a threat response platform with rapid-response combat aircraft in-country, especially since Afghanistan is situated directly between two nuclear powers – Pakistan (who created the Taliban) and Iran that is on the verge of having nuclear weapons (thanks to the Obama administration and now the Biden administration)?

    I’ve been one of the longer holdouts supporting the middle east intervention strategy. There is strategic value in having military presence and capability on both sides of Iran. However, the case against continuing a presence was ultimately persuasive once Obama flubbed the plan and gave back so much hard won ground with nothing to show for it. I’m not sure of the answer, but I think keeping a small presence and strip occupied (like we did in Berlin or Cuba), could also make some sense. I think I’d need to hear more details though.

    And kinda late for that now.

    • #23
  24. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Brian Watt: Can an argument be made to have kept Bagram open and active and territory between Bagram and Kabul protected and secure for many years with drones and other intelligence-gathering assets for the intelligence to be gained by remaining in-country? Is it all-important, or not important at all, to have a threat response platform with rapid-response combat aircraft in-country, especially since Afghanistan is situated directly between two nuclear powers – Pakistan (who created the Taliban) and Iran that is on the verge of having nuclear weapons (thanks to the Obama administration and now the Biden administration)?

    I’ve been one of the longer holdouts supporting the middle east intervention strategy. There is strategic value in having military presence and capability on both sides of Iran. However, the case against continuing a presence was ultimately persuasive once Obama flubbed the plan and gave back so much hard won ground with nothing to show for it. I’m not sure of the answer, but I think keeping a small presence and strip occupied (like we did in Berlin or Cuba), could also make some sense. I think I’d need to hear more details though.

    And kinda late for that now.

    It’s a Moo Point.

    • #24
  25. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Having been subjected to this sort of thing for two decades, perhaps the people of Afghanistan decided that the Taliban was the least bad option. “Cockburn” writes for the Spectator:

    . . .On Ivy League campuses, students are taught to decry ‘colonialism’, but the Ivy League diplomats who sought to remake Afghanistan in Harvard’s image were among the most ambitious practitioners of it in world history.

    So, alongside the billions for bombs went hundreds of millions for gender studies in Afghanistan. According to US government reports, $787 million was spent on gender programs in Afghanistan, but that substantially understates the actual total, since gender goals were folded into practically every undertaking America made in the country. . . .

    However,

    “Cockburn” reminds us that the distinction between “sex” and “gender” was only invented by a sexually-abusive child psychiatrist in the 1960s:

    According to an USAID observer, the gender ideology included in American aid routinely caused rebellions out in the provinces, directly causing the instability America was supposedly fighting. To get Afghanistan’s parliament to endorse the women’s rights measures it wanted, America resorted to bribing them. Soon, bribery became the norm for getting anything done in the parliament.

    Instead of rattling off anecdotes, perhaps a single video clip will do the job. Dadaism and conceptual art are of dubious value even in the West, but at some point some person who is not in prison for fraud decided that Afghan women would be uplifted by teaching them about Marcel Duchamp:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdrvpSfJM1w

    The Taliban might seem if not better, less bad than insanity like that. That being what cost thousands of American lives (and more probably yet to be lost,) many tens of thousands more non fatal casualties and trillions of dollars.

     

    • #25
  26. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    …or not…

    A female Afghan refugee using the name “Muskan” told India’s News18 on Saturday that Taliban fighters are raping both live women and the dead bodies of their victims.

    Story here.

    • #26
  27. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    The two Taiwans, one in Asia, the other in Europe (Ukraine) have to be worried, because like Joe Biden our word is now worthless.

    We like to make fun of the Left for continuing to support socialism and communism despite their repeated failures. This is our version. The bitter truth: Our word was worthless from day one. Keeping it depended on conditions that in the real world were never going to last long enough.

    Nation building in Afghanistan was never going to take less time than it would take the Democrats to betray it just as they betrayed South Vietnam. Those of us who bet that there would be enough time have blood on our hands. “We rebuilt Japan and Germany, turning Afghanistan into a progressive democracy will be no problem.” Delusion, and mass delusions have mass  consequences. This is on all of us, and our woke ideology bids fair to bring us down soon as well.

    If Taiwan falls, our civilization is likely to fall with it; Ukraine isn’t yet in a position to replace Taiwan’s chip wizardry. The question then becomes: will we live long enough and have the luxuries of enough money and time to spare from survival to have that on our consciences as well?

    Meanwhile, the new Tranzi and Green grifters and their allies in the US and international security establishment (basically the permanent undersecretaries of what Steve Bannon calls the “Party of Davos”) are moving to replace our old military-industrial establishment’s grifters.

    The CCP doesn’t need the likes of Dianne Feinstein any more. It has enough allies throughout our administrative state and the organs of our culture.

     

     

    • #27
  28. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Sadly it is terrible to see how Trump messed this up.  Lost Afghanistan after all of Obama / Biden’s wins.   Surrendering all that equipment to the enemy, effectively rearming them to fight again.  Creating a situation that the only way out will be Biden funneling more money into Afghanistan than the wars ever cost. Signaling to the world that Americans will never hang and hold longterm, while letting any potential allies know the US can not be trusted to defend them as any defense is only as good as the populace’s electoral whim.  Today the arms race has restarted as  every country on earth races to acquire enough arms to defend themselves no matter what since the US will not.  All because of Trump.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I’m glad you’re coming around.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The Biden “Miss Me Yet?” billboards are already going up.

    • #30