Lost Causes

Peter’s out this week, so it’s a Lileks and Long show. But we wouldn’t want to be without a Hoover man. Our guest is Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, whose decades of service in the Middle East make him the perfect man to help us make what little sense we can of the hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan. (And be sure to check out his piece in the Wall Street Journal.) The guys also wonder about what will come of Andrew Cuomo, the “probably-illegal-but who-knows?” eviction moratorium and the overall lunacy of bureaucrats.

Music from this week’s podcast: Lost Cause by Beck

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  1. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    “…a Hoover man…”

    • #1
  2. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    “A Hoover man”

    Family lore has it that my great aunt’s husband, a salesman for the company, sold one to Herbert William Hoover Sr.

    Uncle Clayton couldn’t have been older than 20, and Hoover must’ve been 75 or so. If it’s true, it’s gotta be one of those Glengarry Glen Ross “they just like talking to salesmen” incidents. Still, impressive…. if true.

    • #2
  3. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    New definition—Turn wars into raids: Go in with 7 days of massive devastation, withdraw, and say, “Stop that! Or we will come back and do it again!”

    Alternatives are always unsustainable. Only works with secure borders.

    I know. Many obvious objections. But then, better not to go to war at all than go into anything other than an all-out devastating, horrible, object-lesson war.

    • #3
  4. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    “A Hoover man”

    Family lore has it that my great aunt’s husband, a salesman for the company, sold one to Herbert William Hoover Sr.

    Uncle Clayton couldn’t have been older than 20, and Hoover must’ve been 75 or so. If it’s true, it’s gotta be one of those Glengarry Glen Ross “they just like talking to salesmen” incidents. Still, impressive…. if true.

    Hoover’s Hoover would be worth a mint!

    • #4
  5. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Hopefully COVID will soon be a Totally Lost Cause.

    If they can do this in restriction crazed Canada, maybe it can happen here in CaliforneyeEh!

     

    • #5
  6. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Ricochet Audio Network: hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan

    Hurried? We’ve been there for twenty years. Trump wanted to be out by May and Dementia extended it until September. Delayed might be a better word choice.

    I deployed as part of the Air Force Central Strategy Division in 2013. We were supposed to assist the commander with plans. We didn’t have anything to do with Afghanistan. There was a separate group in Afghanistan that ran that portion of the operations. Not much went on during the deployment. Iraq was over. Syria was warming up but mostly an internal fight. The line in the sand debacle happened that August. We did get spun up for about a week, planning the strikes that never happened. It was weird having to kick the Brits out of the room during some discussions after their government said they wouldn’t participate. Senator McCain thought he knew better how to attack Syria and sent a plan to the commander. We had to take a day off to go over the plans a think tank had planned for him and craft an answer for the commander.

    It was a good time to be the commander though. The AFCENT commander was Gen Goldfein who went on to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force. His deputy was Gen Brown, current Chief of Staff. The Central Command commander was Gen Austin, current Secretary of Defense. 

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    What about a part of the “infrastructure” bill I’ve heard about, that apparently makes it impossible/illegal to get nutritional supplements – vitamin pills, etc – except by prescription?

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Using a VPN to access your WSJ account to post comments or whatever, does not provide anonymity.

    • #8
  9. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Forcing electric cars without any kind of realistic planning. What a great idea.

    Hedge fund guys are salivating over how ESG is either going to create inflation through inefficiency and shortages, or it’s just more graft they can frontrun.

    I’m not articulate in this topic, but it’s clear to me that the government forcing fleet mileage stopped netting out a long time ago.

    Life is about supply and productivity, not central planning by a bunch of propeller heads and corrupt politicians pushing everything around

    • #9
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    Life is about supply and productivity, not central planning by a bunch of propeller heads and corrupt politicians pushing everything around

    But the government can manage wars just fine apparently.

    • #10
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Boss Mango said that one of the biggest lies he was ever told were that people wanted the same thing. He did not believe that it was a natural thing to love liberty like Americans liked liberty.

    Afghanis are a barbarous culture because they approve of killing people who leave Islam. 79 percent of Afghanis approve of killing people who leave Islam for other religions or atheism according to the Pew research center. 85 percent approve of the stoning of adulterers which we know translates to accused women. This was based on interview of Afghanis conducted by Pew interviewees.

    I am not prejudiced against the Afghani people. Prejudice means pre-judgement. I have judged the Afghanis They aren’t capable of goodness if they worship a G-d who does not approve of freedom.

    • #11
  12. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    FredGoodhue
    @FredGoodhue

    I would have liked to hear McMaster’s thoughts on what China will now do in Afghanistan.

    • #12
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Senator McCain thought he knew better how to attack Syria and sent a plan to the commander. We had to take a day off to go over the plans a think tank had planned for him and craft an answer for the commander.

    A THINK TANK!?!?!

    • #13
  14. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Ricochet Audio Network: hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan

    Hurried? We’ve been there for twenty years. Trump wanted to be out by May and Dementia extended it until September. Delayed might be a better word choice.

    I deployed as part of the Air Force Central Strategy Division in 2013. We were supposed to assist the commander with plans. We didn’t have anything to do with Afghanistan. There was a separate group in Afghanistan that ran that portion of the operations. Not much went on during the deployment. Iraq was over. Syria was warming up but mostly an internal fight. The line in the sand debacle happened that August. We did get spun up for about a week, planning the strikes that never happened. It was weird having to kick the Brits out of the room during some discussions after their government said they wouldn’t participate. Senator McCain thought he knew better how to attack Syria and sent a plan to the commander. We had to take a day off to go over the plans a think tank had planned for him and craft an answer for the commander.

    It was a good time to be the commander though. The AFCENT commander was Gen Goldfein who went on to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force. His deputy was Gen Brown, current Chief of Staff. The Central Command commander was Gen Austin, current Secretary of Defense.

    Did you interact with Gen Austin. What were people’s perception of him. I think he’s a dangerous idiot.

    • #14
  15. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Ricochet Audio Network: hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan

    Hurried? We’ve been there for twenty years. Trump wanted to be out by May and Dementia extended it until September. Delayed might be a better word choice.

    I deployed as part of the Air Force Central Strategy Division in 2013. We were supposed to assist the commander with plans. We didn’t have anything to do with Afghanistan. There was a separate group in Afghanistan that ran that portion of the operations. Not much went on during the deployment. Iraq was over. Syria was warming up but mostly an internal fight. The line in the sand debacle happened that August. We did get spun up for about a week, planning the strikes that never happened. It was weird having to kick the Brits out of the room during some discussions after their government said they wouldn’t participate. Senator McCain thought he knew better how to attack Syria and sent a plan to the commander. We had to take a day off to go over the plans a think tank had planned for him and craft an answer for the commander.

    It was a good time to be the commander though. The AFCENT commander was Gen Goldfein who went on to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force. His deputy was Gen Brown, current Chief of Staff. The Central Command commander was Gen Austin, current Secretary of Defense.

    Did you interact with Gen Austin. What were people’s perception of him. I think he’s a dangerous idiot.

    I did not. My boss had to brief him once or twice but I don’t remember him saying much either way. A coworker sat next to him at the chapel once when he came out to Camp Cupcake (Al Udeid Air Base). All she said was that he is a large man.

    • #15
  16. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Senator McCain thought he knew better how to attack Syria and sent a plan to the commander. We had to take a day off to go over the plans a think tank had planned for him and craft an answer for the commander.

    A THINK TANK!?!?!

    I think that’s where it came from. The details have faded. We were irate in the office. The information came to AFCENT commander and since it fell on our office, our boss got tasked with answering the congressional inquiry. We had to take time away from working the official plans to look at this optional plan. Fortunately, I guess, Obama caved and nothing came of it.

    • #16
  17. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I agree with McMaster, though some people I respect don’t. 

    • #17
  18. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I agree with McMaster, though some people I respect don’t.

    With everything? I understand that it might be necessary to become an imperial power in order to limit Islamic Terrorism but color me spectacle about Islamic society. 

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I agree with McMaster, though some people I respect don’t.

    With everything? I understand that it might be necessary to become an imperial power in order to limit Islamic Terrorism but color me spectacle about Islamic society.

    Would those be rose-colored spectacles?  :-)

    • #19
  20. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I agree with McMaster, though some people I respect don’t.

    With everything? I understand that it might be necessary to become an imperial power in order to limit Islamic Terrorism but color me spectacle about Islamic society.

    Would those be rose-colored spectacles? :-)

    Memes are infecting my spelling. I was thinking of this meme when I was writing.

    • #20
  21. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    Boss Mango said that one of the biggest lies he was ever told were that people wanted the same thing.

    That name sounds sort of familiar.  Did he run a tropical fruit farm?

    • #21
  22. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1473841/joe-biden-news-US-B52s-taliban-bombed-afghanistan-sheberghan-captured

    Well, that didn’t take long.  As I understand the situation now, Putin is massing troops at the Tajikistan border while China is doing the same, supposedly to suppress any possible political/military “blowback” after the U.S. Troops leave.  But don’t worry sport fans, old Team USA is still going to be involved in the upcoming [redacted profanity] show.  It won’t be long before the CIA will be buying arms and ammo from both China and Russia to give to the Taliban so they can use them against their Chinese/Russian invaders.  It’s like the cycle of life – from hell.

    • #22
  23. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    We invite on a loser general on to tell us how if we kept on fighting for another 50 years, we might actually win.  Otherwise the dominos will fall just like they did in South East Asia, when Saigon fell.  Which is why there are communist states in Thailand, Maylaysia and Singapore.  Oh wait?  Is the USA being granted bases in Camron Bay by the Viet Namese?

    Sorry the USA won.  In 2001 at Torah Borah.  They lost a few weeks later at the Airlift of Evil.

    The USA should have declared victory after the Northern Alliance took Kabul and Al Queada disbanded into small groups.  

    Instead they spent 20 years blundering around and causing thousands of casualties in a war they could not win again.

    The constant requirement of 8500 troops in Afghanistan fighting for decades is disgusting.  It reminds of Hitlers thought that once the Soviets were defeated, he envisioned that German ‘colonists’ would be fighting in Russia in some sort of bizarre blooding of the Volk in some sort of India frontier.  

    McMasters description of his Afghan plan sounds like a sanitized version of it.

    Here is my question for the General.  Say the balloon really goes up and the Chinese invade Taiwan.  What happens to those 8500 troops in Afghanistan now surrounded in most directions by hostile powers, without the ability to get home or supply?  One would like to believe they would march home in some sort of legendary Anabasis story.  But my guess is that they would end up like the Brits during the 1st Afghan War.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Actually I skipped over the McMaster part.  I figured there wouldn’t be anything valuable there of interest, that both his analysis (of the past) and predictions (for the future) would be hopelessly tainted and useless.

    • #24
  25. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    We invite on a loser general on to tell us how if we kept on fighting for another 50 years, we might actually win. 

    You’ve been getting mean lately Tory War Writer. I don’t like it. 

    • #25
  26. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    @torywarwriter —You do know we have 40,000 troops in Germany and 50,000 in Japan and 25,000 in South Korea since 1945.

    Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan:  how many Seventies “dominoes” do you want?  Also, delaying the Communist wave by ten years or so gave Thailand time to defeat its own Communist insurgency, so the Indochinese dominoes stopped there.

    Sometimes the only alternatives you have are surrender or fight.  The Romans fought the barbarians for 700 years, give or take.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Taras (View Comment):

    @ torywarwriter —You do know we have 40,000 troops in Germany and 50,000 in Japan and 25,000 in South Korea since 1945.

    Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan: how many Seventies “dominoes” do you want? Also, delaying the Communist wave by ten years or so gave Thailand time to defeat its own Communist insurgency, so the Indochinese dominoes stopped there.

    Sometimes the only alternatives you have are surrender or fight. The Romans fought the barbarians for 700 years, give or take.

    I wonder if some people think that if the Romans wound up losing anyway, they should have stopped fighting 700 years earlier and saved a bunch of money that could have been used for social programs, education, free health-care, “infrastructure…”

    • #27
  28. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    We invite on a loser general on to tell us how if we kept on fighting for another 50 years, we might actually win.

    You’ve been getting mean lately Tory War Writer. I don’t like it.

    Uh well.  I am not happy with some people.  Your going to have to sort me out I suppose.  Another show?

    • #28
  29. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Taras (View Comment):

    @ torywarwriter —You do know we have 40,000 troops in Germany and 50,000 in Japan and 25,000 in South Korea since 1945.

    Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan: how many Seventies “dominoes” do you want? Also, delaying the Communist wave by ten years or so gave Thailand time to defeat its own Communist insurgency, so the Indochinese dominoes stopped there.

    Sometimes the only alternatives you have are surrender or fight. The Romans fought the barbarians for 700 years, give or take.

    Yeah.  I am well aware that their was no longer bouts of fighting going for decades in those countries after 1945.  Please cite the ongoing insurgencies in those countries?  Oh wait you cant.

    Yep.  And how many of those 70s dominoes mattered in the grand scheme of things?  As someone who has read a fair bit about those insurgencies and written about them, I can say each one of them were defeated despite Vietnam not because of it.  But I am sure the 50000 dead Americans appreciate being thrown under the bus in a War the leaders had decided was unwinnable sometime around 1969.

    The Romans also withdrew behind defensible positions.  They didnt expand their borders beyond what they could hold.  Which is part of my comments, which you also fail to address.

    • #29
  30. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):

    @ torywarwriter —You do know we have 40,000 troops in Germany and 50,000 in Japan and 25,000 in South Korea since 1945.

    Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan: how many Seventies “dominoes” do you want? Also, delaying the Communist wave by ten years or so gave Thailand time to defeat its own Communist insurgency, so the Indochinese dominoes stopped there.

    Sometimes the only alternatives you have are surrender or fight. The Romans fought the barbarians for 700 years, give or take.

    Yeah. I am well aware that their was no longer bouts of fighting going for decades in those countries after 1945. Please cite the ongoing insurgencies in those countries? Oh wait you cant.

    Yep. And how many of those 70s dominoes mattered in the grand scheme of things? As someone who has read a fair bit about those insurgencies and written about them, I can say each one of them were defeated despite Vietnam not because of it. But I am sure the 50000 dead Americans appreciate being thrown under the bus in a War the leaders had decided was unwinnable sometime around 1969.

    The Romans also withdrew behind defensible positions. They didnt expand their borders beyond what they could hold. Which is part of my comments, which you also fail to address.

    Faced with insurgencies, the U.S. would have abandoned Germany to a resurgent Nazi Party and Japan to the Imperialists?

    That the Vietnam War was “unwinnable” was an understandable mistake in the Seventies, when Communism seemed to be on the march everywhere:  popular, successful, and the wave of the future.  We now know, of course, that none of that was true.  

    In reality, the war was unwinnable only so long as LBJ and Gen. Westmoreland were in charge.  Within a few years of taking over, Nixon had reduced annual American fatalities from over 16,000 in LBJ’s last year, to 170.  In 1972 a conventional invasion by the North was crushed by South Vietnamese ground forces plus American air power, so thoroughly that the North did not try again until 1975.  By then, of course, left-wing Democrats had taken over Congress, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, and were determined to force an American defeat.

    • #30