When I was 13 we invaded Afghanistan. I’m 33 now. We were told we have to get Bin Laden then that we had to destroy al-qaeda’s safe haven. Both of those were accomplished by *2011*. I don’t care how loud & long the pro-war media ghouls shriek. Today is a good day. We’re fully out— Secular Talk? (@KyleKulinski) August 31, 2021
As a sincere and principled pundit, I totally wanted US troops out of Afghanistan, but now I’m furious that troops are actually out Afghanistan. I’m available for TV bookings— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) August 31, 2021
“The worst capitulation of Western values in our lifetimes”— Bruno Maçães (@MacaesBruno) August 30, 2021
This horrifying image encapsulates Joe Biden’s Afghanistan catastrophe: The Taliban hanging a man from an American Blackhawk helicopter.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 31, 2021
Tragic. Unimaginable. https://t.co/zOvNM5UXUW
Ross Douthat has written a good column about Afghanistan.
The lesson of Afghanistan is that those of us who always opposed the endless war and occupation of Afghanistan were not cynical enough about it. The puppet government and its fake army was more corrupt and rotten than we thought. The generals and “intelligence community” were more incompetent than we thought. The U.S. military is less powerful than we thought. The Deep State isn’t as powerful as we thought. At least in Afghanistan, American culture isn’t as subversive as we thought.
“A month ago I thought I was a cynic about our 20-year war in Afghanistan. Today, after watching our stumbling withdrawal and the swift collapse of practically everything we fought for, my main feeling is that I wasn’t cynical enough.
My cynicism consisted of the belief that the American effort to forge a decent Afghan political settlement failed definitively during Barack Obama’s first term in office, when a surge of U.S. forces blunted but did not reverse the Taliban’s recovery. This failure was then buried under a Vietnam-esque blizzard of official deceptions and bureaucratic lies, which covered over a shift in American priorities from the pursuit of victory to the management of stalemate, with the American presence insulated from casualties in the hopes that it could be sustained indefinitely.
Under this strategic vision — to use the word “strategic” generously — there would be no prospect of victory, no end to corruption among our allies and collateral damage from our airstrikes, no clear reason to be in Afghanistan, as opposed to any other failing state or potential terror haven, except for the sunk cost that we were there already. But if American casualty rates stayed low enough, the public would accept it, the Pentagon budget would pay for it, and nobody would have to preside over anything so humiliating as defeat. …”
Joe Biden is being scapegoated for America’s defeat in Afghanistan, but the truth is that Biden merely exposed what we always knew, which was that the puppet government had no legitimacy and couldn’t stand on its own two feet and this fact was being hidden from public view by the ass covering generals. There was too much money at risk. There were too many careers on the line to admit the truth.
The “worst withdrawal in history” is being contrasted with a hypothetical “withdrawal with honor” which presumably would have turned out differently. Staying in Afghanistan and perpetuating the “stalemate” would have required continuing to sustain the illusion with an endless stream of money and lives to artificially prop up the Afghan government. Staying in Afghanistan wouldn’t have eliminated ISIS-K which has been around for several years now. It wouldn’t have eliminated the Taliban which is more popular than ever. After 20 years of occupying Afghanistan, the warmongers are saying that al-Qaeda hasn’t even been eliminated there. Carpetbombing guerrillas didn’t work in Vietnam or Afghanistan.
The worst thing that Islamic terrorists could have done to the American Empire was to rope it into a Vietnam-like quagmire in the hope that it would exhaust itself fighting jihadists on their own turf and that they would emerge victorious in the end. They have succeeded in that objective.
Note: The Pentagon’s plan was to spend trillions of dollars trying to turn Afghanistan into a Westernized liberal democracy. It was building a “Great Society” on the Mekong all over again.