• Who’s to Blame for Losing Afghanistan?

    August 28, 2021

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Biden, Embassy/State, Military, Trump


     

    Who should we blame for losing Afghanistan? Why blame anyone?

    Did anyone expect the U.S. war in Afghanistan to end cleanly? If so, you bought the lies all along and the cold water now is hitting sharp. While the actual ending is particularly harsh and clearly spliced together from old clips of Saigon 1975, those are simply details.

    Why blame Biden? He played his part as a Senator and VP keeping the war going, but his role today is just being the last guy in a long line of people to blame, a pawn in the game. That Biden is willing to be the “president who lost Afghanistan” is all the proof you need he does not intend to run again for anything. Kind of an ironic version of a young John Kerry’s take on Vietnam “how do you ask the last man to die for a mistake?” Turns out, it’s easy: call Joe.

    Blame Trump for the deal? One of the saddest things about the brutal ending of the U.S.-Afghan war is we would have gotten the same deal — just leave it to the Taliban and go home — at basically any point during the last 20 years. That makes every death and every dollar a waste. Afghanistan is simply reverting, quickly, to more or less status quo 9/10/01 and everything between then and now, including lost opportunities, will have been wasted.

    Blame the NeoCons? No one in Washington who supported this war was ever called out, with the possible exception of Donald Rumsfeld who, if there is a hell, now cleans truck stop toilets there. Dick Cheney walks free. The generals and diplomats who ran the war have nice think tank or university jobs, if they are not still in government making equally bad decisions. No one has been legally, financially, or professionally disadvantaged by the blood on their hands. Some of the era’s senior leaders — Blinken, Rice, Power, Nuland — are now working in better jobs for Biden. I’d like to hope they have trouble sleeping at night, but I doubt it.

    George Bush is a cuddly grandpa today, not the man who drove the United States into building a global prison archipelago to torture people. Barack Obama, who kept much of that system in place and added the drone killing of American citizens to his resume, remains a Democratic rock god. Neither man nor any of his significant underlings has expressed any regret or remorse.

    For example, I just listened to Ryan Crocker, our former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, on CNN. Making myself listen to him was about as fun as sticking my tongue in a wood chipper. Same for former general David Petraeus and the usual gang of idiots. None of them, the ones who made the decisions, accept any blame. Instead. they seem settled on blaming Trump because, well, everything bad is Trump’s fault even if he came into all this in the middle of the movie.

    In the end the only people punished were the whistleblowers.

    No one in the who is to blame community seems willing to take the story back to its beginning, at least the beginning for America’s latest round in the Graveyard of Empires (talk about missing an early clue.) This is what makes Blame Trump and Blame Biden so absurd. America’s modern involvement in this war began in 1979 when Jimmy Carter, overreacting to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to prop up what was already a pro-Soviet puppet government, began arming and organizing Islamic warriors we now collectively know as “The Taliban.”

    People who want to only see trees they can chop down and purposely want to miss the vastness of the forest ahead at this point try to sideline things by claiming there never was a single entity called “The Taliban” and the young Saudis who flocked to jihad to kill Russians technically weren’t funded by the U.S. (it was indirectly through Pakistan) or that the turning point was the 1991 Gulf War, etc. Quibbles and distractions.

    If Carter’s baby steps to pay for Islamic warriors to fight the Red Army was playing with matches, Ronald Reagan poured gas, then jet fuel, on the fire. Under the Reagan administration the U.S. funded the warriors (called mujaheddin if not freedom fighters back then), armed them, invited their ilk to the White House, helped lead them, worked with the Saudis to send in even more money, and fanned the flames of jihad to ensure a steady stream of new recruits.

    When we “won” it was hailed as the beginning of the real end of the Evil Empire. The U.S. defeated the mighty Red Army by sending over some covert operators to fight alongside stooge Islam warriors for whom a washing machine was high technology. Pundits saw it as a new low-cost model for executing American imperial will.

    We paid little attention to events as we broke up the band and cut off the warriors post-Soviet withdrawal (soon enough some bozo at the State Department declared “the end of history.” He teaches at Stanford now) until the blowback from this all nipped us in the largely unsuccessful World Trade Center bombing of 1993, followed by the very successful World Trade Center bombing on September 11, 2001. Seems like there was still some history left to go.

    How did U.S. intelligence know who the 9/11 culprits were so quickly? Several of them had been on our payroll, or received financing via proxies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, or were inspired by what had happened in Afghanistan, the defeat of the infidels (again; check Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Mughal Empire, various Persian Empires, the Sikhs, the British, et al.)

    If post-9/11 the U.S. had limited itself to a vengeful hissy fit in Afghanistan, ending with Bush’s 2003 declaration of “Mission Accomplished,” things would have been different. If the U.S. had used the assassination of Osama bin Laden, living “undiscovered” in the shadow of Pakistan’s military academy, as an excuse of sorts to call it a day in Afghanistan, things would have been different.

    Instead Afghanistan became a petri dish to try out the worst NeoCon wet dream, nation-building across the Middle East. Our best and brightest would not just bomb Afghanistan into the stone age, they would then phoenix-it from the rubble as a functioning democracy. There was something for everyone: a military task to displace post-Cold War budget cuts, a pork-laden reconstruction program for contractors and diplomats, even a plan to empower Afghan women to placate the left.

    Though many claim Bush pulling resources away from Afghanistan for Iraq doomed the big plans, it was never just a matter of not enough resources. Afghanistan was never a country in any modern sense to begin with, just an association of tribal entities who hated each other almost as much as they hated the west. The underpinnings of the society were a virulent strain of Islam, about as far away from any western political and social ideas as possible. Absent a few turbaned Uncle Toms, nobody in Afghanistan was asking to be freed by the United States anyway.

    Pakistan, America’s “ally” in all this, was a principal funder and friend of the Taliban, always more focused on the perceived threat from India, seeing a failed state in Afghanistan as a buffer zone. Afghanistan was a narco-state with its only real export heroin. Not only did this mean the U.S. wanted to build a modern economy on a base of crime, the U.S. in different periods actually encouraged/ignored the drug trade into American cities in favor of the cash flow.

    The Afghan puppet government and military the U.S. formed were uniformly corrupt, and encouraged by the endless inflow of American money to get more corrupt all the time. They had no support from the people and could care less. The Afghans in general and the Afghan military in particular did not fail to hold up their end of the fighting; they never signed up for the fight in the first place. No Afghan wanted to be the last man to die in service to American foreign policy.

    There was no way to win. The “turning point” was starting the war at all. Afghanistan had to fail. There was no other path for it, other than being propped up at ever-higher costs. That was American policy for two decades: prop up things and hope something might change. It was like sending more money to a Nigerian cyber-scammer hoping to recoup your original loss.

    Everything significant our government, the military, and the MSM told us about Afghanistan was a lie. They filled and refilled the bag with bullhockey and Americans bought it every time expecting candy canes. Keep that in mind when you decide who to listen to next time, because of course there will be a next time. Who has not by now realized that? We just passively watched 20 years of Vietnam all over again, including the sad ending. So really, who’s to blame?

     

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      I blame Hollywood and all those damn John Wayne movies that painted Americans morally superior. Didn’t address our extermination of Native Americans. “Blazing Saddles” was THE movie that was a true picture of the West. It painted Us, the common clay of the West. You know….morons.

      08/28/21 8:01 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Maybe we regular non aligned folk (Independents?) will have to learn to live outside the fray of the American tribal schism (Republicans vs. Democrats). We sure can’t look to the Middle East (Arabs vs Jews) for cues on how to peacefully coexist. Why aren’t Kerry and Obama coming to Biden’s defense?What do they have to lose by supporting their party. It’s not as if they are seeking careers as Independents. I’m totally baffled why the Democrats have abandoned Biden. The Republicans believe in loyalty regardless of their feckless leaders. The Democrats should emulate that ethos.

      08/28/21 1:16 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Let US not forget this important movie: Green Berets. It is another John Wayne ode to our stupidity

      Reviewing for The New York Times, Renata Adler wrote, “The Green Berets is a film so unspeakable, so stupid, so rotten and false in every detail that it passes through being fun, through being funny, through being camp, through everything and becomes an invitation to grieve, not for our soldiers or for Vietnam (the film could not be more false or do a greater disservice to either of them), but for what has happened to the fantasy-making apparatus in this country.”

      08/28/21 8:21 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      4

      Sort of forces one reach a rueful conclusion that Americans are just fine with what has happened over the past fifty years and what continues to happen and what seems guaranteed to continue happening. They accept no blame for anything for nothing needs fixing. As long as they have their teevee, alcoholic drinks, prescription dope, a little porn occasionally, plenty of spectator sports, PLENTY of snacks and sugary drinks, petroleum for their car which is worth less than what they owe in payments, celebrity news, cruise ships are taking reservations, flights to Vegas are operating, the toilet flushes, the tub fills and the sink drains. The refrig and dishwasher work as does the washing machine and dryer. Their internet connection and wifi gives them the dopamine stimulation they crave. Their phone charges fairly consistently. What’s not to like about the American way?

      08/28/21 9:06 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      JP,

      Petroleum for their car? We Americans don’t use that term.

      As for the rest of the world, Hollywood has made it like US.

      08/29/21 8:44 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      6

      Bauer: Americans are monosyllable critters at heart- gas, car! We love to shorten words to relax jaw exertion thus gasoline becomes gas. Petroleum is a taxing term to vocalize and thus abandoned. To follow up on your Hollywood reference I think Hollywood should be the new capital of the USA.

      08/29/21 8:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...

      7

      The Afghanistan train wreck was a two decade long bipartisan effort prompted by and for the MICC. Sure the American electorate bears some responsibility for it, but let’s face it – the average voter has an IQ between 90 and 110, little knowledge of or interest in foreign affairs and no choice but to trust in the competence and trustworthiness of the high officials (elected or appointed) who govern their republic. That said, in the olden days average voters could usually count on the *press* to let them know when those high officials had screwed up or were lying – not so much anymore. For example our first combat units deployed to Vietnam in 1965 and the Pentagon Papers were published by the NYT only six years later, in 1971. On the other hand the so called Afghanistan Papers weren’t published by the WaPo until 2019, a full eighteen years after we went into Afghanistan in 2001. A selective example to be sure, but it shows how changes in journalistic practices have left the electorate even more isolated and confused than ever, which is just fine with the MICC and the bipartisan oligarchy that really runs this country. So for my money, I’d put the press in general atop the huge heap of jackbags who are to blame for what went on in Afghanistan for almost twenty years – for the most part the press swallowed the pablum being put out by Bush, Obama and their various minions hook, line and sinker, instead of serving as the public’s eyes and ears and critically reporting on what was *really* happening over in Afghanistan. And they’ll never be held accountable for that either.

      08/29/21 9:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      David Stockman: $2.3 Trillion Wasted, 250,000 Dead and 20 Years of Military Madness To Replace the Taliban….. With the Taliban!

      And everybody involved in this illegal war got pay raises!

      08/30/21 2:52 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      9

      Bauer- remember your scriptures! Only the Lord is entitled to vengeance. You’ll go mad thinking of the monstrous humans who profited nicely from the US Empire’s dire deeds and who presently live very very comfortable lives.
      Obama is reported to have said, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s knack for fucking things up” Well, now Biden has done what three prior POTUSes did not have the courage to do and they all hate him for exposing their weakness. Obama has been outed as a weakling coward- a get along guy who just wanted to sit on the throne for 8 years and enter the history books. If Obama hadn’t been black he’d already be considered a mediocre place holder POTUS. I believe that Biden would have bested Trump in 2016 but the creep Obama “owed” Hillary for jumping the line in 2008. Also if Sirhan Sirhan hadn’t killed RFK perhaps the Vietnam War would have wound down much earlier saving a lot of lives on both sides. (I don’t think Nixon could have beat RFK). So Sirhan Sirhan just didn’t kill one guy he killed hundreds of thousands. Just opinions of course. At 77 I don’t need to be right so I’m open to being disabused of these speculations.

      08/31/21 6:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      Pocket Poole,

      Of course, compared to your country, in which Stalin murdered millions of his own people, we are small in the “monstrous” department.

      When Russia dumps Putin and his oligarch buddies in Siberia then I will be open to being disabused of these speculations. For a start, let US know you agree that razPutin is a murderous monster who should be rotting in jail.

      09/1/21 10:28 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      11

      Bauer- the Moscow Candidate responding here. I have no opinion about Putin nor even about Russia. I’ve never been on Russian turf except when I toured the KGB room at the hotel Virun in Tallinn, Estonia.

      09/2/21 11:31 AM | Comment Link

    • Joe (Stalin) said...

      12

      Comrade Bauer: Well done as usual tovarish! When anyone mentions members of our beloved Party who are part of your country’s ruling oligarchy (Obama, Biden, Schumer, Pelosi – the list is quite a long one,) simply mention *my* deeds of seventy years ago on the other side of the world to try to deflect attention from all of them and what they are doing in *your* country today! Comrade Vladimir is indeed much like me, but he’ll sadly never be the threat to your country I once was; that is why we are depending on people like *you* to help us destroy you from within, by protecting the portion of your oligarchy that is in so many ways much like my beloved Soviet Communist Party – incompetent, corrupt and astoundingly hypocritical. Never, *ever*, EVER admit that any of them have ever done anything wrong Comrade, even when there is abundant evidence to the contrary! (i.e. Comrade Barack and his apparatchiks profiteering off the war in Afghanistan for *seven* years after this Bin Laden fellow was finally killed.) Da, yes, by remaining silent on issues such as this you will of course be throwing your credibility under the so called “bus” (you Americans have the oddest expressions) but that does not matter – there are many useful idiots in your country who will not even stop to think about such a contradiction, and that is what *we* are depending on. There is a reason why I asked Comrade Vladimir to make you a Hero of the Russian Federation tovarish – because we know we can always count on you Richard, no matter what! Wear your medal with pride Comrade and keep up the good work!

      09/2/21 5:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      Joe Stalin aka Pocket Poole aka Moscow Mitch,

      Congrats on your Russian trill vaccine disinformation program:

      Newsflash: Why Russia’s COVID deaths are peaking a year after its vaccine was approved

      Sputnik-V was the first vaccine in the world to be greenlit, yet under 20% of Russians are fully vaccinated.

      09/2/21 6:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe (McCarthy) said...

      14

      @Rich Bauer – Rich my boy, it’s a pleasure to finally write to you! I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying seeing folks like you continue my tradition of red-baiting and McCarthyism in America – reductio ad Stalinum! Of course it didn’t work out so great for me personally in the end, but Tricky Dick Nixon also played this tune so there’s still hope for you to do as well as he did! Just remember to keep the baseless accusations coming and never actually answer or even *address* criticism sent your way – you’re a rabid attack dog pushing a simplistic agenda, not some rational member of a large and complex society! Woof, woof, go get’em champ! Your pal, “Tail Gunner Joe” McCarthy.

      09/3/21 2:07 PM | Comment Link

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