Category Archives: Afghanistan

A Reader Writes In To Inquire

Democrats Vs. Republicans

After my last post a reader who stands in opposition to what I said asked me some questions that I thought would be better answered in todays post then a simple reply to just him. He raises some points that I often hear from those who stand in opposition to my point of view. We will begin with

Since (Biden) took office, Gas prices in suburban areas of (LOCATION REDACTED) have hit highs of $5 per gallon.

Yes they have. I wish Biden had the power to put a cap on how much oil producers can charge for a gallon of gas, but until the socialist dream is achieved he doesn’t. Nor has any president. EVER. If you are upset about five dollar a gallon gas then start getting mad at the real culprits, the oil companies. Personally I think it’s because they see we are coming to the end of the age of the internal combustion engine and are trying to get as much cashola as they can before no one wants and/or needs their product. But if you think five bucks is high, wait till they start using Hurricane Ida as an excuse to raise prices.

And you know they will.

Since he took office, ISIS which was rarely heard of the previous 4 years are claiming to be responsible for the afghan airport bombing which killed many US marines and citizens that have been left there before being evacuated before the US army was to let in the Taliban to take over.

First of all, it was not ISIS that was responsible for the Kabul airport bombing but rather ISIS-K which is an off shoot organization not controlled by ISIS. US citizens were killed in the attack but many more of the dead were Afghans. That’s not an excuse, just a statement of fact. Could it have been prevented? I don’t know, but I do know that a second attempt was prevented with a well placed drone strike. I’m sure you were applauding the bold and direct action that Biden took.

Before he took office it was thought that there might be control on the current situation at hand but reading articles on CNN which is pro Biden, it looks like this August is worse than last year August (although you’ll claim it’s all others faults).

What control are you talking about? Trump’s “peace talks” with the Taliban? Look, let me make it clear, we had no business being in Afghanistan and we certainly had no business being there for twenty years. Biden said enough is enough, we’re not wasting any more money or blood on a place with no strategic value to our country. And if you want to cry about terrorists being there please note my earlier comment about the drone strike as an example of how to take care of things.

The Taliban have no friends, only those who give them money to buzz around and annoy Western democracies. Let them run an unrunable country. When the time is right an opposition group will take to the hills, just as the Taliban did twenty years ago, and begin a guerilla war that will end with them marching into Kabul. But if you think that will bring about a peaceful, serene Afghanistan I’ll remind you that the Taliban will just take to the hills and begin another guerilla war.

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Afghanistan: The Media Tantrum Continues

Image via learnin.grow.com

The MSM continues to pitch a fit about something that’s going about as well possible: the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. A retreat by a losing army is always chaotic. Repeat after me: our side lost the war.

As of this writing, over 80,000 people have been airlifted out of Kabul.

Thus far, there have been no American casualties since the Afghan government collapsed. None, zero, zilch.

The MSM’s accusations that Team Biden is detached from the reality on the ground amount to projection. Someone else is into projection and pitching fits until he gets his way:

I didn’t know that Garbage Pail Kids were around in 2016. It works in 2021 as well. Topps is the top as Cole Porter would have surely said at this point.

The MSM’s creepy attachment to Trump is behind the tantrum. It’s a sick S&M relationship. During the Trump regime, the MSM were the masochists, now they’re the sadists inflicting pain on Team Biden for not being like cruel, criminal, and cretinous Trumpers. It’s all summed up in this song by The Tubes:

Ouch.

One could even call the MSM Trump fetishists.

Speaking of great music from the 1970’s, this Kinks song sung from the perspective of a twisted headmaster who enjoys spanking students works as well.

Sometimes being old comes in handy.

I, for one, am appalled by this OTT display of displaced rage. The media’s clicks are down because the Kaiser of Chaos is no longer in office. They’ve opted to punish President Biden for something that was inevitable unless we stayed forever. Repeat after me: our side lost the war.

Don’t trust me, listen to a disabled Afghanistan veteran, Dan Berschinski:

When the twin towers fell, I was a high school senior deep in college applications. The United States Military Academy topped my list. Watching the devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, unfold, I knew the Army would be part of the response, though I figured that response would be over by the time I graduated from West Point. Never did I imagine that, eight years later, I would be leading soldiers in a war provoked by that one terrible day.

Yet lead them I did, across Afghanistan, witnessing horrors and enduring losses I still struggle to describe. What I saw there convinced me that the awful scenes we are now witnessing were inevitable — and that President Biden deserves credit for nonetheless braving the fallout to do the right thing by our troops.

I saw early warning signs as a U.S. Army infantry platoon leader on my first mission in Kandahar in 2009. In my very first conversation with a local, a shopkeeper told me: “Lieutenant, I met the previous American lieutenant 12 months prior, I will meet another American lieutenant in 12 months when you leave.” He did not like the Taliban, the shopkeeper told me, but it would be in Afghanistan long after I would — and so he had no choice but to deal with it.

It’s their country, not ours. It certainly doesn’t belong to the tantrum throwing American media who pine for worse times under the Impeached Insult Comedian. Think about that: they want things to be worse so they can have higher ratings and more clicks.

Even some of the military brass who oversaw our Afghan misadventure have seen the light:

Then-Vice President Joe Biden was right when he urged then-President Barack Obama to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday, adding that the US could have left Afghanistan earlier.

“I thought we could turn it around, obviously, I was wrong,” Mullen, who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, told ABC News on “This Week.”

Mullen also said that the US should have withdrawn its troops after the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Who are we going to listen to: the MSM and former Bush officials or Mike Mullen?

Joe Biden was right from the start.

Being loud does not make you right. Some of us learned that from the Trump regime. The MSM has not.

We all threw tantrums when we were children. My mother would let me cry it out, especially if it was an unreasonable tantrum. That’s all we can do with this ongoing tantrum by the MSM. Unfortunately, this tantrum will have unpleasant and even dire consequences.

If only it were possible to put the MSM into a time-out. They’ve clearly lost their minds. The last word is a chill pill from Steely Dan.

The Katrina-Kabul Connection

One reason I’m feeling so cantankerous of late is that it’s August. Everyone in New Orleans gets tetchy at this time of year as the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent Federal Flood approaches. It’s been 16 years since the most important moment of my life. You might not be reading this if not for that epic disaster. It’s why I became an internet writer or blogger as we used to call ourselves.

I’m struck by the similarity of the MSM’s coverage of Katrina’s aftermath and the collapse of the Afghan government. The words that come to mind are shrill, hyperbolic, and over the top. To watch CNN after the storm was to believe there was widespread looting, arson, and mayhem. The looped footage typically included people clinging to rooftops, stealing teevees, and images of the Beer Looter Dude. Over and over again.

In August and September of 2005, the MSM floated unsupported rumors of murders at evacuation sites such as the Super Dome and Convention Center. Over and over again.

I recall watching a reporter do a standup in front of some burning houses and proclaiming that the “Garden District is on fire.” It was not. The burning houses were on Napoleon Avenue, which is not in the Garden District. The looped footage and misattribution continued. Over and over again.

There *was* chaos in New Orleans after Katrina and the Federal Flood but it was not as widespread as the MSM coverage would have you believe. That coverage inspired my skepticism of all on-the-fly live reporting from a disaster area or war zone.

In 2021, the MSM is whipping up hysteria over events in Afghanistan by looping footage of children being lifted over razor wire and desperate people hanging onto airplanes. Over and over again.

There *is* some chaos after the fall of Kabul. Losing armies tend to collapse at the end of a losing war. Make no mistake about it: the side we backed lost this war. Much of the MSM, however, seems disinterested in reporting items such as this:

As always, Chris Wallace is willing to sail against the prevailing winds of his own network.

As for the lemmings of the MSM, they prefer headlines like the “Calamity Plane” headline in the feature image. It’s a good pun but an inaccurate headline.

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Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – shart-term memory loss edition

Ok people – let’s get suited up and hit the airlock, shall we?

Of course, the Freeperati have been flooding the site with hundreds of posts about Afghanistan, and Joey B. Shark’s cowardice in cutting and running from the country that has (so far) crushed five different countries’ efforts to control it.

That is now.

This was then:

Donald Trump pulls two thousand troops out of Iraq and plans drawdown in Afghanistan in days amid bust-up with top commanders he accused of going to war to enrich defense contractors
Daily Mail ^ | 09/09/2020 | By NIKKI SCHWAB, SENIOR U.S. POLITICAL REPORTER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted on 9/9/2020, 1:59:35 PM by SeekAndFind

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that more than 2,000 troops will be withdrawn from Iraq and the administration is looking to announce a drawdown in Afghanistan in coming days.

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said the reduction will go from about 5,200 troops in Iraq to 3,000 and happen this month, which he said will ‘allow us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq,’ according to CNN.

Reporters first caught wind of the president’s plan when a senior administration official discussed it with the press pool on Air Force One Tuesday night – and did so on the condition of anonymity.

The planned announcements come as the president has been trying to make the case that he has fulfilled the promises he made four years ago as he tries to secure a second term. Among them: pulling the U.S. out of ‘endless wars.’

1 posted on 9/9/2020, 1:59:35 PM by SeekAndFind
To: SeekAndFind

It’s hilarious when liberals get mad at Trump for not waging war.

5 posted on 9/9/2020, 2:04:51 PM by cdcdawg (Biden has dementia.)

Isn’t it just?

Also :

McConnell warns Trump against troop drawdown in Afghanistan
The Hill ^ | 11/16/2020 | Jordain Carney

Posted on 11/16/2020, 3:35:42 PM by lodi90

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fired a warning shot Monday against withdrawing more U.S. troops from Afghanistan, even as the Pentagon is preparing an order to do so.

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, warned that only a “small minority” in Congress would support a rapid drawdown and warned that a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan “would hurt our allies and delight, delight, the people who wish us harm.”

“The consequences of a premature American exit would likely be even worse than President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq back in 2011. … It would be reminiscent of the humiliating American departure from Saigon in 1975. We’d be abandoning our partners in Afghanistan,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

**************************************************

The GOP Majority Leader compares POTUS to Obama and the Fall of Saigon?

 

If anybody was wondering which team McConnell plays for here is your answer. It certainly is not Team USA.

1 posted on 11/16/2020, 3:35:42 PM by lodi90

To: lodi90

It’s been 17 f***ing years there’s nothing premature about leaving now.

2 posted on 11/16/2020, 3:36:36 PM by mrmeyer (You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him. Robert Heinlein)

To: lodi90

What kinda stupid do you have to be to call pulling troops out of a 17 year no-victory quagmire a “ hasty withdrawal?

13 posted on 11/16/2020, 3:47:33 PM by silverleaf (Age Takes a Toll: Please Have Exact Change.)

“Free Republic” stupid?
To: lodi90

Tell him sure Mitch and then after January reelection inauguration tell him to go f*ck himself

43 posted on 11/16/2020, 4:46:58 PM by Mr. K (No consequence of repealing obamacare is worse than obamacare itself)

Do you want to tell him, or shall I?

Anyway, I don’t have (or want) to show you the hundreds of posts from the last week castigating President Biden as a coward for getting us out of Afghanistan.

These mental defectives have the long-term memory of an avocado plant. Or a dog.

.

More below the fold :

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The Last Sane Person On Cable News

I’ve been harshly critical of the MSM’s coverage of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan here, here, and here. Cable news has been particularly shrill and sensational. They’re up to their old trick of looping footage. In this case of the woman handing a child over barbed wire at the Kabul airport. It’s given me Katrina coverage flashbacks. I’ll have more about that next week.

The coverage has largely ignored the three Americans most responsible for bogging us down in this 20-year quagmire: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. They started the war, then moved on to another disaster: Iraq.

Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo deserve their share of the blame. They strengthened the Taliban and pressured the Pakistanis to release the man who now is the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar,

Joe Biden is taking all the blame. He agrees that the buck stops with him but, he issued the order, and the military was in charge of implementing the withdrawal. There’s lots of blame to go around.

In the end, we were on the losing side of a 40+ year civil war. There’s no tidy way to exit as those of us old enough to have lived through the fall of Saigon know first-hand.

That brings me to the last sane person on cable news: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.  As his colleagues have overdramatized events in Afghanistan by focusing on the trees, not the forest. Lawrence has kept his eye on the big picture.

(The post title is, of course, my version of the hyperbole being peddled by an overwrought MSM. Nothing wrong with a bit of hyperbole among friends.)

Last night, Lawrence opened The Last Word with a brilliant essay about the withdrawal.  I quote extensively from it after the break.

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The Ne(x)t War

Hacker at Computer

Everyone here at First Draft has been expounding on the events in Afghanistan this past week or so. If, dear reader, you are so inclined (and I highly recommend it) take a look at Cassandra’s post or Adrastos or my brother Michael, Michael F. All are excellent reads worthy of your time.

I am, like President Joey B. Shark, moving on.

I want to talk about the next war, mostly because it’s already underway.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are nearly constant attacks against Western citizens and companies via the internet. Just today T-Mobile had to admit they had been hacked to the tune of 40 million people having their personal info, including addresses and Social Security numbers, stolen. But they are not the only ones and are far from being the first. Hell, go back far enough and you might discover that this war has been going on longer than the one in Afghanistan.

And it’s not going to end any time soon.

One of the problems is that we first have to admit that it IS a war. You may think that these hacks are being done by some Incel in his parent’s basement as Donald Trump claimed about the DNC hack, but I’m here to tell you it’s pretty obvious that backdoor cyber attacks by individuals or even groups of non governmental individuals are unlikely. Contrary to the myth Hollywood has created, little Matthew Broderick can’t hack into NORAD from his Commodore 64. Nor can any of the individuals, fictional or not, who have tried to ransomware a hacked system. They may have started out as lone wolves, but as the targets became more complicated the individual pirate became a band of pirates and then, just like England in the age of Elizabeth, the pirates went to work for governments. These attacks are coming from well funded government led operations, the kind that, were they in the physical world, would be called guerilla warfare. So first we have to come to the realization that we are in a war and call it that, not cybercrime.

Power grids get hacked. Military computers get hacked. The systems controlling air traffic and even traffic lights get hacked. Elections get hacked. As Deep Throat would say (no not “follow the money”) who benefits? You are talking about a gradual even long term series of attacks on various but vital aspects of everyday life in the West. Tell me, what would cause more deaths, the bombing of one building or the sudden take down of the air traffic control system? 3000 people versus who knows how many of the average of 1.2 million people on flights at any given moment? Think about this, even the most Luddite, living off the grid, burying their money in cans out in the backyard, Survivalist nut case still has to drive a car. That becomes more difficult with no gas because the pipelines have been shut down and more dangerous because the traffic lights are completely turned off. Everyone would be affected. If you wanted to bring rioting and civil unrest to a country this would be the modern way of doing it. Especially if you have a coordinated fifth column of citizens living in the country who would be welcoming the arrival of your “peacekeepers” with rose petals and open arms, all covered live by their favorite faux news network.

Not to mention if you add in a natural disaster like an earthquake or an unchecked forest fire or a pandemic you could bring an entire nation to it’s knees without firing a single shot.

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Righteous Indigination

I’ve been angry all week. It’s not the ranting, raving, and yelling kind of anger. It’s more of a slow burn over the egregious stupidity and malakatude in the news. I dislike feeling this angry, I prefer to be detached from the news of the day, ice it down with sarcasm, and dismiss it with mockery. I used to compare my style with Athenae’s by calling her fire and me ice. I’m feeling fiery this week, but at least it’s with righteous indignation.

I remain vexed and worse by the MSM coverage of Afghanistan:

In its desperation to nail Biden, the DC MSM has neglected to mention the creeps who got us into the Afghan mess:

Cable news is full of former Bush officials attacking the withdrawal. The worst are the Never Trumpers who are showing their true colors by waving their neo-con freak flags. Imagine if Biden had stayed with the small force bequeathed to him by Trump. The Taliban was still likely to make their move and 2,500 soldiers could not have defeated them. That would have led to a genuine bloodbath.

Speaking of former President* Pennywise, there’s a conspiracy theory that he set a trap for Biden with last year’s deal with the Taliban. While it may have turned into a trap, I’m skeptical that it was planned. For one thing, Trump never looks more than a week down the road. For another, he expected to win the election and still believes he did. I think he could pass a polygraph test about the “rigged election.” Believe me.

One more tweet from someone else on how Democrats *should* be reacting:

I for one refuse to give an inch and be reasonable. Any withdrawal was going to be messy. It’s what happens when you lose a war.

Stick to your guns, Mr. President. The war was wrong to begin with. It’s time for it to end.

Also inspiring my righteous indignation are the Covid deniers and mask warriors. Anyone surprised?

Freedom, man.

Yesterday, a friend reported about going to his local CVS. It was jam packed with people buying a new home COVID test in order to comply with the city’s vaccination/test mandate. The tests are five bucks a pop and only valid for 72 hours. It would be much easier and cheaper to get jabbed but that would violate their rights or some such shit.

Freedom, man.

I wrote about wingnut preacher Tony Spell for Bayou Brief last year. He flooded a state education board meeting with his unmasked parishioners forcing them to stop debating whether or not school kids should mask up. Governor Edwards thinks so and so do all rational people. Freedom. man.

We’re all sick and tired of being sick and tired of the anti-mask and anti-vaxx crowd. The burden of everything COVID related is being placed on those of us doing the right thing. I hate wearing a mask, but I do it. Adults do things they don’t like because they’re the right thing to do. Something the Covid deniers will never understand. Hence my righteous indignation.

Freedom, man.

The last word goes to Ron Sexsmith with a song whose title is a play on the word indignation.

 I Won’t Forget

Our fearless leader has written 2 thorough and excellent pieces about the Afghanistan War and how we got where we are. If you haven’t read them, please do:  here and here. I have some thoughts, too.

There sure are a lot of familiar faces on the TeeVee over the last few days, blathering on about Afghanistan and tut-tutting over President Biden’s decision to get the hell out of, well, hell. They seem to think they have a blank slate for selling their snake oil. Well, I remember who they are and what they did.

In 1990, Iraq annexed Kuwait and we were supposed to feel it was justified because Kuwaiti women weren’t allowed to drive. Hey, it was going to be awesome! The US was going to beat back these sexist bullies and Kuwaiti women would be able to drive!

In reality there was no reason for the US to go to war with Iraq. But there was plenty of incentive for the Saudi-loving Bush family to protect their monster friends’ oilfields which were close enough for the invading Iraq army to take over. And so the propaganda machine took over. A DC public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, funded by the Kuwaiti government, began pumping out disinformation to convince Congress to authorize war.

The nadir of the lying was the Congressional testimony of a nurse who said she saw Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators and throw them on the floor. This was all it took to convince Congress to go to war. The truth was that she was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family lying and playing a role. But the damage was done.

George H.W. Bush set a deadline of midnight January 16, 1991 for US demands to be met. On the evening of January 16 I attended an interfaith peace service at National Cathedral that culminated in a silent candlelit protest walk to the White House. Houses along Massachusetts Avenue had candles in their windows, and residents stood in their front yards holding candles in solidarity. Of course it didn’t work. But I won’t forget what happened.

The Iraq War was advanced by even more egregious lies and a news media drunk on ratings. Taking their cue from CNN’s non-stop coverage of the Gulf War, this time all of the networks threw in big time. And the Republicans had upped their propaganda approach:  instead of a Kuwaiti royal playacting to tug on the heartstrings of unsophisticated rubes, this time the government made sure reporters got to go play soldier, complete with flak jackets and Jeep rides with the troops. War was exciting! There were big guns!

I didn’t buy any of it. Just like in 1991, I wholly opposed this war because it was all fake news. I took a lot of crap for telling the truth then but the Iraq War was wrong. It was founded on lies related to the 9/11 attacks and it was sustained by media outlets who put profit over truth. And eventually the whole house of cards collapsed.

Now that Biden has taken the steps to end 30 fucking years of wars built on lies, fought by other people’s sons and daughters and designed to make money for people who are already obscenely wealthy, all sorts of stuck pigs are squealing. A bunch of cowards who won’t make their names public are whispering to reporters at the outlets that are the most complicit in repeating the propaganda of rich people with power—CNN, Politico, Axios—about how it’s not their fault. Multiple sources looking to cover their asses after they put their fingerprints all over the Afghanistan fiasco are now bleating self-interested lies to organizations that love to uncritically print pre-digested GOP talking points.

People who perpetuate lies are always angry when their lies are uncovered and they will scramble to drown out the truth by making more noise. I’ll let Jack Mirkinson have the last paragraph as he excoriates some of the worst people liberals made heroes by not thinking critically enough during the Trump years:

But too many in our media cannot seem to admit this, and too many outlets are rolling out the red carpet for the usual gallery of unrepentant hawks. In the Washington Post, Max Boot called the withdrawal “the worst U.S. foreign policy failure since the fall of Saigon in 1975,” which would be news to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Iraq War, and wondered (yet again) why the U.S. couldn’t just keep troops in Afghanistan forever. NPR decided it was a good idea to ask John Bolton what he thought. In the Atlantic, Tom Nichols told readers, “Afghanistan is your fault,” castigating the American people for demanding an end to the war:

Biden was right, in the end, to bite the bullet and refuse to pass this conflict on to yet another president. His execution of this resolve, however, looks to be a tragic and shameful mess and will likely be a case study in policy schools for years to come. But there was no version of “Stop the forever war” that didn’t end with the fall of Kabul. We believed otherwise, as a nation, because we wanted to believe it. And because we had shopping to do and television to watch and arguments to be had on social media.

So Biden was right to end the war but Americans are still the villains because we care about shopping. Makes sense. Maybe what is happening is the fault of the people who have presided over this calamity for 20 years?

The last word goes to Depeche Mode:

Another Bright Shining Lie

I’ve often written that Watergate was my formative political experience. I hereby amend that to primary formative political experience. Recent events have reminded me that the Vietnam War also shaped my worldview. It’s the ultimate cautionary tale: wars should only be fought in the national interest and should not be entered into lightly. That was the original sin of the Afghanistan War: we intervened in a hurry without thinking things through. The bill finally came due in 2021.

My family was divided during the Vietnam conflict. My father was a hawk. My mother was a dove. She wasn’t crazy about the hippie protestors as they offended her Scandinavian sense of order and decorum, but she still quietly supported the anti-warriors.

I recall a fierce argument between my parents over one of mom’s bridge playing buddies. Betty was a Quaker and a pacifist. She strenuously objected to all wars but once Richard Nixon, who was raised a Quaker, was president she became an anti-war activist because of his blatant hypocrisy.

My memory is hazy, but I recall that Betty and her fellow Friends staged a sit-in at a military installation somewhere in the Bay Area. They were arrested. Betty was the spokesperson for the group and appeared on the local news. My father thought this was a bridge too far and demanded that my mother bar Betty from their home. He argued that it would be bad for her real estate business to associate with a radical peacenik. Mom stood her ground and refused to go along. Her dovish hippie wannabe son was proud of her.

That brings me to the post title. Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell opened The Last Word with a segment comparing Vietnam and Afghanistan. He lamented that his dream guests, David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan were no longer alive. They wrote the best two books about the American misadventure in Vietnam. Sheehan’s book, A Bright Shining Lie inspired the title of this post. I only steal from the best.

A Bright Shining Lie told the story of American counter-insurgency guru John Paul Vann who was a true believer in the Vietnam mission. Vann loved the country and its people and became frustrated with the military brass who saw them as pieces to be moved around as if in a game of Risk. Hence the featured image.

The bright shining lie told to the American people during Vietnam was that the war was winnable and worth the sacrifice. The same lies were repeated by the Bush-Cheney administration and their supporters in the media about Afghanistan and Iraq. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Washington Post and New York Times became cheerleaders and apologists for Team Bush’s mendacious war effort. The past is prologue as both news organizations dusted off their pom-poms and went into action over the Afghanistan mishigas without, of course, mentioning their complicity in the initiation of our endless wars. Why ruin a sensational story with the facts?

The collapse of the Afghan government and army confirms the truth of a phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “”Events are in the saddle and ride mankind.”

That’s truer now than in Emerson’s day. They didn’t have to deal with hot takes on the Tweeter Tube.

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The Inevitable Ending

19th Century Map Of Afghanistan.

The images from Afghanistan are terrible as is the media coverage. The MSM is venting its pent-up anger at the Biden administration for being dull and not as much fun to cover as the Trump regime. I wish I were making this up, but I am not.

I used a 19th Century map of Afghanistan to illustrate the folly of nation building in such a mountainous and primitive nation. The US is merely the latest foreign power to fail in Afghanistan. The British Empire and Tsarist Russia played the so-called Great Game over it for nearly a century; neither prevailed. In the 20th Century, the Soviet Union destroyed itself in its failed attempt to prop up an unpopular Communist government in Afghanistan.

As a history buff, I was always dubious of the American adventure in Afghanistan. It began as an exercise in revenge against Osama Bin Laden that morphed into nation building. It was mission creep at its creepiest.

History also teaches us that the most passionate side usually wins a Civil War. The late Afghan government resembled that of South Vietnam before the fall. It was corrupt, incompetent, and did not control most of the country. In both cases, American blood, treasure, and wishful thinking propped up feeble regimes. When that support was pulled, collapse was inevitable.

I am shocked that people are so shocked. A happy ending was never possible in Afghanistan. The only alternative was to muddle through as we had for the last 20 years. Were we supposed to keep doing the same thing for another 20 years? 50 years? A century?

President Obama was elected on a pledge to end the endless wars. He delivered in Iraq, but the chances of a Ba’ath Party restoration were slim. He was rolled by the military over an Afghan withdrawal because the Taliban were in the mountains shooting at the government. The Taliban are genuinely evil, BUT there are always rebels in the mountains shooting at the government in Afghanistan.

Joe Biden was among those on Team Obama who wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan early on. He had always doubted the wisdom of nation building in a tribal society, but lost that argument to Bob Gates, Hillary Clinton, and the military.

President Biden made the right decision 6 weeks ago. It was based on the best-case scenario: that the government could at least hold Kabul. Instead, the worst-case scenario, a rapid Taliban takeover has occurred. That illustrates the failure of 20 years of nation building, not an “intelligence failure.” Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Biden should stick to his guns.

I heard Biden described as “naive” to withdraw from Afghanistan. Wrong. This was a cold-blooded, clear-eyed example of realpolitik. It *may* have served the national interest to be there 20 years ago, but the world has changed. This tragic ending was inevitable. The only way it could have been altered was to continue what Gore Vidal called “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”

Washington insiders are doing what they do best: playing the blame game. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but it was hubris to assume that the United States could succeed at something that every other great power had failed at. That was our approach in Vietnam, but we tried it again in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re slow learners.

Both the blame game and the great game are exercises in futility, folly, and failure.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren’s Utopia:

The Past Isn’t Even Past

Fuck Jeb and his entire family sideways with a rake: 

“I won’t talk about the past,” Bush said on Friday when a reporter asked him about an upcoming foreign policy speech in Chicago, according to Bloomberg Politics. “I’ll talk about the future. If I’m in the process of considering the possibility of running, it’s not about re-litigating anything in the past. It’s about trying to create a set of ideas and principles that will help us move forward.”

The past. Because nobody died today.  Nobody will die tomorrow. It’s the past.

You sick bastard. The bombs and guns and bullets your brother sent over there are still killing people every single day. The soldiers who come home are still dying, years later, some by inches and some by their own hands. And the politics you people poisoned are still burning through this country’s veins, and the way I know that is that you are showing your face in public and no one is throwing rotten fruit.

The past. How nice it must be to be able to shrug it off like that. How nice it must be to wake up free of nightmares, with all your limbs attached. How nice it must be to sleep beside your wife and children, all of whom are alive, beneath a roof without holes in it, in a house with running water, without fear of being fucking BEHEADED by the monsters your actions loosed. It’s the past, for you. How nice. How peaceful. How normal.

How convenient, you fucking horror show. How easy. How small. How mean.

A.

 

Fear Itself

Athenae and I rarely post about the same thing on the same day. It's that time again. The whole Bowe Bergdahl incident seems to be the apogee of Obama Derangement Syndrome. The GOP reaction is OTT, incoherent, and sadly predictable. Once again, they're confused as to whether the President is a power mad dictator or a weakling. You really can't have it both ways but making sense has never been high on the neo-cons agenda. Fear mongering is and I wish the stupid mongerfuckers would monger something else…

Here's the deal. It's apparently strong and resolute when Ronald Reagan and Oliver North TRADE ARMS FOR HOSTAGES but when President Obama executes a prisoner swap, it's evil, evil chile. Prisoner exchanges are routine, and Bergdahl is the last American POW in Afghanistan. We don't leave our people behind when we withdraw from a country. You would think that Senator McCain would get that but as Charlie Pierce put it earlier today:

Having already draped himself in a toga, McCain's response to the Obama administration has been both petulant and imperious, a small boy commanding an army of butterflies. This is most recently illustrated in his response to the deal cut by the administration to arrange the release of Bowe Bergdahl from captivity. The conservative chorus of opposition to the deal is a lovely harmonic convergence of complete hypocrisy and profound historical amnesia on the always delightful topic of "negotiating with terrorists." IA's official arms conduit to the Contras, on a shipment of weapons — and the scandal moved off in other directions, including selling missiles to Iran for the purposes of raising money for the Contras.

The thing that I find most irksome is that the whole controversy is over FIVE BEARDED GUYS. That's right, five beardos have been released and Senator Walnuts is making like Chicken Little. I was raised to think that we were the land of the free and the home of the brave, not a country that cowered when 5 guys who were held as enemy combatants are traded for an American serviceman. Does McCain even listen to himself any more? I'd rather listen to our greatest Democratic President who told us that, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."

Of course, FDR was accused of being simultaneously a dictator and weakling too. Neo-conservative war mongers like John McCain should get a grip and stop trying to scare us to death. The aughties are over and your policies failed ,so STFU and go away already. I know that won't happen, but I am sick and tired of listening to their fear mongering, which is merely a reflection of their own scaredy cattedness. Is that a word? If not, it oughta be.

I'll give the Finn Brothers the last word, since unlike the GOP and perhaps even me in this post, they're only talking sense:

 

What is it with Neil Finn and tongues? "Seal my fate I get your tongue in the mail." I don't know about you but I've never gotten a tongue in the mail. I have eaten the odd tongue sammich though. A bit too chewy for my taste…

That is, finally, all.

McCain: All Those Wars I Supported Are Not Any Fun Anymore

It’s almost like spending a decade destablizing the Middle East had the effect of destabilizing it, you guys;

“It was a coup and it was the second time in two-and-a-half years that we have seen the military step in. It’s a strong indicator of the lack of American leadership and influence since we’ve urged the military not to do that,” McCain said Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation,”according to Politico. “The place is descending into chaos but so is the entire Middle East because of the total vacuum and lack of American leadership…Whether it be the massacres in Syria; Lebanon is beset by sectarian violence; Jordan is about to collapse under the weight of refugees; Iraq is unraveling; Afghanistan — we’re having grave problems organizing a follow on force in Afghanistan.”

So what exactly kind of “American leadership” should have been provided, John McCain?

“Their economy is in terrible shape thanks to their policies but the fact is the United States should not be supporting this coup and it’s a tough call.”

Well, that clears that right up. What a goddamn choad. I seriously have no patience for these people, who long for some golden age when all America had to do was raise a national eyebrow and everybody behaved. You know, like in the 70s … I mean the 80s … I mean the 90s … I mean god damn it, everybody listen to John McCain!

When exactly did “American leadership” command the kind of instaneous obedience that John McCain is imagining it will here? When were we NOT facepalming all over the state department at the way somebody in that region was behaving? When was this paradise of bending to our will, and how exactly are we supposed to re-enact it now that everybody hates us due to us blowing up large portions of several countries and refusing to admit that that sucked?

If only we’d made the Iraqis build that statue of George W. Bush. That would have solved everything.

A.

Codetalkers

This:

The only people who find Alinsky’s writings radical are the Haves, because it suggests that the Have Nots have the power to equalize the system a little more. That’s a scary concept for the one percent for which the GOP is entirely dedicated. But unlike former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman in the clip above, I do think this resonates with those Republican voters notorious for voting against their own interests. Because not one of them will bother to get informed on Alinsky. Not one of them will bother to do any critical thinking but simply categorize Alinsky as one of those nefarious bad things from which to be frightened or suspicious of the liberal agenda.

I don’t actually think any of them will even HEAR Alinsky and be curious. I’d like to see polling done on Alinsky the way it’s done on political candidates for name recognition measurement, and find out, among the Republicans who just vote Republican because their hairdresser gives them the political news, how many of them even know who the hell he is.

And this:

Listening to this, I’m struck by one thing: if Newt is the candidate, he’s going to drive the discussion into all the nooks and crannies of noise and diversion that have occupied Fox News viewers since Obama’s victory. In other words, Newt is the candidate of the 2009 media cycle, where the Tea Party dominated media coverage.

Which goes back to something I’ve been talking about basically since 2008: NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THIS CRAP BUT OTHER CRAZY PEOPLE. Alinsky-an community organizaing tactics and socialist death panels and all this other Glenn Beck nonsense is just noise to your average Republican. This is too advanced for them. The War on Christmas, communist re-education camps, fascist light-bulb replacement and other Tea Party articles of faith sound just as crazy to mildly racist “independent” voters as they do to us.

Those nice white middle-class people are listening for code language, of course, but it’s “school choice” and “teachers’ unions” and “entitlement programs” and “parental responsibility” and “moral values” and “I don’t want to have to explain this to my children.” The old young bucks bying T-bone steaks thing, and why women need to have all these choices anyway. Maybe some vague intimations about how organic food is homosexual and no one should force you to eat it. A comment here or there about how Michelle Obama doesn’t know her place. Unless they’re the 27 percent parked in front of Fox all day, you ask any ten Republicans who Saul Alinsky is and they’ll probably ask if he’s an actor or an American Idol contestant.

(I didn’t know who he was until Republicans started boring on about him. Because there is a limited amount of space in my head for stuff that is not, at the moment, actively on fire.)

That’s not to say that 27 percent of Americans who are bugfuck crazy is an insignificant number, but it’s really not worth getting worked up about. The other 30 percent who are looking at the numbers and on average voting for the guy they think will punish black people, gay people and chicks for wanting their legal rights worry me far more.

A.

What Happens

A “litmus test” on Afghanistan:

Reaction to the Time cover has become something of an Internet litmus
test about attitudes toward the war, and what America’s responsibility
is in Afghanistan. Critics of the American presence in Afghanistan call
it “emotional blackmail” and even “war porn,” while those who fear the
consequences of abandoning Afghanistan see it as a powerful appeal to
conscience.

The debate was fueled in part by the language that
Time chose to accompany the photograph: “What Happens if We Leave
Afghanistan,” pointedly without a question mark.

That is exactly
what will happen,” said Manizha Naderi, referring to Aisha and cases
like hers. An Afghan-American whose group, Women for Afghan Women, runs
the shelter where Aisha stayed, Ms. Naderi said, “People need to see
this and know what the cost will be to abandon this country.”

As
Ms. Naderi would be the first to concede, however, things are already
bad enough for women in Afghanistan without a return to a government
run by the Taliban.

So far, we’ve already abandoned that country twice. Once, when we held a little useless proxy war there and used it to get our national rocks off and then fucked off and left it, and twice, when our glorious War Preznit decided Iraq would be way more fun to blow up becauseit just would so shut up. So to act like now, now we’re going to huff off into the sunset and that will be somethingnew for us is just stupid. Afghanistan and its people have had plenty of practice being abandoned by us (and by other countries whose examples of nation-building ADD we failed to heed).

I said during the campaign and I said when Obama announced his Afghanistan troop increase that everybody was looking for a way out of Afghanistan that didn’t make us the asshole. That didn’t make us the latest in a long line of countries that came in with great speeches and big guns and slouched out with a halfhearted “sorry we blew some of your relatives up, guys, our bad” parade. All we’re doing now is trying to find something to drape some bunting over, to find a way to say, no, we’re notthose douchebags, we’re a good country and we did this better than everybody else did.

It’s a desperate search for pundit-meaning, a way to make David Brooks and David Broder feel good about themselves, a way for Joe Klein to write columns that don’t make him feel like a dirty, anti-military, America-hating hippie. It’s a way for Obama and his advisors to say they unfucked the dog George W. Bush fucked, did the warright, and made everything better. It’s a passion play for the benefit of the American people, and I would be a little more tolerant of it as a piece of masturbatory theater if the benefit to our national psyche wasn’t offset by LOTS AND LOTS OF DEAD PEOPLE.

I’m not discounting the plight of women in Afghanistan. Plenty of DFHs were all about kicking Taliban ass long before 9/11 focused the rest of the world on how much things fucking sucked over there. But I have a major problem fetishizing one particular group of women when a staggering portion of the world treats women like dogs or worse and does so without Time magazine using the victims of religious and political violence as arguments for prolonging war. We can hold in our minds at once the concept that what happened to Bibi Aisha is cruel and horrible, and that it does not obligate us to continue to wage a war that didn’t stop her mutilation in the first place.

There’s no “litmus test” here.

A.

—–

Happy Kerry Photo: Suck It Up Edition

2004_going_upriver_the_long_war_of_john_kerry_001

Seriously:

“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious
questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and
Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents
may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to
get the policy right more urgent.”

And to peoplewhining who should know better:

“The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified
information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives
of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national
security,” National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones said in a
statement. “Wikileaks made no effort to contact us about these
documents – the United States government learned from news
organizations that these documents would be posted.”

Oh, God Almighty, calm down. Your president got elected on the premise that the war was fucked up and he’d have to unfuck it. It’s not like you didn’t know this stuff. And to be allI do declare Miss Scarlett about the rest of the American public getting to know this stuff strains credulity and moves the focus from what could have been, “Yeah, this is why you elected us, to fix this shit” to “no no no no bad journalism!” is just amateurish. Anyone paying attention knows how this works.

Surprise us, wouldja, and for once deal with the substance instead of the bunting it’s wrapped in?

A.

—–

Only Talking Sense

Holy crap, someone in Washington is talking sense about Afghanistan albeit off the record and to the British press:

The White House is revising itsAfghanistan strategy to embrace the idea of negotiating with senior members of theTaliban through third parties – a policy to which it had previously been lukewarm.

Negotiating
with the Taliban has long been advocated by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan
president, and the British and Pakistani governments, but resisted by
Washington.

The Guardian has learned that while the American
government is still officially resistant to the idea of talks with
Taliban leaders, behind the scenes a shift is under way and Washington
is encouraging Karzai to take a lead in such negotiations.

“There
is a change of mindset in DC,” a senior official in Washington said.
“There is no military solution. That means you have to find something
else. There was something missing.”

That missing element was talks with the Taliban leadership, the official added.

The
American rethink comes in the aftermath of the departure last month of
General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan.

Barack
Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded
his national security advisers that while he was on the election
campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America’s enemies.

It’s about frakking time. That war is clearly unwinnable in the classic sense: the best that can be hoped for is that the Taliban won’t overrun the country. No central Afghan government has ever controlled the entire country and none ever will, it’s topographically impossible. Geography is destiny: there will be always be rebels in the hills shooting down at the government in places like Colombia and Afghanistan.

I’m glad that Obama is reviving his strongly stated campaign position that to make peace anywhere in the world one must talk to one’s adversaries. One reason the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is all process and no peace is that both sides want to dictate who they’ll negotiate with. You cannot pick your negotiating partners. If Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern and the loyalists and nationalists were able to end the Troubles in Northern Ireland, anything is possible. Northern Ireland should have been Blair’s legacy BUT unfortunately for all concerned Iraq defined his government.

British Prime Minister David (Call me Dave) Cameron will be meeting with Obama this week and will surely have his back on this point. It’s time to start winding things down in Afghanistan and if we need to use General Petraeus’ surge thingee as cover, so be it. I’m glad that after years of nonsense, tentative moves towards a more sensible policy are being made. It’s time for us to go.

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McChrystal Cracked

I’d come around to the McChrystal must go viewpoint so I’m gladit happened so quickly.Not only does he deserve to be shitcanned for mouthing off but his favorite beer is Bud Lite Lime. Holy girl drink, Batman.

On a serious note, I thought it was politically ingenious to slide Petraeus into the command slot. The wingers have expressed such unconditional love for him that it will be *harder* for them to gin up outrage over this.