Craig Whitlock’s Secret History Of The War. Continue reading Book Review: The Afghanistan Papers
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.
The MSM’s Trump fetish. Continue reading Afghanistan: The Media Tantrum Continues
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:
Just now, @SecBlinken on Afghanistan evacuations: "Last 24 hours about 8,000 people on about 60 flights evacuated from Kabul airport. Since this effort began at the end of July, about 30,000 people all told …" pic.twitter.com/jBIMunbx8Z
— The Recount (@therecount) August 22, 2021
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.
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.’
Isn’t it just?
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.
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 :
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.
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.
Freedom, man Continue reading Righteous Indigination
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 … Continue reading I Won’t Forget
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.
There are no happy endings in the Great Game. Continue reading The Inevitable Ending
The house always wins. Continue reading Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Wheel Is Fixed
But hey, we can’t afford to build roads and schools here at home, so … A. Continue reading We Threw Away Billions
Fuck Jeb and his entire family sideways with a rake: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) isn’t interested in talking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially as it relates to his brother, former President George W. Bush. “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 … Continue reading The Past Isn’t Even Past
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 … Continue reading Fear Itself
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 … Continue reading McCain: All Those Wars I Supported Are Not Any Fun Anymore
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 … Continue reading Codetalkers
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 … Continue reading What Happens
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 … Continue reading Happy Kerry Photo: Suck It Up Edition
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 … Continue reading Only Talking Sense
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. Continue reading McChrystal Cracked
General Stanley McChrystal and his staff have big mouths. They didn’t tell a reporter that stuff was off the record when they were in bars and eateries.Another fine story from Rolling Stone this time around by freelancer Michael Hastings. I’m too lazy to dig for the bullet points on my own so I’ll let the Gray Lady do the talking: A McChrystal aide is quoted saying of Mr. Holbrooke: “The Boss says he’s like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he’s going to be fired, so that makes him dangerous.” On another occasion, General McChrystal is described as … Continue reading McChrystal Blue Persuasion
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Well, I– I– I would hope I– look, it’s one thing to be outspoken. It’s another thing to be outspoken in a way that misrepresents the facts. And I– I guess– again, I– it’s almost like Dick is trying to rewrite history. I can understand where the– why that would be– you know, an impulse. And maybe he isn’t– literally, I’m not being facetious.Maybe he’s not fully informed of what’s going on. Imean, the progress we have made. There has never been as much emphasis and resources brought against Al Qaeda.The success rate exceeds anything that … Continue reading Happy Democrat photo: Once more, with context
Obama’s speech hasn’t sent me racing to the barricades to either oppose or support his policy. The best thing about the speech was its tone: somber and sober. Nobody does the two S’s as well as the President. The worst thing about the speech was the troop increase: I doubt that it will work. Foreign powers have been trying to secure the rural areas of Afghanistan for centuries and there are always rebels in the mountains shooting at them. It’s a combination of geography and culture: Afghanistan remains a largely illiterate country dominated by tribes and war lords. This is … Continue reading Ambivalent
That’s probably what set the wingnuts off: The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They have been confronted with occupation – by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes. So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand – America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we … Continue reading ‘We have no interest in occupying your country’
Well, you own it now. A. Continue reading Thirty Thousand More
In a sign of how far right the GOP has moved, legendary fantasist, liar and douchebag, Oliver North is advisingHouse Goopers on Afghanistan. I wonder if he’ll suggest sending bibles to Karzai’s brother instead of CIA lucre. I’ve *never* understood, the Ollie North cult amongst the wingnuts; especially because the Reagans *both* repudiated everything he claimed about his relationship with Ronnie. I guess the Reagan cult is like everything else on the far right: they pick what they like and disregard the rest. Sheesh… Continue reading Say What?
Hey everybody. I just got word that our care packages have safely arrived in Afghanistan! From leinie: Got this message this morning: Subject: Just thought you should know. “We have recieved those packages that was sent by your blog group. The coffee is outstanding and I dont think anyone expected to get such high end stuff in acare package. Please send my thanks to all. Thank you.” You’re all pretty great, you know. A. Continue reading Care Package Update
Obama and Afghanistan: As the cold and snow gets ready to come, there is a real sense that it’s the last best time to turn the tide against the militants. We know from today’s discussion at the White House that there is no plan to remove troops from Afghanistan, where this year President Obama has already added 21,000 soldiers. Even Vice-President Biden’s recommendation of a surgical approach against Al-Qaeda does not involve a draw down. Perhaps the number will not be 40,000 troops, but I find it hard to think that there won’t be some escalation. We might have been … Continue reading What’s the Goal?
I was JOKING about needing a forklift, but it might be useful in getting all of this to the post office: It’s hard to see under all of the everything but for the record that is 25 pounds of coffee (at least, 25 is when I stopped counting the coffee), video games, snackies, hundreds of minutes of phone time, more peanuts, animal crackers, goldfish, fancy fruit-nut mixes, handfuls of candy, card games and magazines than you can fit in six priority mail boxes. I need to pick up one, maybe two more on my way home from work. Now it … Continue reading Care Packages