The Afghan mess

Some Americans have wanted, in the worst way possible, to end our nation’s involvement in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has done exactly that, getting us out of Afghanistan in the worst way possible. Among other things, I am cynical about the timing of this mess. By the time voters are in a position to respond in any way to the events of the last several days, a lot of water will have flowed under the bridge. At that point, the President and his supporters are likely to respond to any criticism, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” And many Americans will agree with that attitude.

Twenty years ago, the United States suffered a terrorist attack from Al Qaeda, an attack that was planned by Osama bin Laden and his organization from within Afghanistan. President Bush asked the government of Afghanistan to hand over bin Laden for justice, warning that if the Taliban failed to do so, we would include them among our enemies and treat them accordingly. They failed to hand over bin Laden; we attacked and drove the Taliban out of power and into hiding. It took ten years to find bin Laden, but that operation ended successfully. We spent time trying to build a civilization in Afghanistan conforming to (what I will be calling, in my history posts) Enlightenment Values. These include the values that government belongs to the people and must respond to the people’s needs and demands, that all people are equal under the law, that all people have human rights that should be respected and protected by their government, and that education for all people should be provided—or at least respected and protected—by their government. For the most part, the Taliban does not hold those values or agree with them. In my opinion, President Bush hoped to establish governments in Afghanistan and Iraq that would maintain those values, proving that those values can exist in an Islamic culture and state. Many people would say that Bush and the United States failed to achieve those goals; others would suggest that the jury is still out on that question.

Blogger Doug reminds his readers that the United States gained valuable information about our terrorist enemies during our twenty years in Afghanistan, including (but going far beyond) information that made it possible to seize bin Laden in Pakistan. He also points out that we have spent twenty years working with the citizens of Afghanistan, building and supplying schools and other facilities, and encouraging people to respect one another. In spite of the present setback, Doug offers hope that the seeds of Enlightenment Values (as I call them) have been planted in Afghanistan and will sprout and grow, shaping the future of the nation, after the current dust has settled. We shall see.

Meanwhile, life goes on. In the short term, President Biden has lost some grass-roots support that helped him take office a few months ago. Other nations wonder if the United States has lost its willingness to protect all its allies: the Peoples’ Republic of China is eyeing Taiwan and licking its lips. President Trump and his supporters are speculating how he would have handled the reduction of American troops differently—perhaps a feint to pull out troops, followed by a swift and powerful response as the Taliban forces emerged from their holes. Perhaps that scenario would have made it possible to bring more American troops home in a better way. We shall never know.

This week, the United States has been embarrassed in the eyes of the world and of its own people. Such embarrassments have happened before. We the people will remember this week and will keep it in mind when we return to the polls for future elections. Voters are keeping personal lists of reasons not to trust or support the Biden administration and the Democratic Party. Republicans need to do more than keep lists, though—Republicans need a clear agenda of how best to serve the United States of America and its interests around the world. They also need electable leaders who will hold to that agenda during the election campaign and after they take office. This book has many chapters. Not all of them have been written yet. The future can be brighter than the present; in part, the outcome remains in our hands. J.

16 thoughts on “The Afghan mess

  1. Hey, J, long time! Hope you are well.

    I really feel for you guys. This is a horrible situation for Afghans and Americans. The way it was done seems so heartless, leaving people behind like that. So disturbing to think that that may be the value the Administration places on the lives of ordinary people. Expendable.

    Plus, does anybody else feel like Biden was set up to fail here??? This outcome was PREDICTABLE and there is no way his advisors could not have known that. It’s either that or its utter incompetence and I don’t know which is worse.

    Meanwhile in Canada…things are equally crazy though the craziness is taking somewhat different forms. Our government at all levels has gone frighteningly authoritarian on both sides of the aisle. Hubby and I have decided we don’t want to stick around to see how this all plays out. An opportunity for us to relocate to Trinidad came our way, and we are GONE! Hubby found work and a place to live (on Tobago) and leaves in just under 2 weeks. If all goes according to plan, I will be following him early in the new year.

    The social and political climate in Canada isn’t the ONLY reason we decided to go this route…but it sure played a factor in our decision.

    I may blog about our adventures if there’s any interest. I’m in love with Caribbean culture but maybe not everybody shares my level of interest 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be fascinated to hear about your adventures in the land of Trinidad and Tobago. Please do share them on WordPress.
      Biden and his administration not only knew that they would fail; they timed their failure to minimize its impact on their political future. That political calculation is, of course, disappointing and unacceptable. Those of us who vote will have to remember these things and remind others when election time is near. J.

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  2. As I observed on Doug’s post, I expect the Taliban to start dealing with its enemies once the leadership establishes firm control over its own ranks. Given the the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and the USA pullout, my guess is that many of the Taliban are new guys who just grabbed a gun and got together with some of the neighbors to fight for the Taliban. That kind of undisciplined force is too unpredictable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is.. very much so. It’s a hodge-podge collection of misfits, and there’s very little command and control to communicate to them. But I am not sure they are the immediate problem at the moment. It’s the unstable situation caused by splinter groups, and ISISK with their hatred of both America and the Taliban, in their ability and desire to just kill people at random with bombs and weapons. In so many ways this will get worse in the days/weeks ahead. As I said somewhere before, I fully expect a plane or two full of people to come crashing down before all this ends.. whether intentionally or by accident. There’s lots of nasty video to come… and deaths all around to up the ante.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Doug

        That’s a realistic assessment. However, I suspect the Taliban won’t like other groups on its turf.

        Where we differ is I think Biden needs to be replaced and pronto. He is too incompetent. The headache is that Harris probably won’t do any better. 😖

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      • Again, as I mentioned earlier somewhere, we can have all the investigations and commissions we want to hell and back.. and toss people out of office or in jail after all this. Now we concentrate on getting them out. Right or wrong.. Biden has gotten 30,000 out of there to date with no direct loss of life, certainly no Americans. Our people are making great strides over there to meet this crisis at the 11th hour. If you weren’t so consumed with wanting Trump and his minions back in office you might be a little proud at our ability to be the only country in the world that has a slight chance of pulling something off here.

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      • Meanwhile, the “orderly evacuation” argument that was floated by Biden supporters over the weekend has all the potency of a lead balloon. Failure is failure–painting bright colors and a smiley face on it won’t change its true nature. J.

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      • “Failure” is relative. In effect, it all ain’t over until the fat lady sings. I think I mentioned before.. so far it’s up to 37,000 evacuated and no loss of American lives… with only a few crowd-crushing, accidental, terrorist gunfire, misc Afghan deaths. Biden might have authorized all this, but it’s a dedicated military and State people and GMO people and now the airlines are ponying up.,in-country making this work so far. For sure this will all get worse as I fully expect terrorist activity in the crowds. As Aug. 31 get closer with no extension you can be sure the crowds at the airport will get far worse.

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    • So much remains to be learned from this situation–and, first, about this situation. My set of history blogs is well behind schedule, and I don’t know when I will reach the Cold War and related issues. But our leaders made a serious miscalculation when they faced the Muslim world after World War II thinking that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” We are still paying for miscalculations made under that assumption back in the 1970s and 1980s. J.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Salvageable

        Well, there is a fellow who said that nations don’t have friends; they have interests. Muslim nations took the side of the Nazis. They appeared to take our side during the Cold War when it suited the interests of their leaders.

        Our problem, I think, is that we did not always understand our own interests.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that we need remain positive and that we still have a voice in the next election, but we’ve also become so suspicious of those already in public office, we can’t even be sure about that. I will continue to pray for our nation and even though it looks like we’re in for more of the same, I am confident that God has a plan for all this.

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  4. I can certainly agree with your call to the GOP to get a proper lined up agenda to best carry the nation forward. I’d extend that to the Dems as well, in spite of the fact as they have a far amount of internal discontent. Nice optimism.

    Liked by 1 person

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