Indeed, I have seen this movie before. Only it was helicopters lifting off the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon, after a war which didn’t drag on for nearly as long as the hamfisted, ill-advised and ultimately disastrous attempt by an assortment of venial careerists in the DOD and State Department to make a functional country out of an Islamist-ridden tribal hellhole like Afghanistan. Now, it’s grossly overloaded airplanes and mobs in Kabul, Afghanistan. The suspicion now is that those high-ranking idiots, exemplified by General Milley and his boss at the head of the DOD, former General Austin didn’t really believe in that stated mission, they just wanted to ensure that the gravy-train went humming along; pots and pots of boodle for their pet projects, a nice pension, and a profitable post-retirement gig as a member of the board of whatever, or a nice gig as a media commenter. Oh, and instead of dealing realistically and honestly with Afghanistan – a 7th century quarrel with borders, a fact which has been freely acknowledged for decades, if not centuries – these shoulder-starred geniuses were off on a mad quest to hunt down and eliminate the Great White Supremacist Whale from the military services.
Frankly, it was always rather a bad bet that Afghanistan could have been made into a semi-functioning country. I was of the opinion early on that once we had thumped the Talibunnies for good and all, we should have left it to be a playground for Special Forces and drone operators, after warning the locals that we’d thump them again and even more vigorously if they got obstreperous. We had a better chance of success in Iraq, but former President Obama, or whoever was pulling his strings during his terms wanted to bail on Iraq and still look tough on the war front, and so here we are, watching helicopters lifting off from the roof of an American embassy … again, and frantic crowds of locals mobbing American aircraft at the airfield in Kabul.
This after American troops were pulled out so fast that warehouses full of usable equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, everything but the kitchen sink – left to looters. The Daughter Unit, especially, was horrified at pictures of the sheer quantities of equipment left behind, as if no thought had been given to transporting it all out or destroying it in place. An argument might be made that those supplies were left to the so-called official Afghan military forces … who mostly folded like a cheap patio chair.
Responsibility for this debacle lies all on the starred-rank commanders like “Vanilli” Milley. Who, if he is lucky, might be relived of rank and reassigned, as the commanders at Pearl Harbor were, after December 7th, 1941. At best, these weasels and their associates might just escape having rotten fruit thrown at them by members of the public and outraged veterans. Milley and DOD chief Austin are responsible for this disaster – as they were in charge, and the local Pearl Harbor commanders were only regional, and not in the intelligence loop which would have told them that a Japanese attack was inbound on their command. Milley and Austin had to have known about the frailties of the military position in Afghanistan. It was their job. And instead, they were pursuing wokism. And the coffins of dead Marines and GIs have stacked up, and also the numbers of wounded, and veterans with PTSD, from tours in Afghanistan.
My daughter and I are almost incandescent with rage and sorrow. I have seen this movie before, and my daughter has friends and comrades who did tours in that benighted hell-hole and are likely wracked with anger. What was it all for, that they should enlist and serve, when all it comes to is this? Inquiring minds want to know.
A note – I wrote this, in a post about the firing of General McCrystal, some years ago:
What if he could already see the writing on the wall – or the helicopters taking off from the roof of the American Embassy and came to the conclusion that the military was going to take the blame for ‘losing’ Afghanistan?