There is no shortage of facile commentary about this disaster. It grabs attention like a bad car wreck, but attention and insight are two very different things. This post will mostly be a list of “dont’s,” gaps in our current knowledge, admonitions about epistemic humility, and reminders of stupefying incompetence exhibited by the ostensibly qualified. And I know about some of them because I’ve made the same mistakes as many of those reacting to events now.

I. Past

Beware of false analogies. Kabul in August of 2021 is not Saigon—or Phnom Penh—in April of 1975. Among the many differences, the order of generational temperaments in the US is a near-exact opposite. Referring, as I usually do, to Strauss-Howe generational theory: Vietnam wound down under Civic/Hero (Greatest Generation) senior leadership, uneasily aided by Adaptive/Artist (Silent Generation) management, vigorously contested by first-wave Idealist/Prophet (Boomers) in the rank and file. The trained order-takers were the elders, and the instinctive order-givers were the youth. But the crises of the 2020s are being met—or not—by Boomer (and some Silent) senior leadership, Reactive/Nomad (GenX) management, and Civic/Hero (Millennial) rank and file (see the “Future” section below for my speculation along these lines). The past two decades of waning Silent leadership have been, for anyone familiar with the Strauss-Howe model, unsurprisingly inconclusive in Afghanistan. There was never any real chance that we would, for example, impose a constitution written by Americans, as in Japan in 1946, thereby forestalling any so-called “Islamic Republic,” or garrison the country with hundreds of thousands of troops for four and a half decades, as in Germany, normalizing American culture.

American generations of three-quarters of a century ago were also rather more clear-eyed about the economics of the situation. To repurpose a quote from the great Illinois statesman Rod Blagojevich, we’ve got “a fucking valuable thing; you don’t just give it away for nothing.” The … valuable thing we’ve got is a liberal society with life- and freedom-affirming values. The cost of protecting its development in an environment where it could easily be destroyed is immense. NATO alone cost >3% of US GDP in the 1980s, a staggering sum. I don’t endorse all, or even most, of that particular expenditure, but it does give some idea of what is involved, and it exceeded what we spent in Afghanistan by well over an order of magnitude.

compare the geography

Kabul in August of 2021 is also not Kabul in September of 1996. The Taliban controlled most, but far from all, of the country after early autumn that year, and the retreat of Ahmad Shah Massoud’s forces from Kabul was relatively orderly. We must assume that Afghanistan is on a cycle of generational temperaments too. If the generation born since the mid-’90s there is a post-Crisis era (that era presumably being, in Afghanistan, 1979-96), Idealist/Prophet one like the Boomers—and their opposite numbers elsewhere in the world—what’s happening there right now is an analog of the frenzy of the early months of the Cultural Revolution in Beijing, summer 1966. This is obviously not a mere repeat of a quarter of a century ago.

I suggest that the events of the past few weeks constitute an astonishingly acute instance of self-organized criticality, and we would do well to view it in that light. Greater understanding of critical points in dynamical systems will also keep us from elementary errors like the post hoc fallacy, currently manifesting in the conspiracy theory that the Chinese made the whole thing happen so they could control $~1T in rare-earth elements in Afghanistan. Left out of that scenario is the reality that the Taliban largely controlled the mineral deposits in question some time ago; indeed, much of this month’s lightning takeover has merely constituted making de jure what was already de facto. Also left out is the one about how the US invaded Afghanistan in late ’01 supposedly in order to build an oil pipeline for Unocal—which never got built, but conspiracy theorists aren’t exactly known for successful predictions.

My favorite conspiracy theory right now, though, is a magnificently paranoid left-wing one about how the takeover is a Trump op to sabotage Biden. My second favorite, which is more conventionally nutty, is that the Chinese did it to steal and reverse-engineer US military hardware—never mind that they already have thousands of spies in Silicon Valley alone and undoubtedly recruited tens of thousands more all over the country after the OPM data breach in ’15.

II. Present

Lest the above seem flippant, this is where I point out that we’re seeing the real “cisheteronormative patriarchy” of politically-correct nightmares impose itself on, and indeed largely define the day-to-day life of, a nation-state with the area of Texas and the population of California. All those people who died falling off of or being run over by planes at HKAIA weren’t risking and losing their lives for no reason. Executions of gays and women for trivial “offenses,” reprisals against anyone determined to have worked with US personnel, and involuntary “marriages” are all already underway and will occur in large numbers.

Knowing those numbers to moderate precision matters, and this is where we edge into the minefield of media coverage. Journalists are not renowned for numeracy. At present they seem motivated to uncover Taliban atrocities, so we may hope for a relatively clear, if horrific, qualitative depiction of events. But quantification may be elusive. How many Taliban are physically available to oppress a country of nearly forty million people? (I have seen one report that there are only 70k, which would be fewer than 1 in 500 of the general population, and that they were initially outnumbered 4:1 by the ANSF.) How many casualties were there in the final weeks of fighting? How much matériel do the Taliban forces have, and how long would it last in sustained combat? How much replacement matériel—and money—are they getting from outside the country? How many violent deaths per 100k population per year (especially this year) are occurring in, say, District 8 of Kabul, and how does that compare to the bottom centile of the Washington Post “Super Zips” ranking—for example, 64126/7/8 in Kansas City? For that matter, how might even a relatively safe area of Kabul compare to its namesake, Cabool, MO (MHI $~26k, only three-eighths of the US national median), named in the immediate aftermath of the Second Anglo-Afghan War? There’s a genuine hook to that story, especially since the kind of people who rant about the cisheteronormative patriarchy nearly always hold the likes of Cabool in very low regard.

Speaking of journalistic hooks, here’s how this mess works with existing structural media biases:

it just won’t be Dan Rather this time

Remember, the above are biases. Their manifestations may be significantly decoupled from the true significance or long-term effects of the events being depicted. In particular, they may attempt to connect ambiguous events into a coherent whole in a situation which is deeply chaotic and full of minimally- or entirely non-related factors. You can help by resisting the natural urge to see an octopus with neatly labeled limbs (AFGHANISTAN, BIDEN, CHINA, etc) controlled by a single brain. Although there are people in the current presidential line of succession who might be replaceable by an actual octopus with no visible degradation in performance.

But as bad as things are, there is hope for some truly meaningful information, especially if someone digs into the real connection with Pakistani ISI, and elucidates the extent to which Afghanistan is (again) becoming a de facto territory of Pakistan. And while they’re at it, honest journalists should definitely hit up Stephen Biddle for an interview.

III. Future

David Brin is optimistic that the situation will remain, or become, fluid, insofar as suicide bombs and IEDs could be deployed just as effectively against the Taliban as they were against the Coalition. A broader question, keeping “narrative bias” in mind, is whether there are or could be substantial factions other than the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the seemingly vanquished Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Media narratives prefer a single, readily identifiable protagonist and antagonist. But what if multiple anti-Taliban insurgencies erupt?

To take another swipe at narrative bias, specifically the Saigon-1975 analogy, Afghanistan isn’t, or rather won’t, be Vietnam in another way: there is no obvious path toward making it a de facto ally after, or if, things settle down. Even ordinary Vietnamese with harrowing memories of the war are friendly toward Americans now. I can imagine Thucydides smiling thinly, nodding, and pointing to what lies just north of Vietnam on a map. Asked about Afghanistan, he would frown, shake his head, and not point anywhere.

That country to the north has its ambitions, and may benefit both directly from the Taliban coup and indirectly from the power vacuum now opening in CENTCOM—and by immediate inference, in INDOPACOM. Whether that inference is justified is among the great questions of the early 2020s. Keep an eye on the TAIEX. Also the NX 100. For that matter, keep an eye on the Shanghai Composite and the Wilshire 5000. Markets are predictive and should signal a China vs India/US clash.

We certainly seem to be—and long have been—in a drift to failure. While I believe that some such event as abrupt as what happened in Kabul last weekend will eventually provoke Americans into a massive societal response, I don’t expect it to be this one. Historically it has required a combination of generational-temperament alignments and direct action on US soil: 4/19/1775, 4/12/1861, 12/7/1941. Until then, game-theoretic considerations and incentives promote international estrangement and authoritarian impunity. To again paraphrase Georges Danton: De l’impunité, encore de l’impunité, toujours de l’impunité et la ordre mondial sera détruite!

One relatively immediate question is how much of that impunity will emanate from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan itself. We should hope that they retain their earlier, well, temporal and visual bias: lots of prompt casualties from highly kinetic events. We must assume, after the events of the past eighteen months, that a shift toward lower time preference would manifest itself in a biological rather than conventional, chemical, or even nuclear attack. And there is absolutely no need to develop something from scratch, or even modify any existing biological agent; smallpox will do just fine as is. A reasonable R₀ value of 5 yields a herd immunity threshold of 80%, and well under 40% of living Americans are immune today; as of mid-2021, over 200 million Americans are too young to have been vaccinated against smallpox. Any noticeable delay in vaccine distribution, to say nothing of vaccine “hesitancy,” would doom many times the number who died from either COVID-19 directly or the lockdown effects. And the victims being far younger, years of life lost would be orders of magnitude greater.

I will make one firm negative prediction: there will be no “Abraham Lincoln Brigade” to defend Afghans from Islamic dictatorship, only excuses about how there is nothing to be done, or even that the Afghan people somehow deserve calamity. The Venn diagram overlap between people who believe in a cisheteronormative patriarchy and people who think guns are icky is too large.

Meanwhile in DC, the early 2020s being what they are, I must wonder if an attempt at invoking Amendment XXV would neither clearly succeed nor clearly fail, but dissolve in chaos, with Biden’s Cabinet—which, incredibly, has met only twice in seven months—deadlocked over what to do and not even agreeing on who is President. It will be fun, if marginally stressful, to watch heavily-credentialed members of what Taleb calls those who are susceptible to “what can be explainable, academizable, rationalizable, formalizable, theoretizable, codifiable, Sovietizable, bureaucratizable, Harvardifiable, provable” behave like feces-flinging apes in a zoo. As obliquely mentioned above, the current presidential line of succession does not inspire confidence, being comprised almost entirely of failures and unknowns; were Biden, Blinken, and Austin to (very justifiably) resign, there would be no #1, #4, and #6 on the remaining list … and a deadlocked Senate full of more clothed apes that could block every nomination. Will 2021 be an American anno quattuor imperatores?

Psalm 146:3 comes to mind. Or possibly Matthew 12:43-45. My generation hasn’t provided, and isn’t about to produce, a Churchill—or an FDR (or an Eleanor), a Marshall, a Stimson to go to DC and do magic things with their incomprehensible wisdom, so give up on that idea and work on the person staring at you out of the mirror, because tag, you’re it.

PS — This report (also the source of the 70k Taliban strength figure mentioned earlier) is indicative of both highly effective “social engineering” by the Taliban and utter ineptitude by their ANSF and US opponents, decidedly including US civilian leadership.

72 thoughts on “Afghanalysis”

  1. This is a failure of a managerial class that seems focused on DC. Governors are ignoring many directives with regard to the virus and Biden seems obsessed with punishing this resistance. How likely is the extension of this resistance to other areas ? Border enforcement seems an obvious possibility. What about the transportation of illegals to red states like Texas and Florida ? The next few weeks should be informative. If the DC class tries to use the military to enforce new rules, will the enlisted ranks obey orders? The Afghan fiasco has to have a huge effect on the military below the O-5 rank.

  2. “David Brin is…”-hahahahahahahaha, are you joking? I saw him give a fairly interesting talk in about 1994 about the coming end of privacy, that I thought was crazy but was actually quite prescient. Then a few years ago I looked him up for some reason and saw that he had gone completely and totally insane with Trump Derangement Syndrome…

    I’m skeptical at this point that Chernenko Joe can make it to Christmas. Let’s look ahead–the Dems are going to jam some absurd $3.5T bill through Congress on a pure party line vote, they’re going to shut down the country again, the economy is already in ruins….the only question is can they drag his corpse until next spring and try to get Kamala to get credit for “re-opening” things again…

    You honestly think that if Obama tells Blinken, Austin, etc., that it’s time for Joe to be put out to pasture, that they’ll say no? They’re pitiful non-entities.

  3. Afghanistan has ground down another Empire. Well done!

    At least its America’s first time, the British are most upset after being tossed for a second time. ;)

    Comparing the Taliban to the warlords they were fighting in 2001 leaves me with the sense that they were the good guys, as much as that is possible. They offered up Bin Laden, if you could have shown them some kind of proof, as they were horrified by 9/11. Not what you wanted. Hi ho.

  4. While I believe that some such event as abrupt as what happened in Kabul last weekend will eventually provoke Americans into a massive societal response, I don’t expect it to be this one. Historically it has required a combination of generational-temperament alignments and direct action on US soil: 4/19/1775, 4/12/1861, 12/7/1941.

    12 April 1861 doesn’t really fit in that trio. It provoked a response but not one that resulted in societal cohesion as in 1775 or 1941, though if things turn south badly in Kabul for American civilians and/or military forces we might see a 7 December 1941 reaction as our current generational alignment mirrors that of 1941. If we see an action on American soil, it could provoke a reaction closer to 1861 than either 1775 or 1941, depending on the source. We may be on the precipice of doing something that has only happened once before, removing a President from office before the end of his term. As you pointed out in a slightly different context, that occurred last time when the people in charge believed firmly in process, order, and institutions (Greatest/GI generation). Half the country is still pretty steamed at the outcome of the election, and the installation of someone who has little support even within her own party (Harris’s Presidential campaign didn’t even make it to Iowa) might be a bridge too far for more than a few people.

    Strauss and Howe implied in a few places that the Prophet-Nomad-Hero generational alignment might be as responsible for the creation of the Crisis as events, and I’m starting to think that is a more accurate intuition than they gave themselves credit for.

  5. XXV amendment? No way.

    Some people say that Joe Biden is senile or demented. I say he is not at all senile, nor is he demented. He is now what he has always been. He is the same guy we have known for years. He didn’t get stupid for the occasion. He really was an idiot, an incompetent and utterly ineffectual all along.

    Just remember that Joe was the best the Democrat party could do in 2020. Think on that.

    And, that is why Joe cannot be replaced. Never say that things could not get worse. Kamala Harris is worse, stupider, more ineffectual, more incompetent, more ideological. She has failed at being Vice President — the nothingest job in the world. She is a poison pill — and that was why Joe picked her.

    The biggest problem is that the Democrat Party in the form of its current congressional majorities cannot and will not replace Kamala. They don’t have anybody to replace her with.

    The Republicans could pick out a half dozen people in a few seconds to replace Kamala and Joe. And forget about Trump. He is too old and has too much baggage. But Mike Pence or Rob Portman could be a caretaker. Ron DeSantis or Greg Abbott are fine governors. Tom Cotton is thoughtful and well versed in military affairs. Nikki Haley would be a good choice she has executive and foreign policy experience.

  6. There seems to be a large population of grifters who don’t give a damn, as long as they get their cut. They plan to be in a safe “lifeboat” when it all hits the rocks.

    It may be time for Santa Claus. “Making a list, checking it twice…….”

    The Old “Bolshies” checked for a calusus on the hands. I wonder what it will be this time…

  7. Afghanistan was going to collapse as soon as we withdrew. It probably wouldn’t have survived for long even with the level of support we had been providing in the last year for the simple reason that there weren’t enough people to keep the aid from being stolen.

    As far as management having anything to do with it, that would imply there was any management at all. You need to look up passive-aggressive. Somebody must have said to themselves; “If this is what they want, this is what they will get.” Probably, a lot of somebodies.

  8. “Afghanistan was going to collapse as soon as we withdrew.”

    That is not an excuse for this fiasco. If we had engaged in a modicum of intelligent planning we wouldn’t have told 10,000 American citizens to sauve qui peut.

    I have long favored getting out of Afghanistan. I have done that because we cannot fight in a place where our real enemy (Pakistan) controls our logistics.

    But, I always said we need to remove all Americans first. And any mildly competent planner would have figured out how to leave so that the last thing to be seen was the Cheshire Cat’s smile.

  9. “… Biden’s Cabinet—which, incredibly, has met only twice in seven months …”

    Hardly incredible. Knew ye not Clinton?

    If memory serves, one of the few times his Cabinet met was to take the oath of allegiance to Bubba after he had left his calling card on that blue dress worn by a female employee at a rendezvous in the workplace during working hours. Somehow or other, that clear breach of employment law had no consequences.

    Will Biden’s Debacle have any consequences for the guilty parties — good Democrats all? The smart money would have to bet No.

  10. A stealth withdrawal was never in the cards, but this is almost unimaginably upgefukt.

    (Speaking of logistics, for a while IIRC we had rail links through Russia/Central Asia for limited use for a limited time back in the earlier years? Or did I dream that? It happens.)

    Point being, Bush-Cheney not only foolishly got into a land war in Asia, they got into a land war in the landlocked INTERIOR of Asia.

  11. And forget about Trump. He is too old and has too much baggage. But Mike Pence or Rob Portman could be a caretaker. Ron DeSantis or Greg Abbott are fine governors. Tom Cotton is thoughtful and well versed in military affairs. Nikki Haley would be a good choice she has executive and foreign policy experience.

    No, no, no- Nikki Haley is a punchline. I like Tom Cotton, but he seems rather too invested in the globalist forever war for me, and too establishment as well. Rob Portman, Mike Pence, and Greg Abbott are all worse or irrelevant.

    If it isn’t Trump- his baggage was just fine even before he became a successful president- it will be DeSantis, allowing of course that events are in the saddle.

    The gop establishment and its globalist paradigm is dead dead dead, along with the political futures of its advocates.

    Pretending otherwise won’t change that.

  12. And about Afghanistan, too bad. The regime ruling that non-country attacked us, which inspired our idiot elite to embark upon a recreation of the Marshall Plan, ignoring all the prior unpleasant killing that allowed that expenditure to succeed.

    We essentially attempted to recreate something similar to the modern American welfare state, complete with an idiot academia, including women’s studies programs.

    This was futile, and it should have been obviously futile.

  13. Jay, Sarah H. is emphatically NOT someone to listen to – here are her views:
    “…a reality that lies at the root of most of our crises: from repeated banking and stock market meltdowns and the unemployment and homelessness and desperation that result, to the disproportionately high toll of COVID sickness and death in this country, as well as the systematic mistreatment of black people and native nations and other subordinated groups. ”

    Prog rulebook. Prog photos – with kerry, of all people! And she has a nerve to talk about corruption – and advertise on her site for dishonest anti-Trump petition in 2017!

  14. Here’s the question–where are the Washingtons, Jeffersons, et al, who might make a difference right now? You have to have “elites” who have a personal interest in upending the system. Most of us poor schmucks are sitting here amazed at what’s going on but completely helpless to do anything about it. What are we supposed to do? Organize a local protest? So you get 100 people to show up, if one of them acts obnoxious the media and the system will use that to totally discredit you. The “elite” class right now is completely corrupt and happy to go along with this unfolding horror–does anyone honestly doubt that Australia right now is a preview of what’s going to happen here over the winter? I can sit here and say I will not comply, but what am I really supposed to do if in a few months I get fired and am not allowed into stores? How is this happening? How are we honestly asking these questions?

  15. Brian: and that’s how we understand how was it (disintegration of civil society and total compliance of populace) possible in 1933 Germany…

    Jay, from your link:
    There is plenty of legitimate documentation of the situation in Afghanistan, like the photo above from Kabul.
    So no, it’s not like Cowboys game – not that I ever was there – but I doubt very much that audience were begging the cops to take their young kids so as to save their lives.

  16. Tatyana — The most recent example of the collapse of a modern society was the breakup of the USSR and the subsequent chaos in Russia, with lots of “autonomous” zones being set up. With your background, are there any thoughts or experiences you might like to share about the aftermath of the failure of a government? Anything it would be smart & practicable for us to do before the fall? — since we can see that the DC Swamp is heading down the same path as the USSR, right down to the same kind of incompetent gerontocrats.

  17. Gavin: I said it numerous time this past year – I’m living inside deja vu.
    What to expect…it’s a bigger topic than could be summarized in a comment. Allowing for surface differences (instead of racial strife – ethnic and religious, f.ex.,) there were many issues that might or might not be applicable to the US: economic disparity between regions, collapse of manufacturing, of trade, of banking system, of currency, of army, of law enforcement, &&&.
    There was also the coup
    My family was on our way to American Embassy for the entry interview, when we saw the tanks in the avenue.
    TI guess, the response is the same it has been from the time immemorial: fight or flight.
    Personally, I am not running anymore: the same thing awaits everywhere.

  18. The problem is that the US isn’t at the stage of USSR 1991. The regime isn’t about to collapse. It hasn’t even started the totalitarian phase. Once that gets going it’ll be a generation before the inevitable economic collapse.

  19. Intruding again …

    “Around the 41 minute mark, as they’re wrapping up, co-host Joscelyn says, ‘You should be angry about this war for a lot of reasons, but it speaks to a broader incompetence in the American elite. It’s total incompetence across the board.’” — Rod Dreher

    Worth listening to in full; mentions, among many other things, that the ~300k ANSF existed largely on paper, so that supposed 4:1 advantage over the Taliban wasn’t real.

  20. It’s incredible that Biden tries to play the outsider. He was in office for 9 of the 20 years in Afghanistan. Maybe he’s forgotten the Obama years?

  21. Brian: “It hasn’t even started the totalitarian phase. Once that gets going it’ll be a generation before the inevitable economic collapse.”

    Totalitarian? I was denied access to a grocery store today. The store was insisting on masks, but did not have any masks to distribute, and I did not have a mask with me. It takes only 3 weeks without food to kill a person — a whole lot less than a generation.

    I hope you are right, Brian, and collapse is decades in the future. But you are probably wrong. Look at the Trade Deficit, and ask yourself how much longer that imbalance can continue. Look at Resident Biden and most of Congress — are these people who could organize an effective response to a sudden collapse in the willingness of foreigners to take dubious IOUs for their exports (Women & MInorities Hardest Hit)?

  22. Gavin: Without hyperbole I can see the grocery store door being patrolled by soldiers in 4 months, and you being led to something like a “Centre for National Resilience” a la Australia ( for your anti-social actions.
    Remember that America is really, really rich. There’s a whole lot of wealth to be extracted from Americans before the government would be economically unviable.
    I don’t hope I’m right at all. I don’t want to be a Russian from 1915, or an Eastern European from 1945, it is a horrifying prospect. I like free speech, and all the other freedoms that we take for granted.

  23. We have troops in Korea. In Kosovo. In CUBA for gosh sakes. We have forces in Germany and Belgium and Italy. We have bases and stations and outposts which are not in position to win battles, let alone wars, but serve as trip wires and reconnaissance sites and prisons and warehouses.

    Agreeing that Afghanistan was not going to become a 51st state, we might have decided to fortify and hold and use Bagram. We might have insisted on it. We might have agreed to pay whatever government took over Kabul some fee, in gold coins if they liked, just as we do in Cuba for Gitmo, for the rent on the acreage at the airfield. We might have made Bagram an enclave somewhat like West Berlin.

    Might have beens…

  24. It might be better to address the issues independently:

    -US policy towards Afghanistan and SW Asia before 9/11,

    -US policy etc. since 9/11,

    -The US decision to leave Afghanistan in 2021,

    -US implementation of its decision to leave Afghanistan.

    Reasonable people can disagree about most of these issues. The last issue on the list is in a different category. It’s obvious that the US govt’s handling of the withdrawal is a catastrophe. Why did it happen?

    Only one of two explanations is possible. Either 1) the Biden administration, its advisors, the military and intelligence bureaucracies are almost unbelievably inept or 2) they screwed up the withdrawal intentionally.

    Who among the President’s high-level military and other advisors would have gone along with such a terrible, career ending, non-plan withdrawal plan? Maybe the intelligence bureaucracies really were clueless, ignorant of the Taliban’s military progress, and that’s how it happened. Is that plausible? Or maybe decrepit Joe Biden, who is barely capable of reading from a script, made a bad decision and then, somehow, forced its implementation over the objections of his many expert advisors, who had to know they would be blamed for the inevitable failure. Is that plausible? The only plausible alternative is that the Biden administration, in collaboration with the leaders of the military and intelligence bureaucracies, intentionally sabotaged its own evacuation plan.

    The possible explanations for the Biden administration’s behavior are all very bad.

  25. Jonathan: Incompetence is the most likely thing, but what if we consider the possibility that this was planned? That the US and (at least some) elements in the Afghan government figured this was the best way to avoid a bloody civil war? They handed over tons of supplies and cash, and negotiated that the Taliban wouldn’t attack as we finished the withdrawal? Clearly right now there is a US-Taliban agreement that other European nations don’t appear privy to, not to actually fight each other…

  26. Brian: “There’s a whole lot of wealth to be extracted from Americans before the government would be economically unviable.”

    It is not hard to find credible analysts who say FedGov is economically unviable today — because the Political Class is spending something like $2 for each $1 it takes in. If it is so easy to extract wealth from Americans, why doesn’t FedGov just grab some of that wealth and balance its budget?

    The rest of my grocery store tale — Faced with harried staff at my regular store who had been ordered to demand that customers mask up but had not been supplied with masks, I carried on down the road to the next grocery store. There, store management was making no effort to enforce the foolish Governor’s edict. About half the customers were unmasked — young & old, male & female. Guess which store is still going to be in business in a few months time?

    Military officers are warned against issuing an order they know will be disobeyed, because then military order would collapse. Apparently politicians don’t think that wisdom applies to them. Yet we are getting very close to the point where politician’s laws are ignored by substantial parts of society — which puts us well down the road to collapse. All those “sanctuary cities” showed the way.

  27. Gavin: “If it is so easy to extract wealth from Americans, why doesn’t FedGov just grab some of that wealth and balance its budget”
    For the same reason the blood bank doesn’t take a gallon of blood from you when you go in to donate…

  28. If you’ll remember, the exact same thing happened when we left Iraq. The only difference being the interval between our bugging out and the collapse. In that case, it took ISS long enough to notice that the soldiers weren’t getting paid, supplies weren’t getting to the outposts that we managed a clean get away. It didn’t work out so good for the Iraqis.

    If there were any consequences for the architects of that debacle, I didn’t notice. I might almost suspect this is like the firebug fireman that sets fires in order to ride to the rescue, except that even that scenario would require planning that is nowhere in evidence.

  29. Here’s another point to plot:

    Thumbnail summary: Three individuals made allegations of sexual assault against multiple instructors at Ft. Sill. After an investigation that must have been very enjoyable for the accused, no probable cause was found and all have resumed their military careers. The three accusers have separated from the Army for unrelated reasons.

    Not sure where this goes, but you think recruiting might get a little more challenging?

  30. The possible explanations for the Biden administration’s behavior are all very bad.

    To put it mildly.

    It seems to me that the US government has been effectively controlled or at the very least heavily influenced by a collection of high-ranking traitors going way back. Some of the policies adopted by the government are so outrageously against the national interest that it can hardly have been otherwise.

    Here are a few examples, none as recent as the Xiden Administration:

    1) The disgraceful abandonment of South Vietnam, after that nation-state had successfully defeated an invasion by the North in 1972. This invasion- the “Eastertide Offensive”- lasted for months and was defeated by South Vietnamese troops with US air support and supplies. Yet most Americans have never heard of it- when I worked with a lot of Vietnam vets in 1990s I never talked to one who had- and from what I can discern it is commonly believed that South Vietnam collapsed without a fight, like Afghanistan just now. Not true.

    2) The de facto abandonment of nuclear power. Considering that the dirt-worshipping pagans of the environmental movement have so much political power, I’d have thought they’d be really enthusiastic for something so carbon-neutral. But nope, they demand the US electrical grid move to unreliable sources of power that will kill myriads of endangered birds. Odd, I think.

    3) The stunning inability of the US to maintain a navy- and I’m not even thinking of the recent spate of collisions. I’m thinking of the shambling failure of the navy’s shipbuilding programs since circa 1990- most notably the Zumwalt-class destroyer and the so-called “Littoral Combat Ship.” I have real trouble believing this shocking festival of incompetence could happen by mere accident.

    I could go on, even more tediously, but I won’t. When the US government is willing to act as obviously stupid as it has with the Afghanistan withdrawal I take it as a sign that the takeover by traitors is essentially complete. I will further hypothesize that the real reason why the various bureaucracies refused to Trump’s orders to plan and enact a withdrawal from Afghanistan are because they knew he wouldn’t accept this sort of catastrophe.

    If my theory is correct, then we should expect more disasters of the avoidable sort, from our present regime.

    Of course, the Gee Ohhh Peeeeee will remain completely irrelevant, as always.

  31. RE: Not sure where this goes, but you think recruiting might get a little more challenging?

    You think recruiting gets more challenging because of possible sexual harassment charges?

    I think it gets more challenging because of this (I guess you have to cut ‘n paste) —

    Bit of hyperbole, but I think, quite simply, the people who tend to sign up for the military, vast numbers of whom do so out of patriotism and honor, etc, are looking around at their fellow country-“men” and are saying “I’m going to put my life on the line for these people?? So that the elites that produced them are taken care of? So that they can collectively continue to hold me, my family, my faith, my heritage, in rabid, foaming contempt??

    THIS is what I risk death, maiming, or horrible imprisonment to defend??

    Ya, know, I think I’m gonna take a pass. Sorry Dad, Grampa, great Grampa. Your service was in the cause of greatness. Mine would not even be close.

    THAT is what our recruiters are facing.

  32. MCS:
    If you’ll remember, the exact same thing happened when we left Iraq.

    The execution of the withdrawal has been much worse in Afghanistan. We closed our main air base before we finished evacuating everyone. We evacuated the military first and apparently didn’t have a plan to evacuate civilians and trusted Afghans. We left a huge amount of equipment in working condition. All of this is backwards from what we should have done. There are still Americans awaiting evacuation, which makes them potential hostages. Not to mention Afghans who worked for us and are now in danger. I wonder if we will learn that the US govt paid or promised to pay the Taliban in exchange for allowing our people to leave.

  33. An interesting article at Taki’s Magazine:

    It brings us back to that famous observation about bankruptcy happening slowly, then quickly. To summarize Bruce Laue’s assessment, today’s rapid events are the consequences of mistakes made two decades ago — and of the subsequent failure to learn & adjust as we gained experience. I suspect the same syndrome is going to result in a future in which we suffer from other ‘surprisingly rapid’ deteriorations in many areas of life.

    The root problem, of course, is the uselessness of our Political Class — for which in turn we citizens must all bear responsibility. If anyone wants to see how worthless our Best & Brightest are, there is a great example of an attempt to deflect responsibility by an ex-CIA Counter-terrorism chief who volunteered to work for Biden*. The CIA predicted that the Afghan forces might collapse quickly or slowly — the same advice a 10-year old could have given as accurately and much more cheaply.

  34. Jonathan,
    I’m not willing to concede a difference beyond the timing of the ISS noticing just how hollow the Iraqi Army was. This delay made out exit more elegant but the consequences were identical. All of the weapons in the custody of the surrendering Iraqis came into the possession of ISS. ISS wasn’t able to overrun the whole country but that wasn’t our fault. That’s mainly thanks to Iran.

    The only real difference was that we came back to Iraq, that’s not an option I see in Afghanistan.

  35. It’s good to remember that Democrats since Bill Clinton often view military action in terms of the fight against their real enemy, Republicans.

    Miley’s views on Trump and the Democrat circus known as CRT have been widely shared. He and the rest of the brass in the Pentagon probably have quite a bit of info on COVID vaccines, and the collapsing 6 January show trials, and the likely struggle that the Democrats will have in 2022 to keep control of Congress. I’m also pretty sure they don’t want to face a grilling on CRT or the witch hunts for white supremacists from GOP leadership. Put all that together and you have a lot of motivated reasoning for them to convince themselves that pulling all but a small force to manage the drawdown so that they and Biden could celebrate “Mission Accomplished’ on 11 September 2021 was a plan that could work if everything went well. They elevated the intelligence estimates that agreed with the plan, ignored the probable impact of pulling out on the ANSDF, hoped that Kabul would hold for long enough that most everyone important could get out, and the victory parade would be over before the Taliban returned. It just didn’t work out that way.

  36. Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes.
    I ricochet between the failure was intentional or the plan was colossal stupidity. I find the withdrawal plan so inexplicable that I can’t even rule out weird conspiracy theories like maybe an Evil Jinn took over the Joint Chiefs. .
    The Biden withdrawal was so spectacularly bungled, it is hard to believe it wasn’t intentional. Yet, it is also hard to believe that the administration would have exposed themselves to the current degree of humiliation, mockery, and world wide ridicule. The memes of the authorities have been appalling and even Tony Blair has called the debacle “Imbecilic”.
    OTOH, you can’t discount the possibility that the political class is A) stupid/myopic B) cynical C) delusional D) naïve or all of the above. Even calling the “plan” amateurish doesn’t capture the ineptitude. Yet, the conclusion that they are too stupid to manage anything more complex than pouring piss pout of a boot doesn’t really work either. As Eric Weinstein has hypothesized, even debased institutions carry within them institutional knowledge and institutional memory, even if they are managed by dopes.
    Was their freakish fixation on Trump and the compulsion to deny him any, even minimal, success or recognition a contributing factor. Did that, coupled with their vacuous world view and the self regard of the perpetually cocooned, short circuit down to earth, practical analysis. I wonder if their priorities are so skewed that they spent more time on gender and equity mumbo/jumbo and on what to call their operation, than actual planning. Cuz, priorities. If I had been on the naming committee for Biden’s Afghan withdrawal, I would have called it “Operation Thundering Blunder”, or “Operation What Would Michael Scott Do”.
    So how do you all feel about the Biden team and Joint Chiefs being black mailed. I’m being tongue in cheek, but it’s as good a theory as any.

  37. So how do you all feel about the Biden team and Joint Chiefs being black mailed. I’m being tongue in cheek, but it’s as good a theory as any.

    Another theory, being supported by Lara Logan in her interviews lately, is that this was the intent of the Biden handlers as they hate the US and consider us a racist colonial state that needs to be humiliated to get to “fundamental transformation,” which has failed so far. Biden is surrounded by these fantasists who long for a Marxist Utopia.

    The Lara Logan interview.

  38. Exasperated: “So how do you all feel about the Biden team and Joint Chiefs being black mailed.”

    Certainly, there have been lots of indications over the years that the Political Class encourages kickbacks — just think of the Clintons or Hunter Biden, for example. And taking the money could then certainly leave them open to blackmail by the supplier(s) of kickbacks. But despite my bottomless contempt for our Political Class, that may not be the explanation for what the wags are calling Biden’s “Dumbkirk”.

    I suspect the explanation for Biden*’s buddies abysmal performance is that they were totally focused on the internals of the Swamp — who is up, who is down, who is in, who is out. They are used to their only opposition being the Institutional Republicans, for goodness sake! (Talk about a JV team!). And they have the mighty media on their side, to silence any dissenting voices.

    Our Political Class are symbolic analysts. They think words are deeds. They simply cannot understand that a group like the Taliban lives in the real world, and would actually use their guns instead of reading the NYT and doing what it tells them to do.

  39. The buck stops at Joe Xiden, even though he is a senile old man who probably isn’t capable of choosing his own flavor of ice cream cone.

    But while his America-hating handlers have him around, they can feel free to do as much damage as possible, expecting that they can use the 25th Amendment to get rid of him any time they want.

    Then, they can present Kamasutra Harris as the fresh new face who had nothing to do with all the unpopular catastrophes brought about by Joe.

    And why would these people need to be blackmailed to harm America when they are eager to do it for free?

  40. Jay, thanks for the SarahChayes link.
    Others: Ok, I’ve tossed the bribery theory.
    The other weird aspect to this whole debacle was the treatment of our allies. What was up with that?

  41. The manner of the withdrawal is troubling. Whether it was intentional or not, leaving the weaponry up for grabs was like handing the Taliban the keys. I’m not suggesting it was intentional, I’m giving the US “planners” the benefit of the doubt, that they planned for the supplies and weapons to fall into the hands of the existing Afghan Army. Nevertheless, possession of those weapon was a leg up for the Taliban, giving them the upper hand against any resistance or rivals. It could even have been a contributing factor in the Taliban’s accelerated time line.
    Did the US throw the game? Could it have been intentional? Maybe it is better to have a central authority in place, no matter how vile, than allowing a complete breakdown of civil society (I know, I know). In some ways the American authorities were between a rock and a hard place. A disintegrating Afghanistan could lead to more mass migration and a humanitarian crisis, worse than what we are anticipating now. To me, this is the existential threat. Consider that Erdogan has claimed recently to be holding back 5 million refugees from Europe.

  42. Exasperated: “Did the US throw the game? Could it have been intentional?”

    That would require us to identify the Cui Bono? Who would gain from the US throwing the game?

    Certainly not Resident Biden* or any of the people around him. Fascinating tirades of obloquy thrown at them by the denizens of the UK House of Lords.

    While the Taliban are in power today in Afghanistan, the probability is that they will soon be facing civil war in an unstable country further impoverished by the loss of all the US war spending. No winners there.

    Could anti-Biden* Democrats have engineered Dumbkirk? If they were that capable, surely they would never have put him in charge in the first place. Since they were going to steal the Presidential election anyway, why install a sock puppet instead of the real thing?

    China will do ok , of course, with their land border with Afghanistan, their interest in Afghan mineral deposits, and their willingness to do what needs to be done to get what they want. But China may simply be taking advantage of the Democrat Debacle rather than engineering it.

    Considering the alternatives, it still seems most likely that the Biden* Administration’s chaotic abandonment of Afghanistan (and its NATO partners) is more likely to be a reflection of the foolishness of the US Political Class rather than a scheme by some organized group or an external actor. Time will tell.

  43. :Clearly right now there is a US-Taliban agreement that other European nations don’t appear privy to, not to actually fight each other.”

    This is unlikely. The embassies have been kept safe. The Russians have said that Taliban special forces showed up quite early in the takeover, chased away the government guards, consulted with the Russian guard force, and installed their own.

    It appears that things will be kept as quiet as possible, while the Americans provide the sturm and drang for the world’s press. ;)

  44. The Obama/Biden handlers are all of the worst things that have been written above. Their hast to put up a claim of getting us out of Afghanistan and their ideology blinded them to the reality of the risk. Unlike in the Iraqi pull out, they lacked any sort of competent military and intelligence advisors. Austin and Miley are a never before seen clown act. Biden was told what he wanted to be told and they did as they were bid. Who was wrong on every major international issue for decades? The planning for the evacuation was fundamentally on the fly. Our military and civilian intelligence apparently chose to believe the self-reported Afghani estimates of capability and the brass chose to stifle decanting sources. Popular support for a completely corrupt government and military was next to nothing. No one had a handle on how many or where the civilians and our foreign allied civilians were. Stove pipe city. Even the military evacuation was seriously deficient. Allies, what allies? Military airbase? Billions in sophisticated equipment and facilities (even a 3/4 billion dollar multipurpose building complex you can land choppers on!) Can you hear the train coming?

    So they negotiated with the Taliban to be orderly and patient as we casually left. They hadn’t lived up to the Trump agreement (also a joke) and no consequences. They blitz and Biden going to delay things, ratchet up protection, even support the Afghan military operations (air, intelligence and contractor)? What will Biden/? guarantee the Taliban for allowing us to stumble through this return from paradise? Come on, Man, it’s just infrastructure! Then the black curtin come down and let Alla’s very own fully reign.

    Not to worry, plenty of time before 2022 elections.


  45. When we speak of “the Taliban,” are we describing an organization with clear control of its units? I can easily imagine that the top men might see an advantage to getting the aliens and collaborators out of the country as quickly as possible, so they can concentrate on consolidating their position wrt the other tribes. This might not be the attitude of all the fighters, who might see possibilities for revenge and extortion.

    To ask the question a different way, how many different groups does one have to negotiate with to get Americans from one neighborhood to the airport? (I assume they have the attitude that an attack on one is an attack on all, no matter the provocation.)

  46. well the haqquani faction, are the ones in charge of the airport, (I call them the pashtun crowders) there’s also another faction out of quetta, and then there’s the pakistani branch tekri taliban pakistan, they may be the worst

  47. James the lesser brings up an important point, just how gullible or desperate do you have to be to negotiate anything with the Taliban? While I’m sure that they have units that are somewhat reliable and disciplined they have many that are not. We are, talking about what is a drug smuggling gang after all. I found the notion of Taliban special forces especially far fetched. Whatever some Taliban negotiator promises is not going to be honored beyond his immediate sight if then.

    Given the sentiment in the country, any semi competent withdrawal in February or even as early as late November would have been a Democratic plus in the election. I assume the Afghan government wouldn’t have lasted beyond Spring. It is the complete incompetence that is perplexing. Who profits, indeed?

  48. Our Islamic enemies have the advantage of murky lines of authority. As the Israelis know well, any agreement with any faction is subject to undermining by some other faction, even one supposedly allied.

    It’s only a matter of time before some faction decides to make the situation even worse.

    It could be quite spectacular.

  49. I just had a really scary thought. Everyone here believes that the administration is being run by one or another behind the scenes faction. What if we’re wrong and Biden is really running things after all?

  50. “It’s only a matter of time before some faction decides to make the situation even worse…..It could be quite spectacular.”
    From Instapundit :
    “A couple of thoughts about Kabul. Because we haven’t seen suicide bombers at the airport or an American hostage crisis, it’s because we are on the Taliban’s timeline. No rush. The humiliation of the United States is proceeding apace.
    Do they actually control ISIS elements? Maybe. Maybe not. Wild card.

    US forces have taken a hit for staying behind walls while the British and French go into the city to bring their people out. The British and French go in at the pleasure of the Taliban, who I suspect are not that interested in them at this time. Except to the extent they may serve as bait to draw in US forces.

    If US forces did go into Kabul at anything less than brigade strength, it could be Mogadishu. Even at brigade strength, the Taliban will be calling the shots. Shutting off streets. Making use of American hostages and human shields.

    This doesn’t excuse the Americans. Just underscores how grievously the high command and the commander in chief bollixed this. They created this vulnerability by granting the upper hand quite predictably to the Taliban.”

  51. Exasperated,
    You may be right.

    Now, does anybody want to argue that all the friction between us and our allies, especially on the ground in Kabul is part of a cunning plan to misdirect the Taliban?

    Anybody, anybody at all?

    Didn’t think so.

  52. “Now, does anybody want to argue that all the friction between us and our allies, especially on the ground in Kabul is part of a cunning plan to misdirect the Taliban?”

    This is just more confounding behavior. I also hear that the Biden administration was very disrespectful to BOJO. Though, in all fairness, Europe faces a greater existential threat than we do and coulda, shoulda been more in the fore front. Couple this with sabotaging American energy independence and creating greater dependence on the ME which we could have walled off (not literally).
    The Euros are screwed aren’t they, if Biden etal has managed to set in motion another mass migration event and another humanitarian crisis.

  53. We made an enormous investment in Afghan infrastructure and education, right? Which begs the question for what? What’s the point of educating people if there is no employment or occupations? So, what kind of jobs would have been available in today’s Afghanistan?
    If memory serves, in the early aughts, at the time of the invasion, all kinds of multinationals stepped up and pledged to open factories and businesses in Afghanistan. Am I remembering right? Did that ever happen?
    To repeat myself, my greatest concern is mass migration. The PTB will pretend it is all political, and some of it will be, but not the bulk of it. Was that the plan, poor people on the move and erosion of nation states?

  54. “Was [mass migration] the plan, poor people on the move and erosion of nation states?”

    I’m not sure ‘plan’ is fair, but the West’s PTB have clearly succumbed to a kind of resettlement mania. “Give me your tired, your poor” used to be an offer, but we’ve turned it into policy–almost a demand– as if 21st C Europe and the USA are like the 19th American West, or Canada or Australia back then, in need of hands and minds.

    It’s not well known, but after 1945 in the territory of what became West Germany, something like 20% of the inhabitants were born outside those boundaries. That they were mostly German-speakers and other educated Euros, and that Germany was an educated nation, helped assimilate them.

    I think La Merkel, who grew up in the East, sees her role as that of a sort of modern day Maria Theresia, and imagines that cultural and religious differences are just irrelevant surface attributes to be overcome by good will.

    Finally, the failures of Western capitalism and technology when applied to Islamia are an old story. Muhammad Ali (Egypt 1820s – 1840s) tried to modernize that place and failed utterly,
    and to my knowledge, outside of Turkey there’s no Muslim country that even ranks on world scales of industry and product fabrication other than textiles.

  55. “The other weird aspect to this whole debacle was the treatment of our allies. What was up with that or are the Euros playacting? Why the snub of Bojo?
    The Euros supported Biden, yes? Among other issues, is it possible that were they trying to head off Donald Trump’s Afghan withdrawal plan believing that Biden would not follow through on it and certainly not bungle it?
    This begs the question, would the consequences of the Trump plan been any less risky for Europe. I don’t know if Trump had countermeasures for the possibility of mass migration and continued destabilization of borders and nation states.

  56. “We are, talking about what is a drug smuggling gang after all. I found the notion of Taliban special forces especially far fetched.”

    So you have been defeated by a bunch of drug smugglers. I have little respect for the American armed forces, but they are not that bad. ;)

  57. None of this had to happen; just like Iraq under Obama, and the South Vietnamese debacle, the roots of this are in Washington DC.

    In 1973, the South Vietnamese defeated an invasion from the North with American aid and air support. They’d have done the same in ’75, but the Democrats in Congress cut them off. The whole thing started and ended there, or South Vietnam would still be a country; we abrogated our treaty obligations. By the time of the final invasion, the South Vietnamese military was down to 20 rounds of ammunition in each soldier’s rifle in a lot of units. Air support wasn’t happening because maintenance contractors were withdrawn, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum

    In Iraq, as soon as the Obama administration came in, they started cutting the deployments of units that were meant to “mentor” counterpart Iraqi Army units. There were supposed to be shadow elements across the Iraqi government to ensure that corruption didn’t happen, and that the money went where it was supposed to. All of that got gutted; the Iraqis were left on their own, and the usual endemic corruption resulted. As an effect of that, the Iraqi Army we spent all that money training evaporated, going home to where they could at least support their families. All of the formations we spent so much time creating disintegrated long before ISIS came along–They had the equipment, they had the uniforms, but the men were long gone. What was in the ranks…? The untrained and unqualified, politically-vetted types who did not have any idea what to do besides posture.

    Along with that, the Obama administration mandated to the Iraqis that they were responsible for all the detainees at Camp Bucca–But, that they couldn’t do the sensible thing and execute all of them. They had to be detained or released, and the pressure was for “release”. Those detainees were the men who became ISIS, and destroyed Syria and Northern Iraq.

    None of that had to happen; it was a choice, a feckless choice made by felching inbred incompetents. Just like Vietnam.

    Now, what do we see in Afghanistan? Hmmm… Oddly familiar things… Aircraft maintenance contractors pulled out, loss of air support, loss of supervision over the Afghan Army, who mysteriously “weren’t being paid” while their leadership was reading the tea leaves and taking the bribes provided by the Taliban. Huh.

    Note who was in Washington DC for all three fiascoes, and whose fingers were in the pie… Common figure? Why, the asshole you all elected last year, Joe Biden.

    None of this was accidental, and it didn’t have to happen. Afghanistan could have remained in a decent status quo for decades, with minimal troop involvement–All we had to do was keep investing a little bit of blood, a little bit of money, and quit paying Pakistan to support the Taliban.

    Which is the other giant pink elephant in the room: Where, do you suppose, all that bribe money for those Afghan Army commanders and governors came from? Do you really think the Taliban is a profit-making enterprise, or are you smart enough to recognize that the money has to be coming from somewhere, and that somewhere is the ISI, who provided refuge to bin Laden in Abbottabad?

    You’ve been had, America: Your “elites” told you the enemy was in Afghanistan, and the reality is, the enemy has been in Pakistan, all along. The same nation we pay lots and lots of money to, in foreign aid and military aid. I wonder how much of that has come back to kill American soldiers…?

    This fact has been known since day one, on September 12th. When you look at the assassination of Amed shah Massoud, mandated by the Taliban before they approved 9/11 going ahead, it pretty much becomes clear what has been going on. The reality is, it’s like one of those teen slasher movies–The phone calls are coming from inside the house, and that house is our own government, our own elites, who’ve been lying their asses off and fighting with what can only be deliberate ineffectiveness.

    Very nearly the first thing that any counter-insurgency war-fighting manual tells you is that one of the most important things you need to do is to isolate the battlefield and deny the insurgency outside shelter, support, or money. Did we do that in Afghanistan? Nope; far from it–We made the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. I surmise that there was something of value offered up to many of our elites, in return–Examine that little deal between Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her Pakistani IT team that worked the Democratic Caucus in Congress. Notice that there have been zero consequences for that incident, and just like a lot of other things from that time frame, nobody is talking about it, or the utter lack of investigations surrounding it.

    Face it, folks: We’ve been had. The first step to dealing with swindlers is to recognize and accept the fact that you’ve been swindled. Our uniparty did this; there are no innocents here–It’s all of them, both parties, all the time. The Republican/Democrat “split” only exists as a part of the con, to keep the marks quiet and acquiescent. We vote for the “Republican” in order to “preserve our liberties”, but behind the scenes, they’re working hand-in-glove with their supposed enemies, the Democrats. Look at the names on the various Ukraine “sweetheart” deals–They’re not just Democratic Party family members.

    Wake up, Suzy–The calls are coming from upstairs. Get out of the house, now…

  58. An additional thought that I neglected to include in what I was saying.

    There’s an old military principle that runs like this: Once is misfortune, twice is coincidence, and three times…? Enemy action.

    Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Democrats and Joe Biden there at the scene of the crime, making decisions. Note the similar decisions, the similar effects and outcomes. Always with the premature cutting of support, the rundown in planned supporting elements from our military, and then when the eventual self-fulfilling prophecy eventuates, we are told it was “inevitable”. Pay attention to the common features, the common actions, and the entirely predictable results. Could an enemy agency really do any better, damaging our cause?

    You make the call. What is it?

  59. Kirk — You make a reasonable case for “enemy action”. That in turn raises the issue of what are the enemy’s objectives?

    Democrats (and the Institutional Republicans) are clearly (a) stupid and (b) corrupt, and are for sale to any foreign interest. But surely even they can see they are sawing off the branch they are sitting on? Cui bono?

    Europeans love to hate Americans and would be delighted to see the US fail. China and Russia would be glad to see the US taken off the table. But unless all the CongressScum have invitations to Hunter Biden’s palatial bolt hole in the Ukraine, they are the ones who are going to be left behind in an angry impoverished nation when the situation goes pear-shaped. Dangerous position for them personally. Surely they recognize this?

  60. “Surely they recognize this?”

    I’ve lost track of the number of things that I thought a seemingly rational actor might have taken note of before following a particularly destructive course of action… And, which they blithely ignored.

    Smart parasites don’t kill their hosts. Ours ain’t smart.

  61. We are coming up to 100,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan. Does that seem like a lot of people?

    I had not anticipated a need to evacuate quite so many people, and at this point it looks more like a media circus, rather than a serious endeavour.

  62. }}}} They offered up Bin Laden, if you could have shown them some kind of proof, as they were horrified by 9/11. Not what you wanted. Hi ho.

    Fuck, you’re a total moron. Not even worthy to take the time to destroy.

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