Biden’s Victory Parade

In Anton Myrer’s novel Once an Eagle, and the made-for-tv movie that was based on it, the protagonists are two US Army officers whose lives and careers are followed over several decades.  Sam Damon is a true fighting man, dedicated to his troops and to the mission,  while Courtney Massengale is pretty much a total careerist.  At one point during WWII, Damon is conducting a desperate last-ditch defense against the Japanese, while not all that far away, on the same Pacific island, Massengale is leading a ‘victory parade’ through the streets of a town that had been liberated…a parade mostly in his own honor, it seems.

Biden wanted the symbolism of ending the Afghanistan war on 9/11, a nice round number of years from the event that led to that war. That’s the kind of thing that is important to him.  The 9/11 speech that he intended to give about the end of the war was to have been his own victory parade.

70 thoughts on “Biden’s Victory Parade”

  1. It’s amazing that somehow this century our two decrepit political parties have decided to nominate complete non-entity Senators for president repeatedly, despite zero historical evidence that this is a smart thing to do. At least the GOP started it off by nominating a prominent leader (Dole), but since then career back-benchers Kerry, McCain, and Slow Joe have disgraced the ballot. When historians write about Obama it will be with amazement that this non-entity became president, and his choice of running mate will be looked at at one of his biggest blunders.
    Regarding Afghanistan, all I can say is that Ben Rhodes’ comment about the complete ignorance of the DC media could apply equally well to the foreign policy establishment, who are all complete and total jokes. Look at the resumes of our “elite”–generals who somehow after 30 years of war never saw any actual combat, foreign policy “experts” with nothing but academic credentials and zero accomplishments, etc.

  2. Brian…”generals who somehow after 30 years of war never saw any actual combat, foreign policy “experts” with nothing but academic credentials and zero accomplishments, etc.” Continuing the analogy with Once an Eagle: Courtney Massengale preferred Staff appointments, where his political skills served him well. Yet he was eventually appointed to a Corps command.

    Biden hasn’t been in Staff appointments, exactly, but he’s spent his career as a legislator. Someone, somewhere–at Ricochet, maybe–made the astute point that when you are a legislator, your actions are *diluted*…it is hard to trace the way you voted on an issue to the outcome. But when you are a senior executive, your actions start having clearly-identifiable consequences.a

  3. NYT is trying hard to pull this off for Joe. The following is from the Althouse blog:

    “The nation’s top national security officials assembled at the Pentagon early on April 24 for a secret meeting to plan the final withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan….”
    “… Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with top White House and intelligence officials. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken joined by video conference. After four hours, two things were clear. First, Pentagon officials said they could pull out the remaining 3,500 American troops, almost all deployed at Bagram Air Base, by July 4…. Second, State Department officials said they would keep the American Embassy open, with more than 1,400 remaining Americans protected by 650 Marines and soldiers. An intelligence assessment presented at the meeting estimated that Afghan forces could hold off the Taliban for one to two years.”

    This Althouse link references the NY Times article and some of the planning details. You should know that the NYT comments were favorable to Joe. This is evolving on the Prog side as an unfortunate but necessary tragedy. My favorite comment on the Althouse thread is from Biff.

  4. @Exasperated – I heard basically this exact thing from a prog person that I know. “Oh that’s what happened in Vietnam, and shouldn’t surprise anyone that this is what happened here” or something to that end.

    I knew right then and there that NPR and whatever other media that this person consumes were already creating that narrative.

  5. Blaming the intelligence services should not, of course, get Biden off the hook. The intelligence services work for him. He chooses the DNI, and can make whatever changes he wants in the agency management. He had the opportunity to probe and ask questions.

    If I had had a disastrous sales year in a business unit I was running, it wouldn’t have done me any good to blame the sales director. The response would have been, ‘well, you picked her.’

  6. This is what I’ve been thinking for a while. Once Miley and Austin were convinced that an exit was absolutely necessary to give Biden a ‘win’ then work backwards from a victory speech at Andrews on 11 September 2021 and the decisions fit. They even didn’t necessarily have believe the estimates that the ANSDF could hold for 90 days but they figured Kabul would be safe for 30 days, enough to get everybody important home.

  7. “Once Miley and Austin were convinced that an exit was absolutely necessary to give Biden a ‘win’ ”
    I don’t think this is right. I’m sure they thought they could convince Biden to leave a residual force forever. They thought Trump was serious about withdrawing, so they stonewalled him completely, and I’m sure they were shocked to be told that they had to withdraw everything. They probably assumed that something like “we have withdrawn all our fighting forces” would be good enough, and the gravy train could continue indefinitely…

  8. Biden claimed that any different withdrawal would require committing more troops–this, after first drawing down to 2500 and then putting twice that many back in? Fails even basic logic, but millions will lap it up.

    Amen to the senator-bashing. I’ve long maintained that the US Senate is a lousy place to look for leadership. Off the top of my head, not many former Senators have been elected president direct from the place, and there’s a reason. A. Johnson was a disaster, Truman I have a certain amount of respect for, LBJ was probably the most twisted person to occupy the White House, and a cowardly failure to boot.

    Obama was an empty suit, and Harris is an empty pantsuit.

    As a sidenote, whenever someone proposes that the Electoral College be eliminated, I ask, why not the Senate too? Doesn’t it give outsize influence to small-population states full of mostly white people?

  9. I keep referring to Lara Logan and her interviews where she asserts that this disaster is the intended result for the radicals who run Biden. The US is a racist, colonialist country that deserves to be humiliated. Biden may or may not have had a hand in this. One aspect of dementia is sudden rage when questioned or contradicted. We have already seen a few examples of this. (“Dog faced pony soldier.”) If there are any competent military figures around Biden, one might have questioned the decision to pull out military first. An angry reply might have been accepted as a decision.

  10. Brian, nope, the force level had already begun to go down in 2019. I was under a similar impression but Trump wasn’t being stonewalled. Now I did find some reports that there was a plan to keep a force of around one to two thousand in Afghanistan long-term but it appears *that* was the plan that was scrapped by Biden.

    July 6, 2016: Saying the security situation in Afghanistan “remains precarious,” Obama announces that instead of dropping the U.S. troop level to 5,500, he will keep it at about 8,400 through the end of his term on Jan. 20, 2017. He said his successor can determine the next move.

    (that’s down from a peak of about 100,000 in 2011 during the Obama surge)

    In January 2021 –

    The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan has also reached 2,500. At its high point in 2011, there were 98,000 U.S. troops in the country.

    “Today, the United States is closer than ever to ending nearly two decades of war and welcoming in an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace process to achieve a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire,” Miller said.

    In August last year, there were 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. Miller said the force of 2,500 will give commanders “what they need to keep America, our people and our interests safe.”

    President Joe Biden said the war in Afghanistan was never meant to be multi-generational, as he officially announced the drawdown of all 2,500 U.S. troops in that country beginning May 1 and concluding by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the war.

  11. It’s ironic: Old Chomsky and Hermann used to argue that what were called “failures of US foreign policy” were actually disasters deliberately engineered by US elites.

    File under Things That Make You Go Hmmm.

  12. except they always took the side of the insurgents, and cast american policy in the worst possible way, chomsky and gareth porter, for example, did everything possible to white wash the khmer rouge, sarah chayes was always complaining about karzai, fine he’s been out of the picture, for a while, I hope she ‘hearts the taliban’ a quarter century ago, if memory serves they were welcomed because they were ‘the iron fist’ who would put away the strife of the warlords, massoud vs. hekmatyar, (who was the fave of western intelligence) yes the guy who threw acid at women, in kabul u, he was the golden boy of charlie wilson, much like those who wished for a Russian pinochet, among the liberal class, who would tame the oligarchs, they didn’t like the model that turned out,

  13. I don’t think any of us were opposed to getting out. The issue was the aftermath and how to keep it under some sort of control. Running out at night and leaving the civilians behind was bound to encourage the Taliban to celebrate and they celebrate by killing people. Again, the Taliban are a branch of the Pakistani ISI. As long as we treat the Pakis as allies, we are going to be suckers. When India was flirting with the USSR, it made sense to favor the Pakis. Not now.

  14. I have no doubt Trump wanted out, and got stymied by Mattis and Tillerson. Once he got Pompeo working for him it does look like things started moving in the right general direction. I fully expect, however, that he and his team recognized that a precipitous withdrawal would result in the exact sort of chaos that we’re seeing now, as well as giving up any leverage we had when negotiating. They walked a tight rope for with considerable success (4 combat deaths in 2020).

    It is no credit to Biden and his generals that they plunged head-long into an operation with a timetable that appears to have been dictated largely by political symbolism.

  15. The Khmer Rouge didn’t really need whitewashing, since the USG eventually took their side against the Vietnamese for US reasons of state. Some argue that more material support was given but that’s probably a stretch.

    As a rule of thumb, Good Guys are hard to find in the Third World, and especially the Muslim portions. Makes it easy for ideologues to argue in favor of this or that group while ignoring the realities of power, and the irrelevance of Western observers.

  16. along with the noncommunist resistance, nkpa, which were some of lol nol and sirik matak’s men, operating out of thailand, I remember young shawcross tried to blame nixon and kissinger whereas it was that jerk prince sihanouk who gave sanctuary to the vietcong and later to the khmer,

  17. The question of why Milley and the bureaucracy stonewalled Trump and then blithely followed Biden’s commands into disaster can likely be answered by asking the question alongside that one of “Where did all the money come from, and where did it go, precisely…?”.

    I would submit that it is not outside the realm of possibility that Taliban money flowed not only into the pockets of the Afghan military leadership and government figures, but into some of those we’d find hard to accept.

    There’s way, way too much incompetence on display here, for there to be any reasonable suspicion that all of this “…just happened…”. Abandonment of Bagram Airbase, by stealth on July 4th? Without telling the locals? Shutting down the aviation maintenance and intelligence support for the Afghan Army?

    Note well: Not a single flag-rank officer went to Congress or the public and fell on their sword over the last 8 months. Nobody went on record with a media outlet saying that this was a bad idea. The implication is, I am afraid, that they were all on-board for the whole deal, and felt not one whit of loyalty to the troops they lead and the dead we left behind.

    Similarly, note well that none of the Department of Justice personnel involved in or knowledgeable of Fast and Furious went on record or “blew the whistle” over the massive and egregious violations of firearms laws necessitated by that operation.

    Our “elite” government agencies are not only corrupt and incompetent, they’re all venal and disloyal to the people they theoretically serve.

    Frankly, the longer I watch this shitshow go on, waiting for some honest officer or figure in the government to grow sick of the whole thing, and come clean with the nation…? The more I’m convinced that we’re not only done as a nation, we fully deserve it, and whatever is coming.

    The sheer mendacity and venality on display… If you disagreed with Trump, then the thing to do would have been to do what MacArthur did over the War Department budget with FDR; confront and go public with it all. You don’t sit there in your job, lying your ass off about everything, and then immediately do just what Trump wanted under the next administration, but without any of the common sense that Trump’s withdrawal plans had built-in.

    And, the miserable bastards have the temerity to point at Trump and blame him for this blowing up in their faces! WTF? I don’t recall seeing anywhere in the outline of what Trump had planned an action item like “…abandon Bagram AFB in the middle of the night and rely on the Taliban letting us use Kabul as our departure airhead…”.

    Seriously, people: That’s what they call a “tell” in a poker game. You’re being played by these people, and while we can’t see to what end, we can definitely tell when we’re in a con game. Just like the way they’ve carefully let the Taliban have the Pakistani border regions as safe haven, and been paying off the Pakistani military. Money is fungible, folks–Those dollars to Pakistan have been killing American and Afghanis since 2001. And, our “leadership” has let that happen.

  18. What Kirk said – honestly, this farrago of fail is just too big to be ignored … especially by veterans, most of us at the lower level know damned well how the sausage is made.
    All the years that I was overseas, I had to have current forms filled out for who would accompany my daughter to CONUS, and who would take custody of her afterwards, in case of an evacuation of non-essential personnel … read, the spouses and spawn of active-duty, in the event of such an evacuation being judged necessary. (In that event, my then-minor daughter would have to go along with whichever military spouse would agree to accept that responsibility and deliver her to my parents in California, while I would stay behind to do my damned job.)
    That suddenly all that has gone out the window … our so-called elite leadership have caved their responsibilities in a huge way. As in ‘huge enough to be seen by the Hubble space telescope. I am fairly certain there were standard evacuation plans sitting on the shelf, with blanks to be filled in, regarding country, number of civilian dependents and personnel, and the evacuation points and procedures. The Biden misadministration owns this debacle.

  19. @Sgt. Mom,

    I think what pisses me off is the evidence before us for just how stupid they think we are. You could expect some degree of sheer incompetence, yes… But, this amount? There is no way that that is “accidental” or “unintended”. They had to know what was coming, just like that guy beating on the side of the concrete silo. It might not be this hit, but you know damn good and well one of them was going to cause the whole thing to come down in a massive collapse.

    Bagram AFB? Seriously? Abandoned in the middle of the night, without even bothering to inform the Afghans on it? How much more of a clue do you need about this?

    Honest to God, I’m starting to wonder if the Taliban hasn’t been bribing our General officers, at this point. It’d be damned hard to tell the difference, if they were…

  20. “I’m starting to wonder if the Taliban hasn’t been bribing our General officers, at this point. It’d be damned hard to tell the difference, if they were…”

    Indeed – this kind of fail is too comprehensive.

  21. jules conway, a british officer who has operated in the stans, now he works for the halo trust, has an interesting series of novels about the experience in the sandbox, one of them the agent runner, was very frank about the pakistani allies so to speak, the antagonist is a thinly disquised hamid gul the isi emeritus chief, who serves the taliban but also secretly collaborates with MI 6, the title character is a half indian army officer edward malik who runs an agent into the isi, until the time of the raid on abbotabad, events rapidly spiral out of control and he is disowned by the service, and that’s where his problems really begin,

  22. The corruption in the system isn’t hidden at all–Austin wasn’t put on Raytheon’s board because of his business acumen. Milley’s probably wetting his pants wondering if he’s blown his chance at a board seat. And the answer is of course not. No one in DC pays a consequence for anything.

    Like I said before, there’s a perfectly plausible case that a deal was cut between the US and the Afghan government and the Taliban to bring the Taliban in without a long war that they’d have won anyway…

  23. Brian: ” here’s a perfectly plausible case that a deal was cut between the US and the Afghan government and the Taliban to bring the Taliban in without a long war that they’d have won anyway…”

    That would have been perfectly plausible if the Swamp Creatures had arranged for such a chaotic departure last October, before the Presidential Election, when it could all have been pinned on Trump by the usual Leftie media.

    But surely any 3-way deal like that would have required at a minimum a graceful US departure once Resident Biden* was in the hot seat? Why would any Democrat Swampster have agreed to pull out of Bagram until it was clear the Taliban were living up to their side of the putative deal and giving Sleepy Joe the triumph of ending the war?

  24. Well, if I’m trying to imagine a “plan” to explain this clusterfark rather than just gross incompetence, I might say what if there was an offer made to the Taliban to show our “good faith” by putting ourselves in their hands for the last few weeks of the withdrawal?
    There’s always been whispers that the Benghazi fiasco was intended to be a staged “kidnapping” and “hostage” ordeal for the ambassador, remember. Could you really not imagine that these idiots in DC wouldn’t make up some brilliant plan to offer thousands of US personnel as hostages at the airport, to show the Taliban that we were fair dealers?

  25. How does this allegation factor into your thinking:
    I learned Pashto as a U.S. Marine captain and spoke to everyone I could there: everyday people, elites, allies and yes, even the Taliban…….The truth is that the Afghan National Security Forces was a jobs program for Afghans, propped up by U.S. taxpayer dollars — a military jobs program populated by nonmilitary people or “paper” forces (that didn’t really exist) and a bevy of elites grabbing what they could when they could.

    I have heard some claims about ghost soldier payrolls. I don’t know if this is true, but it would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? If true, what are the implications of this? If the appearance of the Afghan troop strength is an illusion, who knew? Why didn’t somebody stand up and prevent the debacle from moving forward?

  26. Brian — I have to agree that anything is possible, thanks to the credentialed idiot Swamp Creatures. If we look to history, Democrat bureaucrats have done equally stupid things in the past.

    In Sean McMeekin’s excellent book “Stalin’s War“, he describes how FDR’s live-in advisor Harry Hopkins (a Communist fellow-traveler) was sent to meet Stalin after conflict broke out between Germany and the USSR in 1941. Hopkins by-passed the US Embassy staff in Moscow, since they had a realistic view of Stalin and his regime. He met with Stalin and gave him a blank check — no effort to use Stalin’s desperate need for US help to extract any concessions from Stalin, not even getting a promise to cooperate with the US or repay US aid. FDR stretched US law to donate aid & war materiel to the USSR, in the face of widespread opposition in the US — where most people (including at that time even many CongressCritters) saw no problem with Fascists fighting Communists while we stood back. FDR even diverted desperately needed Lend-Lease equipment from the embattled UK to Stalin’s Communist forces.

    There is nothing new about US “leadership” and bureaucracy pursuing their private agendas at the expense of the American people. The sad part is that we have allowed this, again & again.

  27. Well, by all accounts (i.e., if you read foreign media, because our media is completely and totally worthless, easily the worst in the entire world), we’re a week from the biggest military and diplomatic fiasco in American history. It seems like we made a deal with the Taliban, exactly when still needs to be revealed, whether it was prior to our main withdrawal or after they captured Kabul, for neither side to attack the other until August 31, and we can’t get the job done in that time and they have no reason to agree to an extension…

  28. @Exasperated,

    Everything you say is true, and backed up by the fact that people I trust told me the same things, years ago.

    Let me repeat something to you: You’re a former Marine officer. I’m a retired Army combat arms NCO. What was, pray tell, one of the very first and most basic things they taught both of us about fighting a counter-insurgency war?

    Isolate the battlefield. Deny the insurgent safe harbor, sources of funding, and supply.

    Did we do that? Ever? Just how much money did we give the Pakistanis, over the years…?

    Now, couple that question that I pose with your observations. What do those facts tell you…?

    We’ve been had. The people we trusted form a kakistocracy of utter shamelessness, and they did not mean what they told us and our troops when we went into Afghanistan. Someone had a set of entirely ulterior motives and intents when we were doing our jobs, training our troops, and watching them go in-theater. Our dead didn’t die in a good cause–They may have thought they were, but the sad reality is that our higher leadership, both military and political, have rendered their sacrifices meaningless, turning them into jokes.

    I think that that is what hurts the most, these days–The realization that I’ve been a part of a fraud, a shill, a patsy–Not a citizen-soldier defending the people of my nation and helping our allies do the same, but a fucking Judas goat leading other fools into the cauldron of war, and getting them killed so some ass-clown like Milley can put on a uniform mocking the WWII Army’s, and wear ribbons and bright shiny badges galore.

    I said it when I watched these deviant fat fucks design and procure yet another dress uniform after forcing the old one down everyone’s throats less than ten years before. Just like Shinseki with his “black berets for everyone! We’ll all be Rangers, ‘cos we’ll have their hats!!!!” mentality, these uniformed poltroons do not know a damn thing about really being soldiers, or how real soldiers think.

    We’re due for a total collapse. Post-Vietnam reforms will not be enough–The rot goes far, far too deep. This is not just a case of there being a “slight corruption of the body”, this is soul-deep and beyond, if such a thing is possible. I cannot fathom being an oath-sworn officer of the Republic, and doing the things these creatures have done, without afterwards taking my own life in order to expiate the shame.

    They’ve rendered every single life offered up at their order and instruction into the same sort of sad joke that the world looks at the witting victims of swindlers and con artists. They did not mean the platitudes they mouthed, as they sent us off to war. We were fools to believe them, and that is what hurts the most.

  29. Kirk : Thank you for your service.
    My Apologies, I see that I didn’t make it clear that I was taking an excerpt from a the KC Star .
    The linked first person/ guest op-ed was written by Marine Captain Lucas Kunce a Cole County, MO native and antitrust advocate. He is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

  30. If you’re not readying yourself for the videos of people’s heads being hacked off, stonings, and gang-rapes…?

    Well, you’re a lot more optimistic than I am, that’s for sure.

    Also, look for what happens when all of the carefully-inserted sleeper agents and entire cells go active, here in the US.

    Biden voters and enablers have a meeting with destiny, and it won’t be pretty.

  31. Reportedly, the sock puppet said he will get out of Afghanistan by the Taliban’s set date of Aug 31 — because otherwise there would be a terrorism risk. (Second hand — I did not watch his announcement).

    It makes no sense for Resident Biden* to be worried about terrorism in Afghanistan — after all, NYT will not report anything from there which would embarrass him; only about terrorism in the US. Which makes me think Kirk is on to something with the Taliban threatening to activate “carefully-inserted sleeper agents”.

    Biden* is not just abandoning American citizens and Afghans, he is also forcing European nations to abandon their citizens. End of NATO?

    The big issue is when the US Dollar ceases to be accepted in international trade. Sleepy Joe is bringing that day closer & closer.

  32. Gavin, it’s not Biden that’s bringing that day closer and closer. You need to disabuse yourself of the notion that this is just a single point of failure.

    What’s “…bringing that day closer & closer.” is the Uniparty kakistocracy and the lazy entitled electorate that has enabled them and tolerated generations of fraudulent incrementalism. We all did this to ourselves, collectively. We put up with Bush getting us into Afghanistan, we put up with Kennedy and LBJ getting us into Vietnam, and we tolerated the low-key frauds that were FDR and Truman. We’ve earned this, and Biden et al are but symptoms.

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings are warming up, offstage, as we speak. The denouement is not far off, and it won’t be pretty.

  33. “Reportedly, the sock puppet said he will get out of Afghanistan by the Taliban’s set date of Aug 31 — because otherwise there would be a terrorism risk. (Second hand — I did not watch his announcement).
    It makes no sense for Resident Biden* to be worried about terrorism in Afghanistan — after all, NYT will not report anything from there which would embarrass him; only about terrorism in the US. Which makes me think Kirk is on to something with the Taliban threatening to activate “carefully-inserted sleeper agents”.
    Biden* is not just abandoning American citizens and Afghans, he is also forcing European nations to abandon their citizens. End of NATO?”

    If it was something like blackmail, wouldn’t they share this with Euro allies? I’m just grasping at straws, maybe it’s all just theater.

  34. Wait- Democrat candidate for the Senate?

    Oh, hold on here. (Goes and reads editorial.)

    Yep, lying shill. Let me quote Mr. Democrat candidate:

    The right call was getting out in 2002.

    Hindsight is 20/20, right? I bet flat no one was actually saying this in 2002- and if they had, the public would not have supported this policy. If he was actually running for office in 2002, he’d have been shrieking about how the right call was to do something completely different during the Reagan or first Bush administrations, ignoring anything Bill Clinton did or did not do. I’m old enough to remember that sort of thing, most often the claim that first we “abandoned” Afghanistan after the Soviets left, while Reagan was president.

    As an aside, if I was yanking happy hindsight fantasies out of my anus, I’d pick one where the 9/11 attack was stopped by a competent government, eliminating the need for the Afghan adventure entirely.

    I can’t believe that would be a controversial proposal, but already in Washington, we see some of the same architects of these Middle Eastern disasters balking at the idea of investing a fraction of that amount to build up our own country.

    In other words, anyone who objects to the present Democrat plans to federalize elections and bail out blue states is even worse than the people who gave us the Afghanistan and Iraq catastrophes. Mm-Hmmm.

    The lies about Afghanistan matter not just because of the money spent or the lives lost, but because they are representative of a systematic dishonesty that is destroying our country from the inside out.

    You don’t say. I’ll get back to this lying stuff shortly.

    What happened last week was inevitable, and anyone saying differently is still lying to you.

    In other words, abandoning vast amounts of military equipment, abandoning Bagram airbase at night without even telling our Afghan clients, eliminating the Trump plan to get Americans out and then abandoning thousands to the Taliban- nothing could be done, it wasn’t Biden’s fault, it was just inevitable.

    Systematic dishonesty- yep, sounds about right.

    I despise this man after only one editorial. If you wonder how the country has run so far off the rails, this is why. This guy was a marine captain- one of many thousands- and somehow he thinks and the demonrat party believes he is qualified to be a US senator.

    He isn’t, despite those awesome teeth. Neither is Tammy Duckworth, helicopter pilot- or that Arizona Republican either.

    We’d be better off with Caligula’s horse.

  35. but we were told, there was no further al queda elements, much less islamic state, the times of india noted how dubious that notion is, in my novel jambiya, I put the political security organization in yemen, as a major mover in that country’s problem, just like the isi knew where bin laden was at all times, that organization had a good grip on awlaki, but he was the son of a government minister, who was from a leading tribe in the South,

  36. In the final analysis, the path of wisdom after 9/11 would have been to forthrightly bring out the evidence of ISI entanglement in the creation and operation of the Taliban, the nature of their intertwined relationship with al Qaeda, along with the evidence of Saudi involvement, insofar as there is no credible way that 15 of the hijackers could have all gotten clean, new passports and vetted visas from the Saudi government without the knowing involvement of someone in that government.

    Once that was done, the Bush administration should have stood on the ruins of the World Trade Center and demanded redress and reparations from both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Absent that being offered up willingly, the next step should have been war, starting with the removal and/or destruction of Pakistani nuclear weapons, and ending with the utter destruction of both nations ruling regimes.

    That’s what we should have done. Unfortunately, George W. Bush is a “nice guy” who wants to be friends with everyone in the world, and not make waves. So, here we are…

    The center of gravity for 9/11 was never in either Afghanistan or Iraq; those were always fulcrums for the Bush attempt at implementing ju-jitsu in international affairs. The real centers of gravity were in Peshawar, Abbottabad, and Riyadh, which we signally never directly addressed.

    I have to blame Bush for all of this, TBH. He never should have committed us to a strategy that meant staying on, steadfast and patient, while the Arab/Islamic world grew up to take their place as adults in the 21st Century. It was too much to ask, and far too much to expect out of his opposition, traitors that they were and are.

  37. Kirk, the only thing I would suggest to you is don’t sell Obama’s decade long contribution to this fiasco short. He, and most of the Democrat party in 2004-2014, cynically claimed that W was fighting the ‘wrong’ war, then as soon as he could abandoned an Iraq that could have stayed stable with a minimum of US involvement, lead a one hundred thousand man surge into a war in Afghanistan that the Democrats are now claiming could never have been successful, and then didn’t do the hard work of either justifying our continuing presence or getting out.

  38. Yeah, two wars went so well, why not four?

    When they talk about an “Intelligence” failure, keep in mind they’re not talking about a Taliban division hidden in a forest that nobody knew about. The failure was not knowing that between one and two thirds of the Afghan “Army” were names on a roster for the purpose of somebody collecting the pay and allowances we were providing. That the army that actually existed was totally dependent on helicopters for supply and aircraft for support and intelligence. That 100% of all the aircraft maintenance was dependent on American contractors that weren’t about to find themselves the only Americans in 500 miles and would be damn sure to be gone before the U.S. Army left. The contractors had a realistic picture of what support they would have after that.

    All in all, a mirror image of what happened in Iraq when we left.

  39. “Unfortunately, George W. Bush is a “nice guy” who wants to be friends with everyone in the world, and not make waves”
    I don’t think this is accurate at all, not really. His father was former CIA director, and it’s abundantly clear at this point that the CIA and their equivalents around the world are the malignant force that liberals always used to say they were. They’re not funny incompetents, they’re legitimately bad actors who need to be obliterated. And they’re basically a bunch of Ivy League credentialed morons who think they should run everything, regardless of what the masses, who are all uneducated yokels, think. And George W is the apotheosis of the breed. (Slick Willy and Barry O as well, of course, though they are different in that they strived to get in the club while W was born into it.)
    So it’s not that he wants to be “friends” with Pakistan, but he honestly thinks that he and his “elite” cronies, and the “elite” of Pakistan can run things better than the great unwashed masses of either country. And we sit here and say, well, of course they’re right about Pakistan, but we somehow overlook that They look at us the same way.

  40. Brian, I think you missed the quotation marks I put on that term. Bush, from what I’ve seen, has this drive to be liked.

    The tells are how he did all those wunnerful, wunnerful things for the wounded when they came back, the personal touch he put to dealing with the casualties, and all the rest. While expending those lives entrusted to him by the American people to conduct what could only be a generations-long project, the reform and modernization of Islam via force. It’s only hypocrisy from the perspective of one of his victims–Internally, he can still think he was doing right, choosing the lesser of two evils. And, to a degree, he was–The fallout from the sort of proposed confrontation and war I suggest we should have waged would have been enormous, possibly into the range of billions with the deaths, given that Pakistan would likely nuke the ever lovin’ snot out of India, and that the loss of cheap Saudi oil would mean starvation across the Third World–After all, their fertilizer has to come from somewhere, no?

    Bush had no right to do what he did without taking it to Congress. WWII led to the occupation and reform of two militarist powers that had caused problems for a century or more–But, that was done under a declaration of war, fully authorized by Congress. Bush obligated us to a program that nobody else really even knew about, and here we are: It’s a disaster. On ice skates.

    Obama bears responsibility for a part of it, along with Clinton. Absent the Clinton’s fecklessness, no 9/11. Jamie Gorelick would not have had a job…

    However, they were only able to wield their malign influence because of multiple Bush failures–First Bush? He let Clinton come to office, because of his utter and essential ineptitude as a President. Second Bush? His failure to explain what he was doing, and to counter the seditious BS that the Democrats and the media made so pervasive resulted in an Obama win. And, make no mistake–If we were, indeed, in a state of “war on terror”, then wartime rules apply, and everything that the Democrats did, from meeting with the Syrians to every other little treasonous act, should have been treated under wartime law for such affairs. Pelosi and her crew going to Syria was no different than it would have been had WWII-era senators gone to Nazi Germany during the conflict to “negotiate”. Do remember that at the time, Syria was hosting and supplying forces that were actively engaged in killing American troops in Iraq, just like Iran was doing.

    The Bushes are, I fear, feckless half-wits that have no idea what they are doing. The senior Bush totally screwed the after-situation once the Soviet Union fell, and Clinton continued the process, enabling what should have been a generational win into an utter alienation of what should have been the primary power on the Eurasian landmass. It would have been easy to help, rather than unleash the grifters and carpetbaggers that we did, and now we have Putin. Bush had no idea what he was doing, at all, when the Democrats baited him into breaking that idiotic “No new taxes” pledge, and then was utterly ineffective in highlighting the blackmail they’d used to do it. Idiot. His son? No better–Probably the biggest question of our post-Cold War era is that of the responsibility of Westphalian nation-states to rein in and be held responsible for the foreign adventures of their citizens, such that non-state actors don’t go around doing things like 9/11, allowing proxies to make terror-war on others and get away with it. What did Bush do? Totally ignored that, in what he was doing. Which, I believe, is going to lead to more and more escalation down the years, until we likely lose a major city to some idiot with a bomb, a chemical plant, or access to biolabs.

    No, in the end, the Clintons and Obamas of the world do what they’re going to do, but to really screw things up, you have to have some blind idiot with good intentions–The Bush legacy.

    Frankly, if I were him, instead of glad-handing the Obamas, I’d be thinking of all the wasted lives that I might just as well have murdered myself, and I’d have probably eaten the end of a revolver not too long ago.

    Thing that pisses me off, the most? I’m pretty sure that in his mind, he did the magnanimous thing, the noble thing… With our lives and treasure. Generous of him, wasn’t it? My dead litter the plains of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan: Where are his? Any Bushes serving, these days?

  41. a brief precis
    the isi created the taliban out of the mujahadin groups they told the us to fund, khalis, haqquani, hekmatyar (who isn’t taliban but was at war with massoud) raisul sayyaf, because they are a nuclear power, partially through aq khan but also through china’s efforts, we didn’t do more than a few drone strikes, it might be said that hamid gul was the godfather, and milt bearden didn’t see this right in front of him,

  42. Kirk and Brian, interesting debate. I tend to agree with both of you. Pakistan is the evil manipulator behind the Taliban. I also agree with “Anonymous” (Miguel) that the Pakis created the Taliban from the Mujahadin. Too bad Rummy is not here to give his opinion as I think he wanted to smack the Taliban and Saddam and get out. Nation building attemnpts were insane although I supported the Iraq thing for a while as I thought there was some hope for Iraq. I know a few Iraqis but, of course, they had left long before Saddam. I also agree that Bush I squandered the end of the Cold War sending credentialed grifters like Sachs to help Yeltsin.

  43. The really amazing thing to me? You never, ever hear these sorts of critiques from the supposed intelligentsia… You only ever hear them in coffee-table discussions going on during command-post exercises, or whenever you run into mid-level people from State or the Defense Department, people you know will never wind up in charge of anything, because “reasons”.

    I’m pretty sure you could fire the top third of our government, in terms of position, then randomly select from the remaining middle third for executive position, and you’d wind up with some really capable, clear-eyed, and competent decision-makers.

    I think the clearest evidence we have before us about the decline and fall of our civilization is that the system we’ve built isn’t selecting or promoting effective, sensible people into positions of power within that system. It’s the Peter Principle on steroids, with the venal incompetents rising to the top like scum on top of a sewage pond. And, it isn’t that there aren’t good people, down below, either–It’s just that they’re ignored and sidelined.

    The Army could have been ready for the IED campaign in 2003. The reason it wasn’t? Nobody listened to a whole bunch of people that were raising the issue as early as 1993. Ten years, and multiple programs that should have been changed to deal with the issue, and we did nothing.

    Another sign of decline and fall? Has there been one single Congressional hearing or internal investigation into how that was allowed to happen? Did any of those feather-bedding civilian and military “managers” lose their jobs or get the slightest censure for our unpreparedness? Nope; not a bit of it. Many of the responsible parties went on to promotion, and even played it up like they were responsible for the “great response” to the “IED crisis”, like it was some big surprise.

    Hell, ask yourself this: We’ve had the biggest intelligence failure imaginable, well past the level of Pearl Harbor, and nobody knows about it. Ask anyone about the OPM breach that occurred under Obama, and they’ll just look at you all googie-eyed with confusion. Yet, that’s the reason the Chinese have been able to roll up every single human-intelligence asset we have in China and around the world, something that “puzzles” our elite intelligence agencies.

    Yeah. Go figure. When the final epitaph is written for our civilization, it’s gonna basically be “They did it to themselves…”. Along with “But… But, they did so well on the tests…”, talking about our supposed “elites”.

  44. yes you look at general milley, he was with the 10th mountain early on, which was probably exhibit a in employing heavy infantry where small unit warfare sufficed, did we fail at tora bora to a degree, even though without someone like ksm they couldn’t mount another major op like 9/11, madrid and london were close though (although comey probably played a part in letting the first happen) codevilla has a very clear eyed look through the last 35 years of debris,

  45. The Bushes are, I fear, feckless half-wits that have no idea what they are doing.

    I think you’re being much too charitable towards them. I suspect they knew exactly what they were doing, and mostly got the results they desired.

    They’re globalists, like the rest of American political class, and simply don’t care that much about the United States or its people.

    Any Bushes serving, these days?

    I’m pretty sure that they think that son of !Jeb! who is Texas railroad commissioner is serving.

    So no, there aren’t.

  46. I think the clearest evidence we have before us about the decline and fall of our civilization is that the system we’ve built isn’t selecting or promoting effective, sensible people into positions of power within that system

    The functional ones probably, like Sarah Palin, went to state colleges. There was a time, before WWII, when Harvard and Yale probably turned out useful men. Definitely not since the end of the war and GI Bill.

  47. @Xennady,

    Given a choice between “stupid” and “worldwide conspiracy of the elites”, I’m going to have to go with “stupid”, at least in part because any such “worldwide conspiracy” would automatically be peopled by complete idiots in the first place. You simply cannot control things on that scale, and if there is such a thing, well… Yeah. Doomed to failure doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    Stupid is the simplest explanation, so I’m going with that. I’m also extremely leery of men with “good intentions” coupled with “stupid” and “power”: That trifecta describes most of the folly you see in world history. It all looks good when you’re planning it, but how often does the plan work out the way the planners thought it would…?

    One of the really striking things about our situation in these ridiculous times is the fact that there are so many capable-in-reality people out in the organizations and institutions run by the feckless idiot class we’ve elevated to power. They know that what their bosses are doing is stupid, they know that it will result in disaster, and yet… They still keep following orders. It’s the modern day version of Befehl ist Befehl, with the people who should be saying “Hey, wait a minute… This is dumb…” marching off the cliff right behind the dumbasses. I honestly don’t think this is at all the “norm”, not for America–In all my historical reading, you just don’t see this sort of thing, with the average person just going along with the stupidity, knowing that the cliff edge is just ahead.

    I think there’s something that has definitely changed in the American character–There’s way more fatalism, way more acquiescence to power, too much deference to the people in charge.

    I mean, for the love of God… Kamala Harris just laid a wreath at the monument that the North Vietnamese put up to commemorate their downing of John McCain, behaving as though she thought it was a monument to him… How stupid do you have to be to do that, and just how do people continue to work around or for her, witnessing that? WTF? I mean, that’s so far into surreality that I think even Dada would have thought “No, this is too ridiculous even for me…”.

    No, in the grand scheme of things, this ain’t some conspiracy. We all want to believe that, because it allows us to think that there are, somewhere, adults in charge–Even if they’re scumbag conspiracists out to rule the world. The reality is? They really are that stupid, and they’re in charge.

    How did they get there, is the question, and why is everyone still following them?

    I mean it… This is an “Emperor wanders naked through the streets…” moment, and nobody is even blinking while Joe Biden wanders through his press conferences demonstrating every symptom of senile dementia, and Kamala Harris lays a wreath at a monument to North Vietnamese victory, thinking that they built a monument to a man they held as POW and “air pirate” for years.

    I can’t even take this seriously, any more. The meter is broken, mentally–I mean, what’s next? Alien space bats flitting about Washington DC, while evil space clowns menace pedestrians on the Mall?

  48. Oh, and if anyone doubts me about Kamala in Hanoi?

    This is the monument:

    Absolutely fucking mind-bogglingly incomprehensible. The longer I sit here looking at this, the less I understand it. Who, in their right mind, would even think about putting this on the schedule for a sitting Vice President? What kind of idiot Vice President would fall for this, or think that the North Vietnamese had put up a monument in their capital in commemoration of the man they shot down while bombing them…?

    We are ruled by fucking morons. I can’t say it any more clearly, or refrain from profanity, at this point.

    I would love to hear Sgt. Mom’s take on this, if she isn’t incoherent in professional rage when she finds out about it. The sheer visual idiocy of this, from a PR standpoint…

  49. @Xennady,

    Another thought… Review the above, and then try to still convince yourself that these people are part of some vast Bilderberg global conspiracy. If that were the case, then someone within that conspiracy would have presumably had the wit and wisdom to drop a word into the ears of their patsy’s handlers, and this would never have happened.

    No, I’m afraid it’s all idiots and morons, all the way up, and all the way down. The world is run by paste-eaters whose parents managed to get them into good schools…

  50. alien ants, from that series ‘brain dead’ makes as much sense, her family are long time lefties, so from their perspective, they thought they were paying respect, ymmv

  51. @miguel cervantes,

    To who, though? Surely, not to John McCain or his family; this is a monument at the scene of his capture and the beginning of his abuse as a POW. Why would a sitting VP lay a wreath there? Was this a massive FU to the McCains?

  52. Kirk: “They know that what their bosses are doing is stupid, they know that it will result in disaster, and yet… They still keep following orders.”

    “They” in that statement is “us”. The same “us” who pay our taxes, drive at the speed limit, put on a mask, roll up our sleeves for the injection. The psychology for getting us (or most of us) to go along is quite interesting — start by ordering us to do reasonable things we almost all agree with, and then push us further & further off the road.

    This is the issue Mark Steyn keeps on raising — Where are the guys in the FBI, those mid-level good guys, who resigned rather than burn innocent children to death at Waco?

    Kirk — you may be an optimist assuming that there are still good guys left in the middle layers. There used to be — but that was then, and this is now. Our society today may be analogous to an overgrown forest — the only practical option now is to have a devastating fire, watch it burn down, and look forward to a healthy forest re-growing for our grandchildren to enjoy in their time.

  53. from their perspective, we know the bureau whistleblower who called out the fraud against ted stevens, notably the nc 17 relationship between william allen and his handler, mary beth kempner was fired, and she apparently was not, that’s just one example, but up and coming agents know where to focus, and what to steer away from,

  54. Kirk,

    Stupid just doesn’t cut as an explanation, in my opinion.

    I think people ruling Western Civilization are operating under assumptions that are fundamentally incorrect. This leads them to do many stupid things- and since they are, you know, ruling, they have the power to stop a lot of criticism that would land upon them, and much more.

    For example, Angela Merkel allowed so many Syrian refugees into her country that actual Germans of similar age are now a minority of that demographic in their own country.

    Is this stupidity? Part of a conspiracy? Treason?

    To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently thorough incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. And I think that sort of idiocy will inevitably lead people to wonder just WTF is actually going on. Hence, the conspiracy talk.

    But I also wonder exactly whyI should not consider recent events as a result of a conspiracy, when the conspirators openly boast about it? I’m thinking of the piece- by Molly Ball, if I remember- describing how our elites “fortified” the election to ensure Donald Trump wasn’t re-elected.

    Doesn’t that admission quite explicitly state that there was a conspiracy? Openly, for everyone to see?

    Oh, and if anyone doubts me about Kamala in Hanoi?

    Anyone else remember the low-level flyby over New York that Obama did with Air Force One, just after taking office?

    This incident with Kamasutra strikes me as about the same. That is, something with bad optics obviously implying something much worse, but which will be mumbled away with excuses.

    Mere stupidity just doesn’t cover it.

  55. “Kirk — you may be an optimist assuming that there are still good guys left in the middle layers. There used to be — but that was then, and this is now. Our society today may be analogous to an overgrown forest — the only practical option now is to have a devastating fire, watch it burn down, and look forward to a healthy forest re-growing for our grandchildren to enjoy in their time.”

    I’ve said the same thing, about Fast and Furious. I do think there are some competent (not good, competent…) people in the middle ranks, but the issue is that they’ve gotten into lockstep with the dumbass, and here we are. I mean, I’ve talked about the IED warfare fiasco until people are sick of hearing it, but it is something at this level that I have personal experience of, so… I go back to it like a dog going back to the vomit, again and again. One of my memories from that whole fiasco was being told, “off the record” by one of the mid-range DA civilians who was also a Major on the Reserve unit which provided our wartime staff section, that he and a bunch of other guys there at the Engineer school agreed with me, about the need to prepare for the inevitability of IED war… But… But, they couldn’t do anything. I remember asking him “Why?”, but all I got back was mumbling about budgets and constraints and stovepipes, and how nobody wanted to “own” the problem, which they would if they so much as looked at the issue seriously…

    Looking back on it, I note some similarity with the cult members I’ve run into.

    There’s something to all this, and I think it’s a part of the natural life-cycle of organizations, nations, and civilizations. We just have the misfortune to be here when the wheel is turning…

  56. If that were the case, then someone within that conspiracy would have presumably had the wit and wisdom to drop a word into the ears of their patsy’s handlers, and this would never have happened.

    Why? What exactly are the people who’d be peeved by Kamala laying that wreath going to do about it? Write a letter to the editor? Vote for various GOPes who won’t do anything at all? Vote for Trump?

    Bluntly, the people ruling the US don’t care what the people living here think, and don’t care if we get upset about their endless betrayal, either.

    Not only that, but myriads of people who would be upset will never even hear about it.

    Am I alleging a conspiracy? Or merely noticing reality?

  57. FWIW, Jack Posobiec is on Twitter saying that “…people tried to tell her that but she overruled them.”.

    “That’ being the nature of the monument, which clearly shows a caucasian with their hands up in surrender.

    So, if that bit from Posobiec is accurate, she really is that dense. Mind-boggling–This is the political genius who was the Attorney General for California, a United States Senator, and now Vice President?

    Oi, vey. We are so, so screwed.

  58. @Xennady,

    I’m gonna continue to plump down for “arrant galactic-scale stupidity” as the simplest answer to our issues.

    Honestly, if you were to prove to me that there was a conspiracy as you hypothesize, I would dance around in joy and hug you delightedly, because that would mean that there was some entity actually in charge of all this, and there was a plan, a program…

    Reality? It’s all us, and we’re all really that ‘effing stupid. This is, perhaps, the scariest thing I’ve ever contemplated, TBH. Evil conspiracists have limits and self-interest; idiots dancing on the edge of a cliff don’t have either, and that’s the case with these clowns.

  59. I think if my name was Austin or Milley, I’d stay away from bus stops for the next few months.

    Why? Neither one is exactly General Sam Damon.

    I still hold the opinion that Harris knew what she was doing which was celebrating the defeat in Vietnam.

  60. All elites go sour with time, and come to believe that their bubble-world is the whole of reality.

    And after a few decades of successful can-kicking, can-kicking becomes the norm and goal.

    Until the shit-kickers show up.

  61. What ‘end of war’? This was a U.S.retreat from a battlefield that will be moved elsewhere. Historically, this is more like Dunkirk. Next stop, the U.S.A.

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