Seriously, I never expected much from American adventuring in Afghanistan, and that was even well-before 9-11. Everything that I had read about the place – starting with Kipling, and even pop novels like MM Kaye’s The Far Pavilions, and G.M. Fraser’s Flashman series – especially the first Flashman adventure, which covered the First Afghan War in rollicking (and considering current events) depressing detail. All that I ever read about the place signaled “handle with extreme care, equipped with asbestos gloves and long tongs” to one uninitiated into the mysteries of international relations. Considering how those considered to be credentialed experts in that region have karked up the American withdrawal from Kabul and Afghanistan proper … one might very well conclude that a survey of popular historical novels dealing with the place and people therein might afford a better grasp of realities. Those military in the lower and mid-ranks who had the experience of deployments there had pretty much come to the same conclusion, if my readings of other milblogs, and posts on social media are any indication. Once we settled Bin Laden’s hash, there really appeared no particular reason to linger.
As I wrote in 2013, “Keep the money flowing, and a couple of units of Special Forces to thump the obvious Talibunnies when they got too obstreperous, secure Kabul and some of the other population centers, and generally administer to the theater with a very light hand. Let the indigenes sort out their own salvation and keep them from damaging anyone else. Of course, our current administration, not known for any other political and international savvy than it needs to keep the Chicago political machine functioning, thought otherwise. Now there is a steady trickle of metal coffins coming back, to practically no notice in the news media than that in the hometowns of the deceased. (Anyone know if the current president has a private meeting with every family/next of kin to those killed in combat? The usual search engines are … unproductive of answers in this regard.)
The final military and civilian evacuation from Afghanistan over the last week and a half was bungled, bungled so catastrophically, the incompetence so monumental that I can’t even begin to get my head around it. That the highest levels in the DOD and State Department didn’t even make a gesture towards doing the jobs that we assumed they were doing – their assigned jobs, not just hunting for white racists in the ranks and ensuring a profitable post-service career for themselves. The mandarinate at State Department had no idea of how many American citizens were actually in-country, the American embassy in Kabul didn’t even make a token plan to notify them of imminent danger and the necessity of departing forthwith, which is mind-blowing in itself. The DOD top echelons, from Secretary Austin and General “Vanilli” Milley appear to have sat on their hands, obeying the mumbled orders of the senile potted plant in the Oval Office. A single Marine light-bird has publicly resigned his commission over this disaster, although the inner corridors of the Pentagon ought to be piled high with the bodies of those in top commands having committed hara-kiri in sheer professional shame at having blundered so badly. Giving up Bagram AB, leaving millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and vehicles, turning away American citizens at the gates of the Kabul airport, abandoning those local Afghanis and their families who had aided us, and not even bothering to inform our NATO allies in country? Oh, and abandoning military service dogs at the airport, just to add a touch of rancid frosting on this cake of fail. Responsibility goes to the top, to the senile old fool sitting behind the Resolute desk, who can’t even endure a solemn ceremony at Dover AFB without looking at his watch.
I won’t go so far as to accuse everyone who voted for the FICUS of having blood on their hands – the blood of the thirteen killed at the Abbey gate this week, or all of those American troops previously killed in Afghanistan. I know some of those voters – and charitably allow that all they knew was what they watched and read in our disgusting establishment media. But I will say that those who engineered his election by fraud, and those in the establishment media who enabled him by their partisan coverage – they own this disaster.
Discuss as you can bear it. Where are we headed from here?