Yes, I said it. Sweaty, dirty buttocks.
Before the Pub G and Call of Duty tough guys in their mom’s basement weigh-in on my Afghan peace party let me set the record straight.
The world still needs a big stick sometimes. And in some cases that stick needs to be used to send bad guys straight to hell. WWII was a great example of a war worth fighting. Hitler, and anyone who bought into his evil fantasy, needed to go.
The 20+ years Afghanistan War is quite the opposite. I’ll get to why in a minute.
I’m proud to have served, with a purpose, as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan immediately after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. My five-month tour was well spent. Even though I missed the birth of my son Hunter for it, I would have grabbed my deployment bags all over again if I had to.
However, there’s only so long you can play a bad opening hand of hold’em with a 2/7 off-suit. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and not throw good money after bad at the table thinking, “I’ll get that inside straight next hand!”
Afghanistan has been dealing America off-suit single-digit opening cards since 2003. Don’t believe me? Just ask anyone who’s served. Did they have a good reason for being in Afghanistan after 2003?
Then there’s the article I read today in the Economist. It popped into my Instagram feed and like a car wreck on the 101 freeway, I couldn’t look away. I generally enjoy reading the publication but nobody is perfect.
The Afghanistan war is my generation’s Vietnam, only with a better homecoming.
Onward to the article in question.
Joe Biden Is Wrong to Withdraw American Troops From Afghanistan
The Economist article states:
The Taliban are as strong as they have been since 2001. The Afghan state, backed by America and its NATO allies, is tottering. This time, however, Mr Biden is in a position to get his way. By September 11th, two decades exactly since al-Qaeda terrorists felled the twin towers, prompting America to overthrow the Taliban regime that harboured them, almost all the remaining 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan will have left. A handful will stay to guard the embassy. The decision was made against the advice of America’s generals, who had warned Mr Biden (and Donald Trump before him) not to pull out.
You can read the full article here.
Asking generals if we should stay or pull out of Afghanistan is the equivalent of yanking the ice cream from a five-year-old’s hand and asking them if they would like to leave Disneyland early.
Citing bullshit statistics around civilian losses and the Taliban’s rise of power is warm dog crap on your shoes ye authors at the Economist.
It’s not like we didn’t have any history lessons to draw from. We watched the Soviets wade into Afghanistan and get sucked down into the brown mud. We used the CIA to pour money into the Pakistan Security Service and the Saudi Intelligence Service in the hopes of giving the Russians their own version of Vietnam. We should have known that this was a bad idea.
Pakistan funding the Afghan Islamist Mujahadin and the Saudis giving money to Bin Laden would end up creating an organized, armed, and experienced network of terrorists that became the Haqqani Network, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.
Just three years after the Soviets pulled stumps in Afghanistan in 1989, al-Qaeda was trying to kill U.S. troops transiting through Yemen. That was in 1992.
We then spent the next 10 years pretending al-Qaeda wasn’t really, “a thing” as it attacked the U.S. over and over again. I saw what al-Qaeda could do when I was sent to help secure the USS Cole after she was nearly sunk at the pier by a suicide boat in Yemen in 2000.
Then the September 11 attacks occurred. And then it took over a decade for one of the finest military intelligence and fighting machines the world has ever seen to hunt UBL down and rightfully kill him in Pakistan. Saying Pakistan didn’t know they were harboring UBL is like saying China didn’t know they had a problem in Wuhan in 2019. Not only did Pakistan know, but we should also have known too.
The unexamined mistakes we made in getting involved in the Soviet/Afghan War in the 1980s helped get us where we are right now, in a 20-year war with these same people.
Generals and admirals are not politicians and politicians are not generals and admirals. At the top, our military has civilian leadership. It’s what makes America work and saves us from military dictatorship. Military leaders can advise our civilian leadership but they don’t get an equal say in what U.S. foreign policy will be. And it seems to me that over the last 20 years of this war, the generals and admirals did get an equal say.
America and her allies should have withdrawn troops 18 years ago after the training camps were destroyed with the Taliban out of vogue, and terrorists on the back heel.
Nobody in 20 years, from generals, admirals, congress members, or senators, has been able to answer the mail on why the holiest of facks, are we still in Afghanistan!
Let’s take the Delorean back t0 2009.
At a dinner full of Defense executives when I was a junior executive with L3, we had the pleasure of speaking privately with Mary Walker, former U.S. Air Force general counsel. I asked her this question:
“Mary, why are we in Afghanistan still? I’ve heard no good reason or strategy for why we are there still. Billions+ of taxpayer money poured down the curbside drainage ditch. More importantly, some of America’s best and brightest citizenry killed, maimed, or psychologically scarred, and for what? As they say in Mexico, nada.”
“I don’t know.”, she replied.
You could have heard a grenade pin drop at the table.
Back to the Future.
Afghanistan has the potential to be a beautiful country again. But right now we, the Americans, and the former USSR have turned it into a zit-faced lunar surface littered with landmines. I can still see the one-legged 10 year-olds hobbling around Kabul on their cheap prosthetics, and what a shame for these poor kids.
If the authors of that dirty, skid-marked underwear of an article in the Economist can lay out any coherent strategy for still being in Afghanistan I missed it and am wide-eyed and eared.
I can just see the contributors on this one, standing around a tight circle with their heads up each other’s arses. Noses firmly in each others’ clickbait bullocks.
Well, mission accomplished, Economist, you got a rise out of this guy.
I only have two words for the authors.