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Afghanistan: the lesson

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Those Trump-publicans are trying to pin the blame for Afghanistan on Biden, but it won’t work, because Americans know the truth: Trump started the “get out of Afghanistan” parade and Biden inherited it and got out.

I didn’t blame Trump at the time. Even a broken clock is right twice a day! America had been in Afghanistan nearly twenty years; Trump understood how stupid it was to remain there a day longer. He began the negotiations with the Taliban to ensure an orderly transition. If the situation today is out of control, why not blame Trump?

However, I won’t do that. I shared his frustrations, along with a majority of Americans. What the hell were we doing in a land war, a civil war, in a godforsaken Asian country, and a fundamentalist Islamic one at that? Yes, Al Qaeda and the Taliban deserved what they got after Sept. 11. We beat the crap out of them. But the warning signs were all over the place. After we overthrew the Taliban, we should have gotten out, and left Afghanis to stew in their own juices, with a warning: If you harbor terrorists again, we will destroy you.

But we didn’t deploy our full strength, and that was our strategic mistake. As an old karate guy, I can tell you that withholding your most powerful blows is not the way to win a fight. You have to give it everything you’ve got, because your opponent will certainly give it everything he’s got. In other words, there’s no time for the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

Does “everything we’ve got” mean nuclear weapons? Yes. Tactical ones. I know this isn’t a popular thing to say. It horrifies people. But if we’re not prepared to win wars using “everything we’ve got,” then we shouldn’t fight wars in the first place. Did we learn nothing from Vietnam?

  1. Bob Henry says:

    From The Wall Street Journal (August 15, 2021):

    “Chaotic Afghanistan Pullout Caps Two Decades of Missteps”



    “Through two decades of combat and hundreds of billions of dollars spent building up Kabul’s military and civilian institutions, successive U.S. administrations followed strategies that inadvertently fueled support for the insurgency, missed windows to negotiate and, finally, came to a settlement with the Taliban that undercut the ability of the Afghan government to negotiate concessions.

    . . .

    “The missteps began almost immediately after U.S. forces, seeking revenge against the regime that gave shelter to Osama bin Laden and the other al Qaeda perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, invaded Afghanistan.”

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