What The Biden Administration is Not Saying About Afghanistan Is Getting Louder

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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24 Responses

  1. Miri
    Ignored
    says:

    GB, Germany, France say, in a joint statement, that Iran must halt “making a nuclear bomb” activities.
    Note who’s not on the list?
    Biden is not talking to anyone, even our closest allies.

    I say this in all seriousness: Biden is not capable of handling this.
    He has good days, and bad days, as all people with dementia do.
    But he is no longer allowed to make decisions on anything.
    Harris made the “calls” on Afghanistan (aka her military gave her
    carefully scripted briefings that “told her” what to do).

    No one in the world is taking Biden’s military seriously at this point in time.
    Nuclear weapons or not, they do not believe that America will stop anything.
    Taiwan, Israel, our closest allies are endangered.

    Biden should resign.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Miri
      Ignored
      says:

      So tell me – how do you feel about Trump releasing back somewhere around 5000 taliban prisoners when he negotiated the withdrawal? Thats a sizable force afterall.

      Oh, and those prisoners included the guy who is now in charge in Kabul. Was that a good call?Report

      • Miko in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        Given that the prison break in Kabul was of 8000 prisoners, and actively occurred before/during the fall of Kabul… I’m going to ask “where were those prisoners, and were they actively a security threat?”

        Trump’s DOD was pretty competent (I know someone on it, they were hired under Clinton).Report

        • Philip H in reply to Miko
          Ignored
          says:

          The deal also provides for a prisoner swap. Some 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners would be exchanged by 10 March, when talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are due to start.

          https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51689443

          Prisoner releases on both sides are part of an agreement signed in February between the U.S. and the Taliban. It calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban held by the government and 1,000 government and military personnel held by the insurgent group as a good will gesture ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations.

          https://www.militarytimes.com/news/2020/08/16/kabul-begins-release-of-final-400-taliban-prisoners-called-for-in-us-agreement/

          Trump put 5000 battle trained Taliban back into action a year ago. Now you believe what you want but that seems to me to be a strategic failure that contributed to the rapid fall of Kabul last week.Report

          • Nomiko in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            The Taliban was outnumbered 4 to 1 in this “fight.”
            Troop numbers were immaterial.
            This was a Public Relations Fight, and the Taliban won.

            The CIA’s seeming inability to notice the Taliban calling every phone in the country through Whatsapp… now that’s a bigger problem. But the CIA’s been dead for years.

            That the Biden DOD couldn’t lay down caltrops or use drones to effectively stall for time is an indication that the rot is really, really deep. This isn’t just “top level people were willfully blind.”Report

            • Slade the Leveller in reply to Nomiko
              Ignored
              says:

              Are we mad that we leaving, or just looking bad while doing so?Report

              • Nameko in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                We mad that we looked so utterly incompetent that we have jeopardized ALL of our national security objectives.
                Don’t mind the leavin’, truly.
                Endless war ain’t my style.

                Wish people would look at facts, and realize that Trump The Bombastic was actually a dove.

                The Taliban was always going to have Afghanistan. But a 6 month orderly exit, as planned for by the sort of people who “Plan for the Fall of Kabul…”Report

            • Philip H in reply to Nomiko
              Ignored
              says:

              The Taliban’s numbers matter in that they started in territory they controlled and could hold and then fanned out, mostly by bribing local and regional officials. Plus the afghan government – conditioned to have the US back stop them, made strategic blunders with what troops they controlled.

              But sure, adding 5,000 fighters to the force last year is something we don’t need to worry about at all. Cause that wasn’t a strategic blunder that’s easily laid at a president’s feet or anything.Report

            • JS in reply to Nomiko
              Ignored
              says:

              Three names in three comments.

              Clearly trying to evade the block button.

              And promoting crazy conspiracies at that.Report

  2. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    To quote Matt Yglesias:

    “Did Biden make the right call on Afghanistan?

    We asked 27 former senior national security officials now working as defense contractors whose work there failed on every level.

    Their verdict — definitely blame Biden and not themselves. And keep the money coming!”

    The fact that the official government collapsed so quickly shows that we spend twenty years funneling money into something that would never stand up on its own. Also lots of young Americans died for no reason but many defense contractors became very rich.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      And many of the people now at those contracting firms were sent there to make smooth landing pads for people like Secretary Austin and General Miley. Those pads are now, I suspect, in some jeopardy.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s a silly argument. Not even an argument, really, just an implied smear. Are the former officials wrong? Doesn’t matter, the well is poisoned, we can move on.

      There’s a difference between strategy, tactics, and logistics. I’ve been to some bad concerts where the parking lot traffic moved smoothly. Even if every single former official had made nothing but mistakes, we can look at the withdrawal process and be critical of it.Report

    • James K in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      The fact that the official government collapsed so quickly shows that we spend twenty years funneling money into something that would never stand up on its own. Also lots of young Americans died for no reason but many defense contractors became very rich.

      I’m sure the defense contractors are part of it, but the politicians themselves got something important out of keeping things going for so long – not having to admit they had failed. Politicians don’t like to admit they are wrong and they really don’t like to be shown clearly and publicly that they are wrong.

      It takes a lot of strength to admit such a large policy endeavour has failed.Report

  3. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    SO from deep in the bowels of the non-security side of the federal apparatus, The Secretary and the General are making what hay they can with what they have been dealt. And they know they and their people are on borrowed time, what with both House and Senate Committees already announcing hearings. Lower level officers and operative are quietly packing their offices in anticipation of finding their resignation letters crafted for them one morning.

    All of which is to say the generals and the secretaries and such didn’t want to hear the assessments of their own professionals, and now to cover their own butts they are trying to cover their people while they also clean house of anyone who could tell a different story. They are also playing their own political game – the swift withdrawal of the Air Force for instance was something done in a calculated way to prove a point.

    They knew this was a probability. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan told them so months ago. So did the CIA apparently. But they didn’t want to hear it. They need to go.Report

  4. doug
    Ignored
    says:

    how about that timezone issue in the photo?Report

    • Pinky in reply to doug
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t care about that. If it’s a stock photo, it’s a stock photo. My assessment of the situation isn’t affected by whether there exists a picture of Biden at the time.Report

  5. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I think its completely fair to say that not knowing about the secret surrender deals by the Afghan leadership was a massive intelligence failure, and that doomed any chances we had for making an orderly exit of American citizens.

    Even had we done so, there was always going to be a mad scramble by Afghan civilians with them clinging to the undercarriage of planes.

    The only way to prevent that would have been to have American troops holding desperate women with babies at bay with bayonets and razor wire.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t buy that we didn’t know. The Special IG for Afghanistan reported on open bribery by the Taliban of Afghan government officials months ago. Hell – news outlets reported on it months ago. The command structure ignored that because they thought they could.Report

      • JS in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        From what I remember, this same command structure blew smoke up Obama’s ass for 8 years and is absolutely not beyond the military equivalent of sick-outs and slow-walks to try to force the President’s hand back onto their chosen course.

        I’d not be surprised at all to find that, bluntly, maximum effort was not put into doing this right because they disagreed with leaving. But not enough to resign, perish the thought.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to JS
          Ignored
          says:

          I think it was Josh Marshall over at TPM who made that theory that Biden knew that a slow drawdown order would be slow walked and obstructed by the generals so he just pulled the ejection seat to force the issue.
          Nothing can be proven, but it sounds plausible.Report

  6. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Straightforward from here:

    Kamala Harris resigns.
    Biden chooses Hillary Clinton as VP.
    Biden resigns.
    President Clinton.
    We go back into Afghanistan.Report

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