Category Archive 'Afghanistan'
31 Aug 2021

“Two Photos: Two Different Americas”

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Warren Kozak, in the NY Sun, points to two images as metonymies for the change in American leadership over the last three quarter century.

Both wars began with unprovoked, surprise, and devastating attacks against the United States. In 1941, the Japanese destroyed much of our Pacific fleet and killed more than 2,000 Americans, mostly servicemen. Sixty years later, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon killed 3,000 Americans, mostly civilians.

That is where the parallels end. The two adversaries were not remotely alike. The Japanese were a major military power with a large, unified, and advanced population. Afghanistan, which harbored the al Qaeda terrorists that attacked on 9-11, is a small, backward, failed state run by 7th century jihadists.

To achieve our victory in World War II over Japan and its ally, Nazi Germany, America focused its entire economy for four years, built a military of over 16 million men, mostly civilians, and maintained its will, even with the loss of more than 400,000 of its sons. In the latter war, with an all-volunteer military, Americans felt little economic hardship.

Many didn’t even know a single serviceman or woman who died, much less fought, in the war. America’s military today constitutes less than one percent of our population. In World War II, practically every family had someone serving, and that included the nation’s wealthiest families, from the Rockefellers to the Kennedys to the Bushs’.

The greatest change we have witnessed has come in the leadership of our country. Consider how the earlier military and political officials conducted themselves after their extraordinary achievement in World War II. The head of our entire military, General George C. Marshall, declined from Time Life’s Henry Luce an offer of $1 million, $15 million in today’s money, to publish his memoir.

One of the signers on the deck of the Missouri, Admiral Chester Nimitz, chief architect of the naval victory in the Pacific, also declined every lucrative offer to tell his story. Nimitz spent his retirement as an advisor to the Navy and served as a Regent for the University of California.

Another officer — he requested not to be at the ceremony, but was ordered to be present — was Admiral John McCain Sr, grandfather of the senator. The 61 year admiral pushed himself so hard during the war that after the signing he immediately flew home. He died four days later, probably from heart failure and exhaustion.

General Curtis LeMay developed the devastating air war against our enemies. He took a humble view of the proceedings, though. Instead of feeling any personal glory or accomplishment, LeMay was thinking about all the young men under his command, who did not live to see the day. “Seemed to me that if I had done a better job, we might have saved a few more crews,” he wrote later.

The man at the top of the chain-of-command, President Truman, was barely known when he took over the presidency following the death of FDR. Yet Truman proved to be one of the most capable leaders this nation has ever produced. On a mind numbing number of vital decisions that came his way in hurried order, “Given ’Em Hell” Harry made the right choice every single time.

When Truman retired in 1953, he went back to the same home he and the First Lady lived in long before they went to Washington. He was given no pension (presidential pensions were conveniently set up by Lyndon Johnson just before he retired). Like Marshall and Nimitz, Truman turned down numerous offers that certainly would have made his life easier. His reasons now seem so quaint. He thought it undignified.

No one figure or political party today can be singled out for the terrible decisions and exceptional greed that we have witnessed in recent years. Or for the cringing face of our diplomacy. Can one even imagine Truman begging the Iranian ayatollahs for a nuclear deal not in our favor? Or handing over the keys to a country to the same terrorists who used it to launch an attack on America only 20 years ago?

Which presents the question: How did Americans come to simply accept the million dollar gigs, the mansions, and the celebrity parties that are now considered a well-earned perk of government service? From the rear-view mirror, those World War II leaders now seem so antiquated … and so missed.


26 Aug 2021


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21 Aug 2021


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20 Aug 2021

How We Lost Afghanistan

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Cockburn thinks he has found the key explanation: Western elites let Afghans see what Western elite culture is like. Naturally, and inevitably, they took down their AK-47s from the wall and fought tooth and nail to prevent being assimilated into that!

[A]longside the billions for bombs went hundreds of millions for gender studies in Afghanistan. According to U.S. government reports, $787 million was spent on gender programs in Afghanistan, but that substantially understates the actual total, since gender goals were folded into practically every undertaking America made in the country.

A recent report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) broke down the difficulties of the project. For starters, in both Dari and Pastho there are no words for “gender.” That makes sense, since the distinction between “sex” and “gender” was only invented by a sexually-abusive child psychiatrist in the 1960s, but evidently Americans were caught off-guard. Things didn’t improve from there. Under the US’s guidance, Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution set a 27 per cent quota for women in the lower house — higher than the actual figure in America! A strategy that sometimes required having women represent provinces they had never actually been to. Remarkably, this experiment in “democracy” created a government few were willing to fight for, let alone die for.

The initiatives piled up one after another. Do-gooders established a “National Masculinity Alliance”, so a few hundred Afghan men could talk about their “gender roles” and “examine male attitudes that are harmful to women.”

Police facilities included childcare facilities for working mothers, as though Afghanistan’s medieval culture had the same needs as 1980s Minneapolis. The army set a goal of 10 percent female participation, which might make sense in a Marvel movie, but didn’t to devout Muslims. Even as America built an Afghan army ended up collapsing in days, and a police force whose members frequently became highwaymen, it always made sure to execute its gender goals.

But all this wasn’t just a stupid waste of money. It routinely actively undermined the “nation building” that America was supposed to be doing. According to an USAID observer, the gender ideology included in American aid routinely caused rebellions out in the provinces, directly causing the instability America was supposedly fighting. To get Afghanistan’s parliament to endorse the women’s rights measures it wanted, America resorted to bribing them. Soon, bribery became the norm for getting anything done in the parliament.

But instead of rattling off anecdotes, perhaps a single video clip will do the job. Dadaism and conceptual art are of dubious value even in the West, but at some point some person who is not in prison for fraud decided that Afghan women would be uplifted by teaching them about Marcel Duchamp. (See above)

RTWT — if you hit the paywall.

19 Aug 2021



Markers placed next to shell casings where a child was shot near the of corner West Haddon Avenue and North Honore Street in East Ukrainian Village, Chicago, Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

“In the worst year in Afghanistan, 2010, the U.S. suffered 440 troops killed in action. So far this year in Chicago, 480 people have been shot to death. When will the U.S. begin its withdrawal from Chicago?”

Glenn Reynolds: Might as well. The place is clearly incapable of governing itself.

18 Aug 2021

Good Speech By One Who Served There


18 Aug 2021

Stolen Elections Have Consequences

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17 Aug 2021

Unsuccessful Escape


16 Aug 2021

“It Will Be Years Before the Stain of 2021 Can Be Effaced”

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Lady Butler, Remnants of an Army, 1879, Tate Gallery. Assistant Surgeon William Brydon, the sole survivor of a British Army of 16,000 men, arrives at the gates of Jallabad in 1842.

Thomas Joscelyn sums up why we failed with dead on precision.

There is plenty of blame to go around.

Blame President Bill Clinton. His administration didn’t take Al Qaeda seriously. Clinton and his advisers passed up multiple opportunities to target Osama bin Laden. The Al Qaeda threat manifested on Clinton’s watch, leading to 9/11 and, ultimately, the war in Afghanistan.

Blame President George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. In 2001, they had the opportunity to deliver a death blow to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But instead of committing the forces necessary to hunt down bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and others, they hesitated. The U.S. relied on local warlords and other actors, some of whom were duplicitous. Bin Laden and Zawahiri finagled their way out of the remote Tora Bora Mountains. Al Qaeda regrouped in the years that followed.

Blame Barack Obama. Obama decided it was in our “vital national interest” to help the Afghans build the “capacity” to defend their country on their own. In December 2009, he committed forces — at their peak, more than 100,000 of them — to accomplish the task. More Americans were killed in Afghanistan during Obama’s war than in any other period of this debacle. But Obama wasn’t fighting to win. His surge in forces came with an expiration date of just 18 months and then he chased a fanciful peace deal with the Taliban. To his credit, Obama ordered the raid that killed bin Laden. But Al Qaeda lived, despite Obama’s attempts to declare the group dead.

Blame Donald Trump. His instinct was to bring the soldiers home. Instead, he agreed to a small increase in America’s footprint, claiming that the U.S. was fighting for “victory.” He didn’t mean it.

Blame Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who portrayed the Taliban as America’s counterterrorism partner, saying the group had agreed to “work alongside of us to destroy” Al Qaeda. Trump repeated Pompeo’s claim, saying the Taliban “will be killing terrorists for us.” This is nonsense. The Taliban’s men are terrorists and there’s no evidence they’ve broken with Al Qaeda.

Blame the generals. It is true that they were asked to fight a war that was undermined by America’s erratic political leadership. But no general ever stood up to say: No. We cannot prosecute an unwinnable war.

Since 2018, the U.S. military has been invested in the State Department’s delusional peace process with the Taliban, repeatedly claiming that there was no “military solution” to the conflict. But this was always a lie.

As the Taliban takes control of Kabul, Americans can see for themselves that the jihadists had a “military solution” in mind all along. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were never ambivalent about their jihad. They were fighting to win.


16 Aug 2021

Here Are the Defining Images of the Biden Presidency

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AlJazeera has a video showing crowds of desperate Afghans filling runways at Kabul airport, desperately trying to get out of the country and escape death at the hands of the Taliban. Some panicking Afghans can be seen even attempting to cling to the outside of a US Air Force C17A transport jet.

One such jet, designed to carry 134 soldiers, managed to take off from the same airport carrying 800 people out of Kabul to Qatar. Forbes

15 Aug 2021

Why Afghanistan Fell So Quickly

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Afghan soldiers surrendering.

Yaroslav Trofimov, in the Wall Street Journal, explains that Biden withdrew the air support too soon that is essential for the supply and defense of the US-style Afghan military we created and trained.

You can’t defeat superior numbers of less effectively armed troops unless you can keep the food, water, ammunition, and medical supplies coming in, and unless you can clobber human wave attack with air support. Take that support away and you lose.

This spectacular failure stemmed from built-in flaws of the Afghan military compounded by strategic blundering of the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban, meanwhile, took advantage of the U.S.-sponsored peace talks to deceive Kabul about their intentions as they prepared and executed a lighting offensive.

The Afghan army fighting alongside American troops was molded to match the way the Americans operate. The U.S. military, the world’s most advanced, relies heavily on combining ground operations with air power, using aircraft to resupply outposts, strike targets, ferry the wounded, and collect reconnaissance and intelligence.

In the wake of President Biden’s withdrawal decision, the U.S. pulled its air support, intelligence and contractors servicing Afghanistan’s planes and helicopters. That meant the Afghan military simply couldn’t operate anymore. The same happened with another failed American effort, the South Vietnamese army in the 1970s, said retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, who commanded the U.S.-led coalition’s mission to train Afghan forces in 2011-2013.

“There is always a tendency to use the model you know, which is your own model,” said Gen. Bolger, who now teaches history at North Carolina State University. “When you build an army like that, and it’s meant to be a partner with a sophisticated force like the Americans, you can’t pull the Americans out all of a sudden, because then they lose the day-to-day assistance that they need,” he said.


24 Nov 2018

Larry Correia Estimates the American Insurgency

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Sci Fi novelist Larry Correia takes on Congressman Eric Swalwell’s contention that the Second Amendment is obsolete as a defense against the federal government.

Last week a congressman embarrassed himself on Twitter. He got into a debate about gun control, suggested a mandatory buyback—which is basically confiscation with a happy face sticker on it—and when someone told him that they would resist, he said resistance was futile because the government has nukes.

And everybody was like, wait, what?

Of course the congressman is now saying that using nuclear weapons on American gun owners was an exaggeration, he just wanted to rhetorically demonstrate that the all-powerful government could crush us peasants like bugs, they hold our pathetic lives in their iron hand, and he’d never ever advocate for the use of nuclear weapons on American soil (that would be bad for the environment!), and instead he merely wants to send a SWAT team to your house to shoot you in the face if you don’t comply. …

First, let’s talk about the basic premise that an irregular force primarily armed with rifles would be helpless against a powerful army that has things like drones and attack helicopters.

This is a deeply ironic argument to make, considering that the most technologically advanced military coalition in history has spent the better part of the last two decades fighting goat herders with AKs in Afghanistan and Iraq. Seriously, it’s like you guys only pay attention to American casualties when there’s a republican in office and an election coming up.

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama launched over five hundred drone strikes during his eight years in office. We’ve used Apaches (that’s the scary looking helicopter in the picture for my peacenik liberal friends), smart bombs, tanks, I don’t know how many thousand s of raids on houses and compounds, all the stuff that the lefty memes say they’re willing to do to crush the gun nut right, and we’ve spent something like 6 trillion dollars on the global war on terror so far.

And yet they’re still fighting.

So yes, groups of irregular locals can be a real pain in the ass to a technologically superior military force. That’s pretty obvious.

Now here is the interesting part. Best estimates are that any given time in Iraq we’ve been fighting about 20,000 insurgents at most. …

Okay, so let’s say Congressman Swalwell gets his wish, and the government says turn them in or else. And even though the government has become tyrannical enough to send SWAT teams door to door and threaten citizens with drones and attack helicopters, rather than half the states saying fuck you, this means Civil War 2, instead we’ll stick to the rosiest of all possible outcomes, and say that most gun owners comply.

In fact, let’s be super kind. Rather than a realistic number, like half or a third of those people getting really, really pissed off and hoisting the black flag, let’s say that 99% of them decide to totally put all their faith into the government, and that the all-powerful entity which just threatened to kill their entire family will never ever turn tyrannical from now on, pinky swear, so what do they have to lose? And a whopping 90% of gun owners go along peacefully.

That means you are only dealing with six and a half MILLION insurgents. The entire active US military is about 1.3 million, with about 800,000 reserve. Which is also assuming that those two Venn diagrams don’t overlap, which is just plain idiotic, but I’ll get to that too.

Let’s be super generous. I’m talking absurdly generous, and say that a full 99% of US gun owners say won’t somebody think of the children and all hold hands and sing kumbaya, so that then you are only dealing with the angriest, listless malcontents who hate progress… These are those crazy, knuckle dragging bastards who you will have to put in the ground.

And there are 650,000 of them.

To put that into perspective, we were fighting 22,000 insurgents in Iraq, a country which would fit comfortably inside Texas with plenty of room to spare. This would be almost 30 times as many fighters, spread across 22 times the area.

And that estimated number is pathetically, laughably low.

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