The advice in the title of this post is exactly the message sent to President Bush almost 20 years ago, from the writers who would later found this blog. We suggested that if he was considering an invasion of Afghanistan (and later Iraq), that he had best plan his mission well so that the troops could get in, do the job, then get out promptly. Central Asia (like the middle east) is no place to send the troops for an extended holiday.
Unfortunately, the US military feels that it needs wars to facilitate officer field training and promotion. Military contractors and a host of bureaucrats and politicians all find it profitable to get in on the action, and the spending. Wars are a veritable hogfest for pigs of all types.
The US screwed the pooch on Afghanistan as soon as conventional forces took over from the special ops command. The Pentagon was full of social promotion generals after eight years of Clinton/Gore, and they were all eager to prove how clever they were. And that is exactly what they did, unfortunately.
Here it is, almost 20 years later:
Who Are the Taliban?
The so-called Taliban are a mish-mash of fanatical fundamentalist thugs from Pashtun tribes, from the Pakistani streets, and from other Islamic countries including the Arab countries. The mindless brutality of these low-life terrorists is well described in the novel The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. They enjoy the full backing of the Pakistani intelligence service, which means the Pakistani government. For every drop of the blood of innocents shed by the Taliban, the ruling elites of Pakistan are equally guilty.
The shame of President Biden* and his administration* is not that the US troops were ordered to leave the country. The shame of this fraudulent US government* is the slipshod and cynical offering up of tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, a treasure trove of intelligence secrets to China and Russia, and between tens and hundreds of $billions of modern military equipment and infrastructure to the butchers who call themselves the Taliban — not to mention the betrayal of allies around the world.
Biden has an excuse — he’s clearly incompetent and amoral, as apparently are his close advisors. But President Clinton declined to kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance, and President Bush allowed incompetent generals of conventional forces to squander opportunities for special operations troops to capture or kill bin Laden in the initial invasion push. Finally, President Obama declined to order a planned pullout of troops from Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden was finally killed in Pakistan in 2011. Bringing bin Laden and the other leaders of Al Qaeda to justice was the only real justification for the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Afghanistan Has Always Been Hell on Invading Armies
There have been many invasions of Afghanistan throughout history by large and powerful empires and other great powers. Such invasions tend not to be successful in the long run. There is nothing particularly appealing about the country, its climate, or its culture. The idea that this ancient culture of brutal warlords and neo-fundamentalist tyranny would be magically transformed into a modern, cohesive, orderly nation, was a fool’s delusion.
The 19th Century British adventure in Afghanistan — so graphically portrayed in this Flashman story — could have been a fine warning to GW Bush not to plan to stay around in that cursed country too long. If he had listened, he might have saved the US and NATO countries a lot of grief.
Just a short warning to Russia, who is celebrating the takedown of the US and NATO at the hands of President Biden*: Beware the flood of opium coming your way. Your much-depleted youth cohort was already at high risk of achieving dissolution without this new wave of Afghan poppy. You are on the front lines of this disaster. Take care that the graves you are laughing over are not your own.