Did you know America won the war in Afghanistan?
There is an old story about a Civil War general who refused to admit he had to retreat. Instead, he claimed to be advancing to the rear. We are now hearing a version of that from Washington.
The Biden administration claims that what happened in Afghanistan was NOT … repeat NOT … a defeat. That sentiment was expressed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby. Former intelligence chief James Clapper was asked on CNN if we were defeated, and he replied, “I would not call it that.” What in God’s name would you call it?
Let us be perfectly clear. America was defeated. We got our ass kicked by a rag-tag assemblage of terrorists without an air force, without heavy artillery, without drones, without the mountain-penetrating MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs). The Taliban – with the support of al Qaeda literally whipped the world’s allegedly most powerful military with homemade bombs and pick-up trucks equipped with machine guns.
America was not only defeated, we were humiliated. We have lost the prestige of being a world leader. And in our surrender – leaving behind hundreds of American citizens and tens of thousands of endangered Afghans — we lost our honor and the trust of allies.
So … on what basis does the Biden administration lay its claim for … Success?
Biden and his administration stresses three points. First, we killed Osama bin Ladin. Of course, he was not even in Afghanistan. We killed him in Pakistan – and that was ten years ago. It had nothing to do with the fighting in Afghanistan. The goal in Afghanistan was to defeat the Taliban and their al Qaeda subsidiary for the attack on 9/11 – and so that they never return to power to spread their horrific terrorism across the globe. If not nation-building, our goal was clearly a permanent regime change. Thanks to Biden, a regime has taken place. The Taliban are back more powerful than ever.
Still, the administration sees the fact that al Qaeda was not spreading terrorism around the world and in America as one of the successes of the war. We degraded their capability, Biden claims. It is true that there has not been a major attack on the United States since 9/11, but that may be because al Qaeda was too busy fighting and killing American and allied soldiers alongside their parent organization, the Taliban. They helped kill a goodly number of those 2,400 U.S. military casualties – and others. We shall now see how long al Qaeda AND the newly empowered Taliban sponsors confine their terrorism to Afghanistan.
In an amazing stretch of logic, administration officials are pointing to the improved quality of life in Afghanistan – especially for women – as an accomplishment. That is until Biden ended it. That is exactly what America surrendered to the Taliban when Biden pulled out. We made the people of Afghanistan the victims with a grim future. Our surrender left millions of people — who hate the Taliban and what they represent — in the hands of … the Taliban. What the Biden folks point to as a temporary accomplishment is now better described as a human tragedy of monumental proportions.
Millions of Afghans under the age of 35 have no formative experience living under Taliban oppression. Allied presence in Afghanistan was the ONLY protection they had. They will be the ongoing casualities for years to come.
The White House, the State Department and the Defense Department all read off the administration script – touting the removal of 120,000 evacuees in more than 14 days as the greatest airlift in history.
Maybe so, but it does not seem so remarkable when you consider that the Atlanta airport processes more than 7 million people in the same time period – or 700 times more passengers each day. If the United States had even reached even 10 percent of the Atlanta number, there would be more than 700,000 people flown to freedom instead of 120,000– or 1.7 percent of that Atlanta number.
Many of the C-10s left with empty seats – and a number of them sat on the tarmac throughout the evacuation. There was enough capacity and time to take out another 10,000 to 20,000 people in the last few days — even at the rather slow 40-minute departure rate. And thousands more if the departure rate was increased.
The military on the ground were charged with an impossible mission — and did the best with what they had. It was the plan and the logistics that inhibited the evacuation effort. Biden made a terrible decision and the top brass at the Pentagon implemented it badly. It was a plan that was doomed to failure regardless of the best efforts on the part of those commissioned to carry out the flawed plan.
And the plan was flawed because the details and conditions were largely imposed by the Taliban – and accepted by Biden.
For the Taliban, the spoils of war include more than $250 billion dollars worth of some of the most advanced military equipment and weapons – including guns, ammunition, rocket launchers, weaponized Humvees, grenades, bombs, electronics, and a ready-to-fly air force. The critically important intelligence gathering network has been shut down. America lost what was previously described as “a critically important military air base” – the multi-billion-dollar Bagram Airfield.
President Biden had already surrendered at the time of his order to evacuate. He suggested that the deadline might have to be advanced, but the Taliban said “no” – and Biden folded on that point. He promised that America would stay until all Americans and special visa holders were taken out. The Taliban said “no” – and even thwarted efforts of Americans and allies to get to the airport.
Biden left perimeter security around the airport to the Taliban – and 13 young American troopers perished, along with more than 170 Afghan friends. Biden’s abiding to Taliban orders also resulted in leaving behind hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan friends.
Through the withdrawal, Biden administration officials – civilian and military – repeatedly claimed that we had to “rely on the Taliban” for any considerations – and they granted almost none. Biden literally said that we cannot trust the Taliban and – in the next breath – said we must rely on them for both security and safe passage –and they betrayed us on both counts.
In an obedient pursuit of promised victory, 2,400 American service personnel (including my grandson) traveled to Afghanistan and died there. And so did 3,800 private contractors, 1,100 allied personnel, and 66,000 Afghan soldiers and police – for a total of approximately 73,300 on our side. Taliban losses have been estimated at approximately 50,000. Apart from the military losses, more than 47,000 Afghan civilians died in the conflict – overwhelmingly people who opposed the Taliban rule. They were relying on the promises of the United States to protect them. Yes, these were brave souls and innocent souls – and they all died in vain.
In every way accountable, America lost the Afghanistan war. We were defeated. We had to surrender and accept all the terms of surrender laid down by the Taliban. We were the Japanese on the Missouri – surrendering in World War II. We were the Army of the Confederacy handing the sword of surrender at Appomattox – ending the Civil War.
Now the Biden administration says that our mission has merely changed from a military one to a diplomatic mission – and that we have great leverage over the Taliban in order to get thousands of stranded Americans and Afghan friends out. The only leverage they talk about is M-O-N-E-Y. In other words, we might pay the Taliban to release those who may now be considered hostages.
As much as they may try, there is no amount of lipstick that can be put on this porker to make it anything but what it was – defeat, surrender and humiliation. That is the legacy – the burden – that America shoulders for the foreseeable future.
But there is one significant difference between this surrender and what took place in World War II and the Civil War. The victors stopped attacking the vanquished. That is not likely to be the case with the Taliban. We are now poised to lose the peace – such as it is.
So, there ‘tis.