It is beyond pathetic for what has happened in Afghanistan.
Millions of people are now being subjected to tyranny, oppression, and genocide.
And the fact is this is a clear moral issue. Not a single member of the Taliban deserves anything more than a painful, screaming death. They are all filth, and they deserve nothing but pain. Nothing. There are no exceptions.
But given the speed at which Afghanistan fell, it is clear that staying was a bit of a waste of time. If people cannot fight for their freedom, you can’t give it to them by holding back the evil.
It is regrettably clear that even if we had stayed for another decade, we would not have improved anything.
Now, while I believe Biden has to take the blame for this is how it was carried out, I also realize that he had only three options. (1) Do the right thing and send 200,000+ active-duty soldiers in with the express intent of killing every last member of the Taliban, Dresden-style firebombing of the mountain hideouts, burning every lost poppy field, and establishing successful industries in Afghanistan even if they will compete against American industries…there was zero chance of getting support from Congress or the American public on this. Zero. While every “America First” fascist (and yes, if you have ever uttered the phrase “America First” in the last five years, you are a fascist) deserves the exact same treatment of their Taliban brethren, they regrettably make up a disturbing portion of America and an even more disturbing percentage of the legislature. It might have been the right thing to do, but we know it could never be done. All too often the case in America. (2) He could have continued the status quo and kept things going in their inefficient way. This, of course, would have broken Trump’s deal with the Taliban. Now, no one thinks Trump and all his followers should be viciously tortured to death for his vast treason more than me, but the fact is that said corrupt deal did give us several months of almost no U.S. military deaths. Even if Biden had wanted to do the right thing and say “fuck Trump’s deal,” it would have meant a new onslaught of murders by the Taliban against U.S. forces…which would have led to Congress and the American public demanding a complete and immediate withdrawal. Which would have just left us in the same situation but with only more U.S. dead. I get the bind Biden was in. Trump made a deal with the Devil and did it in a way that would only screw anyone who took over. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. (3) The third option was to pull out. So the same end as Option 2 but with fewer U.S. deaths. And the fact is that it appears now that the President of Afghanistan was in league with the Taliban, which led to such a quick fall of the country. Maybe this was the worst-case scenario of Option 3, but this was never going to go well simply because isolationists and fascists (is there a difference?) had made the first and second options impossible to carry out. I don’t like what is happening. I just don’t know if I was in the same position that I would have done much differently.
This was a cluster fuck of epic proportions spanning over 30 years of bad decisions.
And this is due to a series of mistakes. Ones we must acknowledge so to prevent an evil like this from ever happening.
So first, let me deal with Carter and Reagan, whom I am going to give a pass for the most part. As much as I think Jimmy Carter is an anti-Semitic piece of shit who would roll over and play dead in the face of any move by Soviet Russia…I also don’t think there was any viable option for Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded. Post-Vietnam, there was no way to convince Congress and the American people to send in troops to oppose the Soviet invasions, nor was there support at the time to send the Mujahideen weapons to fight the Soviets. So as much as I despise him as a pathetic excuse for a human being, I’m not sure any president, given the Congress he had, could have done anything. Meanwhile, Reagan did the best he could, working with congressman Charlie Wilson; he provided the best opposition he could have against the Soviets. Had he been president for the collapse of the Soviet regime, I believe in my heart of hearts he would have offered the necessary support to rebuild the country, we will never know for certain, but I know of no evidence to the contrary that he would have believed in nation-building.
So let’s start with where blame does belong. George H. W. Bush started the worst of policy choices here. He had the opportunity to send money to rebuilt Afghanistan after the Soviets left (he had the option to rebuild the entire Warsaw Pact) but failed to do so. Because, in the end, the Bush clan is a bunch of brain-dead isolationists. Utterly worthless. Reagan’s single biggest mistake was not dropping Bush in 1984. Had Bush worked to build democracy in the former Communist nations, we would be living in a much better world today. But like all isolationists, he could only see the immediate issues. Yeah, he would stand up to a lunatic who had visions of nuking Israel and other allies, but if someone didn’t present an immediate danger, he couldn’t be bothered to care about anything.
The lesson to learn from Bush is that we always have the opportunity to build positive relations with other nations to strengthen democracy and capitalism throughout the world. Globalism isn’t a debate; it’s a fact. Anyone who thinks they can stand against globalism belongs to be listed with the Neanderthals and Homo Erectus (no offense to those noble species who were never as dumb as the MAGA crowd) as their ideas aren’t just old; they’re extinct. We need to strengthen EVERY LAST NATION in its efforts to establish the rule of law, free markets, open government, and individual freedom because it is the only way to ensure our prosperity and liberty. Right now, that means sending out vaccines to the whole world; soon, it will mean signing TPP and every other free trade chance we can. But we can never stop in this push toward universals liberty, and any hiccup in that push will only result in suffering for us and the world.
Then we had Bill Clinton, whose attitude to almost all foreign issues was to ignore them. Tony Blair may have been able to drag Clinton into defeating the evil of fascism in the Balkans, but it was a pathetically small amount of effort. Clinton’s indifference proved the warning of P.J. O’Rourke: “Our previous attempts at isolationism were successful. Unfortunately, they were successful for Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan. Evil is an outreach programme. A solitary bad person sitting alone, harbouring genocidal thoughts, and wishing he ruled the world is not a problem unless he lives next to us in the trailer park..” The lesson here is clear, isolationism NEVER works. Never has, never will. And anyone who claims it does is a short-sighted idiot who should be ignored on all issues (looking at you libertarians).
Then, of course, you had W. From stating in his debates with Gore that he did not believe in nation-building, you knew that this man was never going to be good at this (as opposed to Gore promising the continued indifference of Clinton, which would have been just as bad if not worse). The problem was that after 9/11, it was obvious that isolationism didn’t work. But someone who only believed in isolationism wasn’t equipped to rebuild a nation. Bush and his whole cabinet seemed to believe that democracy would magically spring up in Afghanistan and Iraq once we get rid of the tyrants. The problem is that isolationists don’t understand how much work went into creating this nation (or any successful democracy in history). It takes time and effort, and none of the people in the Bush administration wanted to do this work.
The lesson here is that if you’re going to do nation-building, actually do nation-building. There should not have been a police station, D.A.’s office, or government bureaucracy in America that did not have an exchange from Afghanistan learning U.S. methods (which not only would have improved Afghanistan methods but probably would also have decreased the systemic racism we have regrettably learned are still all too present in too many parts of the U.S. government). There should not have been a single school in the U.S. that did not have at least one Afghani or Iraqi foreign exchange student. The Peace Corps should have been expanded and sent to Afghanistan in ways that the office has never seen. We should have been sending contractors to build infrastructure and build relations with that nation. There should have been no consideration for how building the Afghani industry would affect American competitors… that’s the free market deal with it. We should have burned every poppy field, killed every drug pushing warlord, shot every man raping children or beating women, trained every woman in Afghanistan in how to use a gun, knife, or her hands to disarm misogynists—with the intent to kill—and killed through summary judgment any man who acted against a woman who defended herself. Leaving the broken bodies of misogynists hanging in the center of town probably would violate some war crimes tribunal, but they would have been in line with actual Justice. No, it’s not a cultural thing…treating women as less than human is evil. If your culture makes that claim, then YOUR CULTURE IS INFERIOR. And it needs to be destroyed. Islam can be practiced without evil, and I’m more than willing to say anyone who believes that Islam has to be practiced with should be shot, be it the Taliban or a MAGA racist. We did none of that. We need to never make that mistake again.
Then Obama pretty much continued the same mistakes of Clinton with a touch of W. Indifference mixed with just a bit of isolationism that doesn’t understand that building a democracy is a work in progress.
Of course, the worst was Trump. Trump was unquestionably evil, and he admired evil. So when presented with the evil of the Taliban, he loved it. He thought they were his kind of people. He made a terrible deal with them and released thousands of the most vicious members of the Taliban. If you don’t think the fall of Afghanistan would have occurred much, much slower if Trump had not released all these criminals, you’re an idiot.
What we learned from Trump is fairly obvious. First that the Secret Service is a bunch of traitors for not doing their duty and protecting us from “all enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC.” There is not a Secret Service member who does not deserve to be charged with every crime against humanity Trump committed. You had guns and could have chosen to make the world a better place. You chose evil under the excuse of “I was just following orders” to protect him, like the rest of your Nazi brethren. Fuck all of you coke-snorting, whoring, traitors. I’m not a big fan of a military officer who was in the room with Trump, either. You had a duty to defend this nation; you failed. You sat by while he and his ilk planned to leave our allies in Afghanistan to the butchers, released the very criminals in power right now, not to mention the planned sterilization of immigrants, the torture of immigrants, using the office to get foreign powers to lie for him for political reasons, and while he planned a coup. Just because Trump and his allies were incompetent does not forgive the fact that they are criminals guilty of treason, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. And the Secret Service did nothing to protect us from that evil even they could have. Every last member of the Trump Administration and Secret Service should be rotting in The Hague right now.
What we really learned is that Rome was really onto something when they had a law that demanded every citizen kill anyone who would attempt to set themselves up as a king. And we need more Republicans like Brutus and Cassius.
Biden, and for the most part, we have learned from Biden that government needs to plan for worst-case scenarios. All too often, be it in war, social programs, tax schemes, anything…they assume everything will work perfectly and there will not be any problems. This is possibly the government’s single dumbest flaw, and so the fact that Biden committed it isn’t exactly a shock…but it’s still offensive that not a single person in government seems to have learned to stop engaging in this kind of foolishness. We need to start having people in government who ask, “yeah but what if your assumptions go badly, what are you going to do then?” I know the last 20 years have shown that the government has planned for a lot less than any thought could be possible, but we desperately need to gear our plans for worst-case scenarios.
What we also learned its that we need to join the International Criminal Court, and the second after signing that treaty, putting Trump and all his allies on a plane for The Hague where they will all die in prison. We learned that we can no longer tolerate this evil, and at this moment that is exactly what we’re doing by allowing Trump to exist.
Given the recent news in the world, I can easily believe there are gathering clouds somewhere that I don’t see immediately. Over the last couple of decades, I have learned that what I know of foreign policy, or what anyone outside the government, is usually incomplete at best. So maybe in 20 years, I’ll learn something the will make me understand why Biden pulled out on this timetable…time will tell. And I damn Clinton and Obama for not doing anything, but I also admit that it would have required them to spend all their political capital early in their presidencies to push for major reform—in Obama’s case, that would have better use of his political capital—so I don’t know it if believable to believe they would have done it. It was the wrong thing to do, but I’m a fool if I expect politicians to be saints. If I’m going to put somewhere, it is because, despite the fact that the Bushs were all branded with the label neoconservative, they were unquestionably isolationist who did nothing that neoconservatives would have advised. Nothing. The greatest blame sits with Bush senior, who had the greatest opportunity to rebuild not just Afghanistan but the entire Eastern Block…but because of his short-sighted idiocy, he laid the groundwork for nearly all the foreign policy hells that we are not dealing with. W. might have had the right intentions, but he had his father’s vile tendencies and was not fit to run this show. And Trump is just a terrorist who, of course, supported other terrorists.
In short, this fiasco has shown that there are years and years and years of blame. And that if we are going to stop the endless circle of only half-heartedly supporting democracy. If we are to survive, we need to learn from our successes in Germany and Japan, and to a lesser degree, Taiwan and South Korea, and do what we can to help our current allies from becoming the next Afghanistan or next Hungary.