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#335029 08/13/21 12:48 PM
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Did Biden make the right call, or did he make a big mistake?

Not being a junkie for such international affairs, my first reaction is to think that Afghanistan has long been an open sore, and nobody seems to have found a cure (it’s not clear me that anyone’s objective has ever been a “cure”).

I can imagine that there are bigger picture strategies that benefit from containment of the Taliban, but I know nothing about them.

Just read an opinion piece by Peter Bergen who says that whatever disaster unfolds there will be Biden’s fault - no doubt that will be the political fallout, but it seems like a petty and naive claim from a distinguished expert. I think Bergen has a major bias, but no cure to offer.

Any opinions?


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
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logtroll #335030 08/13/21 02:34 PM
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Does anyone remember the main reason the 13 tribe Northern Alliance were fighting the Taliban in the first place? Each tribe is fiercely independent, wanting to be ruled over by their own tribal elders and religious folks. Not by someone from an outside tribe. The Taliban were trying to rule over all the tribes of Afghanistan, rule by one tribe, one man.

Sure, we were after UBL and AQ as the reason we went in and became involved. We fought a very smart war to begin with. With a few SF and paramilitary folks on the ground letting the Afghani do the ground fighting, using our air power, we drove the Taliban, AQ, UBL into the mountains on the Pakistani Border.

Then we began this thing called Nation Building. Guess what? We decided to force a form of government on the Afghans that they didn't want. All the tribes of the Northern Alliance wanted was to return to their tribal homeland, be ruled over by their own tribal elders and religious folks. Not to be ruled over by another tribe or a leader from another tribe.

The short story is we didn't let the Afghani decide what form of government they wanted, we decided for them. This caused many of the original 13 tribes of the Northern Alliance who were once our staunch allies to desert us and begin to fight us and the government we set up. Not the Afghan's, but we.

there's a heck of a lot more in this story. More than a book's worth. Have no doubt that once the Taliban is back in control, AQ and ISIS will return to their original training ground.

Did Biden make a mistake, someone had to decide to end this affair even though I'm positive it will mean we return in different ways to take on AQ and ISIS again along with the Taliban. AQ and ISIS will give us plenty of reasons to return.

The mistake was nation building, we deciding that Democracy would be the Afghans form of government. Not letting the Afghani decide what form of government on their own. Could Biden take a huge hit on the withdrawal. Certainly, especially when AQ and ISIS return and begin launching terrorist attacks. Biden will be blamed. The blame should rest on those who decided to force a type of government on the Afghani's that they didn't want and were willing to fight against. And yes, to join the Taliban to get rid of this unwanted type of government.

After the smart war, without nation building there was a simple way to ensure the Taliban, ISIS and AQ didn't return without a hundred thousand troops on the ground.. That's another story for another day.


It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.
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logtroll #335031 08/13/21 04:51 PM
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Quote
Did Biden make the right call, or did he make a big mistake?

I don't think ending a war is ever a bad thing. Especially a decades-long failed occupation.

Any nation-building that gets done needs to be done by Afghanis. Chances are the Taliban will take over, there will be armed rebellions and the Tribes will split again. Folks are gonna suffer either way, but at least they will be suffering at the hands of their own countryman instead of Americans.


Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...
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Greger #335035 08/13/21 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Greger
Quote
Did Biden make the right call, or did he make a big mistake?

I don't think ending a war is ever a bad thing. Especially a decades-long failed occupation.

Any nation-building that gets done needs to be done by Afghanis. Chances are the Taliban will take over, there will be armed rebellions and the Tribes will split again. Folks are gonna suffer either way, but at least they will be suffering at the hands of their own countryman instead of Americans.

In the end the Taliban still need to do business.
Their ability to do business will always be impacted to some degree by what kind of people they are.
Even if they shut out the entire free world, eventually they will need to buy stuff and make stuff.
Let's suppose they tie their fortunes to China, even the most jaded Chinese tycoon is going to likely be taken aback at the thought of what the Taliban's extremism may do to his fortunes.

The herd all gather at a common watering hole, and if a couple of herd members keep giving the rest of the herd the stinkeye, they will eventually become less welcome. You can't bring a Kimodo Dragon to the watering hole and expect the rest of the herd to see you as anything but an enemy.


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logtroll #335036 08/13/21 08:10 PM
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Which brings up an interesting question Greger. Do you think the Afghans suffered more under the Americans or have or will suffer more under the Taliban?

In a way that question is irrelevant, mainly because the Taliban will become the rulers and have their way with the people of Afghanistan. Which makes 20 years of so called nation building a total waste. Nonetheless, I think the people of Afghanistan suffered a heck of a lot less while we were there than what awaits them in the future or even today.

what will happen, will happen. But the bottom line might be that their future, the future of Afghanistan is to be decided by the Afghani. Perhaps we just gave the people there a 20 year reprieve. It all depends on how one looks at it.

The Taliban is out for blood and they'll have it much like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia. Killing or having caused the death of 2-3 million Cambodians out of a country of originally 7 million after the war was over.


It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.
logtroll #335047 08/14/21 10:52 PM
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What very few people in the West know, is that the principle occupation in Afghanistan is farm labor. Usually, they grow enough food to feed their people, and even export a bit. If you are doing farm labor, what difference does it make if the guys walking around with machine guns are American or Taliban. Doesn't get the wheat crop harvested. Or fruit dried. Or carpets woven.

All the economic activity will continue. The Taliban can't improve it. All they can do is to make things worse. For example, they can take over the copper mines, but they don't know crap about copper mining. So good luck to them. Afghanistan is where empires go to die. It's a tar baby!

Maybe Iran will try to take over when the Taliban fail. smile


We're flying electric helicopters on Mars yet you can't turn on your clothes dryer in Texas. That's because scientists are in charge of Mars, and Republicans are in charge of Texas.
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Very few in the West much give a rat's ass what happens in Afghanistan one way or the other.

Biden botched the exodus. They shoulda been flying civilians out of there for months before they moved any military personnel.


Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...
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logtroll #335049 08/15/21 01:04 PM
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The state department is always like that. They want to remain until the very end, perhaps as a sign of support for the government, but who knows. If you pulled them out earlier, it would be viewed as a sign of non-support for the government we installed. We always think the evacuation will take place in a nice, orderly, efficient manner.

I was working for JUSMAGTHAI in April of 1975 when Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of Phnom Penh was done. It went like clock work. but we pulled everyone out 2 weeks ahead of time before the fall of Phnom Penh.

Still in Thailand when Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon was done. It was a screwed up mess. They waited until the last minute to even start it, it was chaos from start to finish. Evacuating folks on the last day, the last hour. The North Vietnamese could have stopped it in its tracks if they wanted to and took all the Embassy folks and other contract civilians captive. But the North Vietnamese let the evacuation continue basically unhindered. That was one heck of a mess. A total screw up. Only the mercy of the North Vietnamese stopped us from losing thousands of Americans. I think the North Vietnamese let the evacuation continue mainly because they didn't want American civilian captives. The NVA had captured Ton Son Nhut Airfield, so helicopter from the embassy was the only option left thank to piss poor prior planning or should I say waiting too long.

Now Afghanistan, we'll never learn. Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of Phnom Penh proved it could be done properly with little fuss and very efficiently. If we do it before the last minuet or even the last second.


It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.
perotista #335052 08/15/21 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by perotista
The state department is always like that. They want to remain until the very end, perhaps as a sign of support for the government, but who knows.

You don't think individual hubris and pride play a role in the delays and the incompetence?
I don't think anyone ever wants to be the last one to shut off the lights and lock the doors.
Thus, the job falls to no one and no one does the job.


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logtroll #335055 08/15/21 05:45 PM
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I'm not sure about Afghanistan, but Ford let the Ambassadors make the call in both Phnom Penh and Saigon as to when to evacuate. It was Ambassador Dean in Cambodia who made the call for an early evacuation. Martin who was Ambassador to South Vietnam put off the evacuation until the last minute. The writing was on the wall for both, one went a bit early, the other I'd say almost too late.

But the decision was left strictly to the Ambassadors as to when to evacuate. They were the highest ranking official on the ground. The advancement of the Taliban was much more rapid than that of the Khmer Rouge or the NVA. The Khmer Rouge had Phnom Penh surrounded ever since August of 1973. The NVA started their advancement in Dec/Jan 1974/75. Phnom Penh fell 17 Apr and Saigon on 30 Apr 1975.

A week ago, no one ever thought the Taliban would be threatening Kabul this fast. One can say that was totally unexpected. But I don't know if the Ambassador was the one to make the evacuation call or if it was someone higher up for Afghanistan.

I'm no longer in or work for the military, so I get my news like everyone else with no insider information on it.


It's high past time that we start electing Americans to congress and the presidency who put America first instead of their political party. For way too long we have been electing Republicans and Democrats who happen to be Americans instead of Americans who happen to be Republicans and Democrats.
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