Jump to content

Looks like Afghanistan is in Taliban hands...or VERY soon to be


J.C.MacSwell
 Share

Recommended Posts

16 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

What was "the job"?  I mean, of the Americans, in Afghanistan? The pretext was looking for Bin Laden, but what was the real purpose and how would tell know when it's done?

To remove the Al-Qaida network and their influence, to mitigate the power of the Taliban and punish them for harboring terrorists, and to make sure no more terrorist attacks against the US could originate from Afghanistan. That was the job, so we're one for three.

The business, on the other hand, managed to keep the arms industry smiling. Billions spent on military hardware, much of it either in the hands of the Taliban now, or destroyed by our own to keep it from falling into terrorist hands. Billions more unaccounted for in corruption, waste, or abuse. We pretended we were helping the Afghans enjoy the fruits of modern freedom, but we left a bunch of greedy, inhuman profiteers in charge of making it so.

We never should have done things the way we did, given the history of the region. This is a culture that doesn't trust anyone they haven't sat at a tea table with, face to face. It would have been more effective to put a price on Bin Laden's head, or pay a bounty for captured terrorists. As it was, we kept alternating between burning opium fields and guarding them as a necessary cash crop for the economy, all the while trying to remake these people in our image. I'm sure they think we're insane and want nothing to do with us. 

I'm glad we're no longer there. I can't blame Biden since Trump would have done this in May, with even more disastrous results for those who waited too long to leave. And the Afghan president's departure is to blame for the speed with which the Taliban is retaking the country. Nothing demoralizes a soldier like seeing the fleeing backside of his C-in-C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

And the Afghan president's departure is to blame for the speed with which the Taliban is retaking the country. Nothing demoralizes a soldier like seeing the fleeing backside of his C-in-C.

From what I read, the demoralization basically started at least since the Doha agreement, where the US basically bypassed the Afghan government. Reading articles back to the beginning of the year man already predicted that this is going to weaken the Afghan government and embolden the Taliban. Leadership of the Afghan forces also saw the writing on the wall. At the same time, the Taliban basically got legitimacy, not only from the US but also Russia, China and Iran, which probably further weakened the position of the Afghan government.

  

3 hours ago, MigL said:

Exactly.
Almost 80 years after WW2, the US still has 6 Air Bases in Germany, as well as bases in Japan and Italy.
You obviously believe they shuld either stay out, or, once they've made the commitment, they should see it through, and not pull out before the job is done.
And obviously 20 years is not long enough to get the job done.

So if I take your comments together you seem to suggest that the plan should have been to  turn half of Afghanistan into radioactive wasteland and then stay there until things become better? I think you are aware that the bases in Japan and Germany serve very different purposes and that due to the economic boosts of reconstruction as well as global post-war economy resulted in economic benefits and stabilization in less than two decades.

But I do agree that building up Afghanistan would have been a much more complex and expensive endeavor and it clearly was not part of the plan (assuming there was on in the first place). Yet most of the money was spend on the military rather than building a country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some Afghans were always going to welcome the Taliban back,  because they saw them (in spite of the oppression) as inherently less corrupt than any civil government.  Taliban is the Pashto word for "students, " and refers to them all being raised in the madrassa system and its very disciplined (ascetic,  really,  to a western eye) approach to life.   For Pashtuns generally,  who are about fifty percent of Afghans,  Taliban rule means more Pashtun power.   For many men,  I suspect the conservative (Wahhabi) ideology is sold in terms of  better job prospects emerging when all women are forced from their present jobs (as has already begun,  per the NYT,  in major cities) and vacancies need filling.   

Basically,  most ordinary people there aren't concerned with big-picture stuff,  like how great western secular government might maybe possibly someday be.   Poor nations are full of poor people who have poor people priorities.   And there may also be a bit of that Trumpian effect,  where someone publicly deplores a regressive policy but has privately been thinking that way.   Just as Trump openly promised to take us back to 1953, and expressed white nationalist sentiments that had secretly been held by many, so perhaps the Taliban also resonate with many Muslim citizens who have publicly professed moderate and progressive leanings without, erm, total sincerity.  

Some are genuinely concerned about women's rights, including I'd imagine most women,  which may explain why the Taliban spokesmen are telling happy stories about the New Improved Softer emirate they're bringing.   It'll be interesting to see if any of that is real -- one could hope that students fresh from the madrassa in the 90s are now older and wiser.   Sending women home suggests maybe not all that wise.   Maybe not chopping off your hands for swiping an orange is the best that can be expected.   

(I copy/pasted this from myself,  but for some reason the text editor here insists on altering the font and making it look sort of like a quote.   Not sure what that's about. )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, CharonY said:

So if I take your comments together you seem to suggest that the plan should have been to  turn half of Afghanistan into radioactive wasteland and then stay there until things become better?

No, I simply presented different options, depending on your level of commitment.
One option would have been to do nothing, ignore the situation and stay out.
A second would have been a nuclear 'show of force' to gain fear and respect ( as their own leaders do ).
The third, and most expensive, would have been a commitment for the long run, giving Afghans a taste of a free democratic society, and ensuring they don't go back to the old way.

The Americans have spent a sizeable portion of the third option ( in money and lives ) to get the results of the first option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, TheVat said:

the Taliban spokesmen are telling happy stories about the New Improved Softer emirate they're bringing.

It’s PR. They need to show the most positive face to the rest of the world. They’re saying what we want/need to hear. However, it’s still just words. Actions will speak louder. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, MigL said:

One option would have been to do nothing, ignore the situation and stay out.

The most obvious option was to stay out. Ignore what situation? Several icons of capitalist might in the US were attacked by unidentified terrorists one morning. The nation of Afghanistan had never done anything to America, even thought the same Islamist regime had been in power for years. It happened to be one of a dozen countries in which anti-American groups were tolerated by the local authorities. The US demanded the man they identified as responsible (but could not meet the legal burden of an extradition hearing) and 

Quote

  That's not exactly standard international relations - or we'd be under bombardment for the past years, having refused to hand over Meng Wanzhou, a foreigner on Canadian soil, under the protection of Canadian law, whom the US wants for crimes the US claims this person has committed against it. 

If there was a situation in Afghanistan, it was entirely one-sided. Much as it was in Iraq. Whatever the real motives of the major American  players were and whether anybody besides the war profiteers and mercenaries came out ahead, the stated purposes of all that carnage were not met and not even convincingly pursued.  As for the cessation of Islamist terrorism against the US. There had been one attempt before September 2001, the bomb in the World trade center in 1993. And none since. (Lots of home-grown stuff that doesn't get mega resources committed to it!)   So, if the Islamist attacks were stopped, it was the red nail polish effect. (You don't see elephants in cherry trees.) 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

The third, and most expensive, would have been a commitment for the long run, giving Afghans a taste of a free democratic society, and ensuring they don't go back to the old way.

The third, least costly, in lives, land, material and political losses, and most mutually beneficial option would have been favourable trade agreements to gradually raise the Afghan standard of living and engender a spontaneous interest in western goods and ideas.

The US can't force its version of democracy and values on another people, any more than the Russians were able to force theirs on some of the same peoples.  

Edited by Peterkin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

The most obvious option was to stay out. Ignore what situation?

The same situation which is unfolding now.
And which everyone is worried about; the fate of women, minorities and human rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, MigL said:

And which everyone is worried about; the fate of women, minorities and human rights.

America and the most of the world had been quite successfully ignoring that situation for some little while. Why, suddenly, when they're still  upset about their towers and up to the thigh in Iraqi sand-fleas, do Americans become concerned with Afghan women? Not Nigerian women, not Saudi women, not Chinese or Argentine women, just the the Afghan ones? As for human rights and minorities.... that's too deep a can of worms for one meal.    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Peterkin said:

Ah. So the only questions remaining:

How much worse did they make "the situation"?  and

What [in all currencies] did it cost?

 Lets just forgive them the most audacious attack in living memory, dig three thousand graves and forget about it. I think not. Nobody knows the consequences of their "solutions" until they are carried out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should have known you were a pessimist, Peterkin, when you posted the status update "Behind every opportunity is a disaster waiting to happen" 😄 😄

Having spent most of my life close to the American border, I have been exposed to, and come to know many Americans.
I, being an optimist, choose to see the 'good' Americans have done.
You ( and a lot of other Canadians ) choose to see the 'bad'.
Now, don't get me wrong, I realize there has been 'bad', but I don't attribute it to nefarious reasons, simply poor planning.
And sometimes, the incompetence of those in charge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, MigL said:

I should have known you were a pessimist, Peterkin, when you posted the status update "Behind every opportunity is a disaster waiting to happen" 😄 😄

Having spent most of my life close to the American border, I have been exposed to, and come to know many Americans.
I, being an optimist, choose to see the 'good' Americans have done.
You ( and a lot of other Canadians ) choose to see the 'bad'.
Now, don't get me wrong, I realize there has been 'bad', but I don't attribute it to nefarious reasons, simply poor planning.
And sometimes, the incompetence of those in charge.

What was that saying: 'Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, MigL said:

You ( and a lot of other Canadians ) choose to see the 'bad'.

It's hard to see the "good" side of ripped and scorched corpses, mangled and scorched houses, poisoned and scorched farms. The recent wars, declared and hooded, that the US has waged against much weaker, poorly equipped nations, designated unilaterally by the US as enemies, have not looked good to me - not at all.  I didn't choose the bad; Some US administrations chose it and the US military carried it out - with some help from the governments and armies of the UK and Canada - and without the support of a great many citizens of all three countries.  

I've travelled and lived (briefly) in the US. I came to know some Americans, both who live there and who came here to live.  Many of them very good people, and those very good people are as pessimistic and afraid of the others as I am.

36 minutes ago, MigL said:

Now, don't get me wrong, I realize there has been 'bad', but I don't attribute it to nefarious reasons, simply poor planning.
And sometimes, the incompetence of those in charge.

That's raising optimism to a level far beyond my capacity. 

13 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

What was that saying: 'Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"

The operative word is 'adequately' - and you should probably preface it with "In the absence of evidence to the contrary,"

I don't see either of those conditions met.  

Edited by Peterkin
wrong word
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/16/2021 at 4:55 AM, J.C.MacSwell said:

After 20 years though...we lost. Hopefully we come to terms with that, and not try to turn it around.

"We lost"?  It depends what you think the goal was.  The US succeeded in its mission to disrupt Al Qaeda.  We didn't lose that mission.

Regarding nation building and equipping the Afghan army: one could argue that we succeeded at that as well.

Those who "lost" this war were the Afghan military.  It was their responsibility, ultimately, to step up and defend their country.  They chose not to.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

It can't have been an easy choice for them.

Most western nations were once ruled by tyrants and oppressive regimes, sometimes even overseas regimes in the case of the Americas. And the hard choices were made, at great cost of lives, in cases like the American Revolution, the French Revolution, two world wars for other European countries, etc., to throw off the yoke of oppressive regimes and ideologies.

The Afghans haven't had a taste of 'free society' long enough to develop a taste for it, so they have chosen the easy way, and gone back to the status quo.
Maybe next time ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

"We lost"?  It depends what you think the goal was.  The US succeeded in its mission to disrupt Al Qaeda.  We didn't lose that mission.

Agreed, a just and admirable mission after 9/11

1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Regarding nation building and equipping the Afghan army: one could argue that we succeeded at that as well.

Those who "lost" this war were the Afghan military.  It was their responsibility, ultimately, to step up and defend their country.  They chose not to.  

Perhaps why they did turn tale and run so readily, was that those training them, never really extracted the possible extreme ideaology sprinkled throughout their ranks. And the possible unspeakable barbaric consequences if they had fought on and been captured.

And 100% yes to the second. 

 

7 hours ago, StringJunky said:

 Lets just forgive them the most audacious attack in living memory, dig three thousand graves and forget about it. I think not. Nobody knows the consequences of their "solutions" until they are carried out.

Yes, another totally valid, and real statement. While things in hindsight may have been undertaken differently, the reprisal was certainly justified, as was finally finding the tyrant and burying him at sea.

 

The big billion dollar question is if the "present Taliban" will be true to their word, or if it is all froth and bubble..will Al Qaeda get a look in...how strict will they adhere to "Sharia law" and how will it be interpreted? Will the many hundreds that remain that have worked with or for the Invasion alliance, be subjected to reprisal? Or forgiven by their new Overlords.

Religion again rearing its "sometimes"ugly head, along with extreme political idealogy. 

Edited by beecee
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, MigL said:

Most western nations were once ruled by tyrants and oppressive regimes, sometimes even overseas regimes in the case of the Americas. And the hard choices were made, at great cost of lives, in cases like the American Revolution, the French Revolution, two world wars for other European countries, etc., to throw off the yoke of oppressive regimes and ideologies.

The Afghans haven't had a taste of 'free society' long enough to develop a taste for it, so they have chosen the easy way, and gone back to the status quo.
Maybe next time ...

Freedom means little when there is no economic benefit. Conversely, high economic status can make tyranny palatable. It is not only a matter of time, but of distribution. Folks in Kabul are far more critical (and fearful) of the Taliban and the repressions that they will bring than those in rural areas where the purported freedom had little effect on their daily lives. Also, while folks in the big cities did not seem to mind the Americans, some might actually think that folks like the Taliban are actually those that freed folks from the yoke of oppressive regimes like the British, Soviets or Americans....

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I hold the opposite opinion. Any economic benefits beyond necessities of life mean little without freedom.

I think it is a nice notion that does not hold up well empirically. There are quite a few failed attempts of democracies, both historical as well as recent ones, where economic hardship toppled democratic governments and made way for dictatorships. Conversely, there countries which are barely free or struggling in that regard, but which are surprisingly stable, at least in part kept going by a robust economy (though it is certainly not the only factor).

More specifically, I think freedom as as good in itself is a bit of a privileged way of thinking. There is a huge gap between having necessity of life fulfilled and a decent standard of living. If whatever is considered freedom (say elections) do not make any change in everyday's life, it does not appear like a tangible benefit for most. Moreover, we also have seen that there are always quite a few folks even in a free system, which actually do not like freedom if it counters their beliefs (looking at the US here, though Poland and Hungary certainly are also good examples). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, beecee said:

Perhaps why they did turn tale and run so readily, was that those training them, never really extracted the possible extreme ideaology sprinkled throughout their ranks

The history of Afghanistan is one where hedging bets is important. Most often within a single family, one brother would fight for one side while the other brother would fight for the other… just to cover their bets. It’s unrealistic in my opinion to expect a few years (like 5) of insurrection and crowd control training from the US military to alter that basic fact of their culture that’s existed for hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of years. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

The history of the USA, never afraid to make the hard choices, is littered with no-longer-useful allies under various buses.

Really ???

The US has been protecting your ass ( and all other Canadians ) for the last 75 years, and shouldering the vast majority of the burden.
Through NATO, it has been protecting Europe ( who don't seem able to do anything on their own; remember Kosovo ? ), and expanding that protection to states that have cast off Soviet oppression, again shouldering most of the burden.
Through SEATO, it is protecting South East Asian/Oceanian states.

It maintains a presence in South Korea, after 70 years, as well as air bases in Japan and the previously mentioned European air bases. These allies seem to be doing great under the 'bus'.

All we ever get from Canadian Liberals ( other than useless elections  and fawning admiration of oppressive regimes like China and Cuba ) is talk about withdrawing from NATO.
Secure in the knowledge that the US will protect us, no matter what stupid decisions we make.

 

1 hour ago, CharonY said:

whatever is considered freedom (say elections)

Elections are not freedom.
They are simply the way we choose a representative government.
( which is an aspect of freedom )

I would think a better metric of freedom for an Afghan family, is whether their daughter can drive the car to school or place of employment, without having acid thrown in her face.

Edited by MigL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.