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


J.C.MacSwell
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7 hours ago, MigL said:

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.

Thank God for civic-minded foxes, without whom so many hen-houses might go unguarded!

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19 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.

History, suggest's, there is something to be learned... 

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1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

Thank God for civic-minded foxes, without whom so many hen-houses might go unguarded!

I'm sure you'd feel much safer living next to Russia or China.
Ukrainians and Taiwanese have nothing but good things to say about their neighbors.

But why bother with evidence when you can just make cute quips about foxes and hens ...

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18 hours ago, StringJunky said:

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

The version of that which has "stupidity," instead of incompetence, is known as Hanlon's razor,  and one of my favorite razors.   The USA,  in its military incursions into Asian countries,  seems the poster child of combined stupidity and incompetence.   

 

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4 minutes ago, TheVat said:

The version of that which has "stupidity," instead of incompetence, is known as Hanlon's razor,  and one of my favorite razors.   The USA,  in its military incursions into Asian countries,  seems the poster child of combined stupidity and incompetence.   

 

It's easy and consequence-free to be an armchair military tactician with hindsight to work with.

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30 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

It's easy and consequence-free to be an armchair military tactician with hindsight to work with.

Not sure what you're saying here.   I wasn't opining on specific tactics (not my forte),  just agreeing with your Hanlon's razor -- i. e. that our intentions have not been malicious so much as misguided by bad intelligence (in Vietnam,  the MacNamara report would be a case, if you've looked at that era) and meager cultural understanding.  If I misunderstood you, I am sorry.

Full disclosure:  I'm an American, and any critique I offer is made from a place of loving my country and always wanting it to grow fully into its principles of freedom and justice.   Fifty years of watching our foreign adventures (I come from a family of journalists) has led me to the opinion that we might do better with a more hands-off approach militarily,  and stick with economic support that helps struggling states not become failed states.   

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11 hours ago, MigL said:

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.

I think that is the issue here, though. In the cities folks clearly enjoyed their rights and privileges (and this is where we see protests against the Taliban). In rural areas even primary schools may not even be feasible (or having a car). As such the theoretical freedom of being able to do that has no or little tangible impact to them. That is why I mentioned that you likely need to have tangible outcomes (e.g. in form of economic benefits) as otherwise whatever we (from a very privileged position) consider to be freedom remains an abstract entity. 

One can make an even simpler calculation. Assuming that the only way to feed your family is grow opium and there is one group who pays you, and another group who burns your field but promises you freedom, where would your sympathies be? You cannot get a good taste of freedom if you are hungry.

I think most of our thoughts on that matter are colored by our own histories and how we think about things like freedom.

I think we and also the US going in, simply did not know about the Afghan people to make the right choices and changes. This, in fact seems to be a common theme that I read from interviews going over a decade back. Almost every year you can find documents from the US (or UK) highlighting the discrepancy between the public presentation of the situation in Afghanistan and the internal bewilderment and lack of strategy.

 

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It's hard for me to imagine serious, educated men, with serious, important jobs, 1. not knowing that they are ignorant about a country they're deciding whether to wage war on, 2. not consulting insider advisors less ignorant than themselves 3. refusing to listen to knowledgeable outsiders who offer free advice, 4. not knowing that a military intervention always ends, blights and destroys many people's lives, or, knowing, then 5. deciding on a policy of military intervention anyway  6. after repeated bad outcomes in similar situations - all with the intention of helping the nation they've sent their tanks to overrun.  I'm just not convinced they all meant well. 

Edited by Peterkin
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4 hours ago, TheVat said:

Not sure what you're saying here.   I wasn't opining on specific tactics (not my forte),  just agreeing with your Hanlon's razor -- i. e. that our intentions have not been malicious so much as misguided by bad intelligence (in Vietnam,  the MacNamara report would be a case, if you've looked at that era) and meager cultural understanding.  If I misunderstood you, I am sorry.

Full disclosure:  I'm an American, and any critique I offer is made from a place of loving my country and always wanting it to grow fully into its principles of freedom and justice.   Fifty years of watching our foreign adventures (I come from a family of journalists) has led me to the opinion that we might do better with a more hands-off approach militarily,  and stick with economic support that helps struggling states not become failed states.   

Sorry, I read it the wrong way... the limitations of reading text. :)

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1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

It's hard for me to imagine serious, educated men, with serious, important jobs, 1. not knowing that they are ignorant about a country they're deciding whether to wage war on, 2. not consulting insider advisors less ignorant than themselves 3. refusing to listen to knowledgeable outsiders who offer free advice, 4. not knowing that a military intervention always ends, blights and destroys many people's lives, or, knowing, then 5. deciding on a policy of military intervention anyway  6. after repeated bad outcomes in similar situations - all with the intention of helping the nation they've sent their tanks to overrun.  I'm just not convinced they all meant well. 

I think it is worthwhile mentioning this article again:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/

 

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Can't. But the headline is nothing new.

Why did the US-backed government collapse? It shouldn't have been a surprise! Same reason all Potemkin villages do once they're hit with a single round of ammunition: it was never real. Why did the US trained and armed Afghan army desert? Same reason: it was a make-believe army of men who took the only job they could get - and if they could make points with the bosses they knew by passing along a few American weapons, so much the better.

Daddy Warbucks did very well indeed - everyone else lost. Even the Taliban. They got their country back - only it's broken again, with a an economy in shambles, with a lot of citizens who will have to purged or feared, children with a taste for chocolate and bubble gum, women discontent with their place, peasants with no fields to tend, sad people with lost relatives. They won't know how to cope with this complexity of loss, grief and frustration. 

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14 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Good analysis here of why the government collapsed so quickly.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI7FTx2_lB0

 

I don't think it does that (the so quickly part) but +1 for the link.

We had a relatively smooth (World Wars notwithstanding, since they were on the same side) transition from British to American World hegemony but he seems to have a grasp of the American's workings of it, and why they probably can't maintain it.

(OT, but his video with advice for anti-vaxxers is also pretty good)

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Sorry, I made a mistake on the rating: I meant to applaud the video and then I tried to undo it and that just made it worse. I guess I shouldn't try to use that function at all.  

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3 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Sorry, I made a mistake on the rating: I meant to applaud the video and then I tried to undo it and that just made it worse. I guess I shouldn't try to use that function at all.  

Not even sure what the rating is...but if I got an undeserved +1...all good!

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

It's behind a paywall.

It make quite some waves when it came out (I do not have access anymore), and there is a book on this matter titled "The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War".

A couple of excerpts and comments from reviews:

Quote

Bush administration officials could never wrap their heads around the fact that the Taliban and al-Qaida were distinct entities and were convinced that anyone willing to fight against them was a friend of the U.S. Those presumed allies milked a gullible U.S. dry. One interviewee notes that the U.S. misadventure could have ended in weeks if direct negotiations with the Taliban had been undertaken. Instead, enemies were misidentified and innocent people killed so frequently that one officer reported that some units were “focused in consequence management, paying Afghans for damages and condolence payments.”

Quote

“We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking,” recalled Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the White House war czar under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“We did not know what we were doing,” said Richard Boucher, the Bush administration’s top diplomat for South and Central Asia.

“There was a tremendous … dysfunctionality in unity of command inside of Afghanistan, inside the military,” recalled Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, an early Afghanistan War commander.

“There was no campaign plan,” confessed Army Gen. Dan McNeill, who twice served as the top commander in Afghanistan under Bush. “I tried to get someone to define for me what winning meant, even before I went over, and nobody could.”

 

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Another good article from the Atlantic focusing in saving US allies.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/america-afghanistan-allies/619784/

A huge issue is that the US has stated repeatedly that they did not had an interest in nation-building (as MigL mentioned) and Afghanistan was a mostly self-serving endeavor, which barely involved Afghan interest. It was an attempt to graft an American model on Afghanistan. It was not just bad intelligence, but just overall poor knowledge of the society (because frankly, no one really cared, there was money to be made).

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Biden is obviously struggling politically with this bass-ack-wards/incompetent withdrawal, even seemingly doubling down on his (his??) mistakes, refusing to acknowledge both the blame for it and the disdain directed at him at home and abroad...but as bad as it seems...it could be much worse. Somehow the Taliban are avoiding doing the worst of what could be expected from a multi faction rebellious group. As sad as all of it is to see, and knowing full well this is probably just the tip of the tip of the iceberg so far...Biden has at least not exacerbated the situation with any military "statements".

Small comfort to those still in peril, Afghan women who will lose the rights they've deservedly come to realize, and those taking the brunt of any barbarity...but so far....so un-worst.

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12 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Biden is obviously struggling politically with this bass-ack-wards/incompetent withdrawal,

Of course he's struggling. Each new president inherits the bass-ackward incompetence and crappy decisions of the six or seven preceding administrations, and the same brass-bound, uncommunicative, recalcitrant military hierarchy that leaves all the messy splats on the ground and swaggers away. This president is at least doing something, even if he was pushed into it unprepared. 

Do you know what he's doing behind the scenes? I don't. What do you think he should do that's within his power to do? I have no frickin idea.

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10 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Of course he's struggling...

 ...What do you think he should do that's within his power to do?

You seem to have quoted and taken exception to my preamble. (despite probably agreeing with it?)

I think he should, details aside, maintain some restraint. I'm not going to applaud him for doing that, but so far I'm relieved that he has.

I'm sure he is under a lot of pressure to "do something".

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