I don’t think anyone can accuse me of being a simp for Joe Biden. That said, sometimes the right things are done, and we need to give him credit. One of those things is following through on President Trump’s decision to leave Afghanistan.
Even though Biden’s execution of our withdrawal from Afghanistan was an utter dog’s breakfast of failure on every level and demonstrated that the Biden White House, his woke Defense Department, and the “white rage” cult commanding our military forces were not up to any task of any significance (Deputy Secretary of State Claims That the ‘Process Worked’ for the Afghanistan Mission and Everything You Know Is Wrong), the decision was 20 years overdue.
By the time we left Afghanistan, we had been at war there longer than some of the soldiers fighting the war had been alive. So why were we there in the first place? Because the plot to attack America on September 11, 2001, was hatched there by al Qaeda forces in training camps protected by the government. The mission of destroying those camps and removing the government that had protected them was articulated by President Bush in October 2001.
That problem had been solved by the spring of 2002. Then, in April 2002, George Bush gave a speech that laid out an expansive plan for fixing Afghanistan and making it a place where “…peace will be achieved through an education system for boys and girls which works,” and “develop[ing] an economy that can feed its people without feeding the world’s demand for drugs.” That section begins at 23:42 of the video.
Ever since we accomplished the mission of overthrowing the Taliban and routing al-Qaeda out of their camps, I have one question. Now what? What does a win look like when our objective is transforming Afghan society, culture, and economy? How do we know when we’ve done enough? Did anyone really think they could alter a society that treats women like chattel without resorting to repopulating the country with people who were not Afghans? Did anyone consider the possibility that by meddling in Afghan culture and society, particularly at the family unit level, we might be recruiting troops for the Taliban? Did we think that by sending DEA agents to eradicate opium poppies, the only cash crop available in large parts of the country, we might be encouraging farmers to kill us rather than grow kale or quinoa?
In my long-held view, our best play was to leave in 2002 and make it clear that if things started regressing, we’d be back to kill people and break things. I think the CIA whacking long-in-the-tooth, out-of-the-loop al-Qaeda chieftain Zayman al-Zawahiri is a validation of the withdrawal (Al-Qaeda Chieftain Ayman al-Zawahiri Killed by CIA Drone Strike). Yes, the Taliban gave their word they wouldn’t shelter terrorists during the negotiations process, but did anyone really believe it? We located al-Zawahiri, rumor has it that he was ratted out by one of the Taliban factions, and we killed him.
What concerns me now is that I’m reading people who call themselves conservatives who are criticizing Biden because al-Zawahiri showed up in Afghanistan. Give me a break. Of course, terrorists are going to show up there. The question is, what do we do about it? Do we adopt the Bill Clinton strategy of tying ourselves in such a legal knot that we stop ourselves from acting? Because make no mistake about it, al-Qaeda grew in Afghanistan because Bill Clinton and the over-educated cretins in his administration made proactive measures illegal. Don’t take my word for it; read Ghost Wars by Steve Coll; I highly recommend it.
Tonight on Trey Gowdy’s show, he interviewed Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher. Gallager is on the House Armed Services Committee and expressed the opinion that al-Zawahiri’s appearance in Kabul showed the failure of withdrawing from Afghanistan in favor of an “over the horizon” presence. The unstated implication was that we needed an on-the-ground presence.
We shouldn’t be more concerned about individual terrorists taking up residence in Afghanistan than Antifa gathering in Portland. We have sufficient intelligence assets to ensure camps don’t form and that the Taliban doesn’t take on a partnership with a terrorist group. If those things do happen, we have the strike capability to solve the problem.
I’m not saying we need to give Biden a pass on the screwed-up stuff he does. He needs to be held to account for the tragi-comic withdrawal from Afghanistan. That said, as we face China in the Pacific, the last thing we need is a needless war that doesn’t have victory conditions. We did that for 20 years. We should’ve learned our lesson.