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(171,128 posts)
Sat Aug 14, 2021, 06:56 AM Aug 2021

America's Catastrophic Afghanistan Exit Has Many Fathers

Good article; pay wall unfortunately.

America’s Catastrophic Afghanistan Exit Has Many Fathers
While history offered U.S. leaders 3,000 years of warnings, it does not offer them an excuse.
David Rothkopf
Published Aug. 13, 2021 5:41PM ET


It is a cliché now, to the extent useful historical context can be characterized as such, to note that the interventions of foreign powers in Afghanistan are typically difficult and more often than not end badly for the invaders. The litany of those who came and went, who grappled with the reality of a largely poor, fragmented tribal society, difficult physical terrain and an ebbing will to pay the price Afghanistan demands of its visitors, is strikingly long. It includes the Persians, the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, Mughals, Sikhs, the British, the Soviets and to what will be the enduring discredit of America’s leaders, us.


When Biden came into office, he delayed that departure date. But he could not ignore the obvious. America no longer had any pressing national interest in Afghanistan that would warrant a permanent presence like in Germany (to support NATO and offset Russian strength) or in Korea (to help counter the threat from North Korea). Our efforts to support the central government and retrain the military were not gaining necessary traction. Terrorist groups had largely decamped to other parts of the world. Further, Biden had 20 years of evidence that a U.S. presence on the ground would not and could not achieve the kind of stability that would ensure that upon our departure the country would not immediately revert to the Taliban.

So Biden did what his predecessors had not dared to do. He made the hard decision to leave, knowing that the political fallout from the inevitable aftermath would fall on him. (He also knew that stay or go, his critics would attack him.) But there were no better alternatives recommended by anyone. And by leaving, our troops would no longer be at risk, our costs would be contained, and our attentions could be devoted to higher priorities. He and his team correctly argued that the U.S. military was not the way to advance our longer-term objectives in the country, which would have to be handled by diplomats and international institutions.


Joe Biden is doing the right thing. His team is not executing the departure well. He and they bear responsibility for that. But they no more bear the primary responsibility for the fiasco that was America’s longest war than did Gerald Ford did for all our errors in Vietnam when the last U.S. helicopter lifted off the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon on April 30 of 1975.

It could be argued that every U.S. administration from Carter through Trump bears greater responsibility for what went wrong with U.S. policy in Afghanistan than Biden’s. What is going on there now is awful. But make no mistake, getting out and getting out now is what we needed to do. Continuing to do what had not worked for two decades would only meet the famed definition of insanity. Biden recognized that it is the job of leaders sometimes to do painful things, things that damage them politically.



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America's Catastrophic Afghanistan Exit Has Many Fathers (Original Post) babylonsister Aug 2021 OP
This message was self-deleted by its author bluedevil4 Aug 2021 #1
I'm deleting my post bluedevil4 Aug 2021 #2
Biden had the courage to pull us out of another True Blue American Aug 2021 #3
It's called the Graveyard of Empires for a reason. bearsfootball516 Aug 2021 #4
The two pairs to blame are Carter/Brzezinski and Bush/Khalilzad Klaralven Aug 2021 #5

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

True Blue American

(17,999 posts)
3. Biden had the courage to pull us out of another
Sat Aug 14, 2021, 07:25 AM
Aug 2021

Republican mess. It would not matter how long we stayed it would be the same.

He is now bringing those who helped our, something they should have done before we left. They had warning.



(7,510 posts)
5. The two pairs to blame are Carter/Brzezinski and Bush/Khalilzad
Sat Aug 14, 2021, 07:48 AM
Aug 2021

Carter/Brzezinski originated the idea that the US should support Islamic fundamentalists as a way of combating godless communists in Central Asia. They began the program of CIA support and encouragement for Saudi Arabian Wahhabists and Pakistani Deobandists to weave together the Taliban ideology as part of the support for mujahidin in Afghanistan. They are the fathers of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc. I think that Carter bought the bill of goods that Islamic "believers" were somehow akin to Christian "believers".

Bush/Khalilzad put the Pashtuns back in power by supporting Hamid Karzai and the Loya Jirga of 2002. There is little difference between Pashtun culture and Taliban ideology, so this made the Taliban resurgence and Pashtun dominance of Afghanistan inevitable.

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