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onetexan's Journal
onetexan's Journal
August 27, 2021

General Petreaus on Afghanistan: This collapse, while it seems sudden, has been years in the making.


This collapse, while it seems sudden, has been years in the making. Bergen asked Petraeus if peace negotiations with the Taliban over the past three years set the stage for all of this.
"Yes, at least in part," Petraeus said. I'll break his detailed answer into parts:
"First, the negotiations announced to the Afghan people and the Taliban that the US really did intend to leave (which also made the job of our negotiators even more difficult than it already was, as we were going to give them what they most wanted, regardless of what they committed to us).
"Second, we undermined the elected Afghan government, however flawed it may have been, by not insisting on a seat for it at the negotiations we were conducting about the country they actually governed.
"Third, as part of the eventual agreement, we forced the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban fighters, many of whom quickly returned to the fight as reinforcements for the Taliban. Fourth, the commitment gave President Biden an additional justification/excuse to do what he wanted to do -- leave."
August 24, 2021

Rachel M: Americans eager to be part of Afghan rescue mission; Officials 'deluged' with help offers


This is so great - a chance to really help our Afghan brothers & sisters and their families resettle & rebuild their lives here in the US. If you are in TX please check out here: https://www.rstx.org/

August 20, 2021

AFL-CIO elects first woman president; first African-American for No. 2 job


Fri, August 20, 2021, 12:06 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor organization, on Friday elected Liz Shuler, a longtime trade unionist, to serve as the federation's first woman president, succeeding Richard Trumka, who died unexpectedly earlier this month.

The AFL-CIO's executive council also elected Fred Redmond, international vice president of the United Steelworkers (USW) union as secretary-treasurer, making him the first African- American to hold the organization's No. 2 office.

A woman for AFL-CIO President & a POC for exec council! Woohooo!!
August 20, 2021

And here it is folks: Admission by the Con's own lackeys that deal w Taliban was a bad one


But as Republicans continue to prosecute that case, something interesting keeps cropping up: former Trump administration officials seeking not just to bash Biden, but to distance themselves from the Trump administration’s own actions on this front.

That goes particularly for the deal the Trump administration cut with the Taliban last year. And we’re talking about many of its top foreign-policy figures.

(Christopher) Miller’s implication seems to be: We weren’t really going to do this thing that just plunged Afghanistan into chaos and allowed the Taliban to re-seize power. But it still meant the deal was in place and had to be dealt with by Biden, who has argued that it left him with a choice between full withdrawal and an escalation if he pulled out of the deal.

Miller has argued that Biden could have renegotiated the deal if he wanted to. But as the Associated Press rightly notes, Biden had little leverage as someone who had been pushing for a U.S. withdrawal for years.

And that’s something several key Trump foreign-policy hands seem to acknowledge.

Esper, too, has tried to play his part in crafting the public narrative of Trump’s deal with the Taliban — but not in a positive way for Trump. Esper said Trump undermined the agreement by continuing to withdraw troops despite the Taliban not living up to its end of the bargain, which was signed in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020. And he explicitly tied that the deal to what happened in recent days.

“Otherwise,” Esper said to CNN of his advice to Trump, “we would see a number of things play out, which are unfolding right now in many ways.”

Trump’s former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, has been arguably the most brutal about the Taliban deal. Having in the past compared it to the infamous Munich agreement of 1938 which paved the way for Adolf Hitler’s rise, McMaster even more explicitly tied the events of the past week to it.

“Our secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] signed a surrender agreement with the Taliban,” McMaster told Bari Weiss. “This collapse goes back to the capitulation agreement of 2020. The Taliban didn’t defeat us. We defeated ourselves.”

No sh!t

August 16, 2021

Tom Nichols (The Atlantic): The American public now has what it wanted (Afghanistan)


And now those same Americans have the full withdrawal from Afghanistan they apparently want: Some 70 percent of the public supports a pullout. Not that they care that intensely about it; as the foreign-policy scholar Stephen Biddle recently observed, the war is practically an afterthought in U.S. politics. “You would need an electron microscope to detect the effect of Afghanistan on any congressional race in the last decade,” Biddle said early this year. “It’s been invisible.” But Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden all ran on getting out of the war, and now we’re out.

What the public does care about, however, is using Afghanistan as raw material for cheap patriotism and partisan attacks (some right and some wrong, but few of them in good faith) on every president since 2001. After the worst attack on U.S. soil, Americans had no real interest in adult conversation about the reality of anti-terrorist operations in so harsh an environment as Afghanistan (which might have entailed a presence there long beyond 20 years), nor did they want to think about whether “draining the swamp” and modernizing and developing Afghanistan (which would mean a lot more than a few elections) was worth the cost and effort.

Nor did Americans ever consider whether or when Afghanistan, as a source of terrorist threats to the U.S., had been effectively neutralized. Nothing is perfect, and risks are never zero. But there was no time at which we all decided that “close enough” was good enough, and that we’d rather come home than stay. Obama made something like this case during the 2011 surge, and Donald Trump tried to make a similar argument, but because Trump was too stupid or too lazy to understand anything about international affairs (or much else), he made it purely as a weaponized political charge and, as with his inane attempts to engage North Korea, in a search for a splashy and quick win.

Biden’s policy, of course, is not that different from Trump’s, despite all the partisan howling about it from Republicans. As my colleague David Frum has put it: “For good or ill, the Biden policy on Afghanistan is the same as the Trump policy, only with less lying.”

But as comforting as it would be to blame Obama and Trump, we must look inward and admit that we told our elected leaders—of both parties—that they were facing a no-win political test. If they chose to leave, they would be cowards who abandoned Afghanistan. If they chose to stay, they were warmongers intent on pursuing “forever war.” And so here we are, in the place we were destined to be: resting on 20 years of safety from another 9/11, but with Afghanistan again in the hands of the Taliban.

I don't agree with the author's premise (towards the end of the article) that Biden's exit was shameful. I do agree that it's come to such a tragic end, but that was known, and agree with the rest of the article that it was the right thing to do. 2/3 of Americans don't want troops occupying Afghanistan. We have domestic terrorists here. Let's deal w/ those & leave the rest of the world to take care of itself for once while we sort out our own problems.

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