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The laughably unjustified hubris of the foreign policy/military blob


The foreign policy and military establishment will do everything they can to blame Biden, but the bottom line remains that Afghanistan is a massive failure on their part, and Biden is being asked to believe the same lies he was told as vice president (which, unfortunately, the president believed, although to his credit he didn’t). And as with DEFICITS, this is one of those issues on which reporters are allowed to openly editorialize about, so long as they defend the blob:

The point about the Taliban advancing even during the Trump surge is particularly important. Low-engagement occupation was never a serious long-range option; either the US was going to have to escalate again or leave. And the fact that the blob was never even willing to make the case for permanent occupation but kept pretending in public that one or two more Friedman Units could do the trick (although in private the knew otherwise) creates a strong presumption in itself that “leave” is the best of the bad choices.

And the quality of the arguments being made by the Forever War crowd hasn’t improved at all:

First of all note the rank demagoguery about invoking THE TROOPS, as if anyone is blaming them as opposed to the people responsible for making the decision to continue a war although it wasn’t accomplishing anything. But what’s especially amazing is the invocation of Saigon as an argument for continuing a war we all know that the brass has long since concluded in private was unwinnable. One more Friedman Unit and South Vietnam totally could have stood on its own!

Biden has his faults but one thing he’s good at is recognizing when bullshit artists are insulting his intelligence, which makes him well-positioned to deal with this.

And while I’m sure leaving could have been done better despite the lack of support for the policy — you can always say that — let’s remember who will always bear primary responsibility:

Twenty years ago, when the twin towers and the Pentagon were still smoldering, there was a sense among America’s warrior and diplomatic class that history was starting anew for the people of Afghanistan and much of the Muslim world.

“Every nation has a choice to make,” President George W. Bush saidon the day that bombs began falling on Oct. 7, 2001. In private, senior U.S. diplomats were even more explicit. “For you and us, history starts today,” then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage told his Pakistani counterparts.

Earlier this month, as the Taliban raced across Afghanistan, retired Lt. Col. Jason Dempsey, a two-time veteran of the war, stumbled across Armitage’s words. To Dempsey, the sentiment was “the most American thing I’ve ever heard” and emblematic of the hubris and ignorance that he and so many others brought to the losing war.

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