All of those of you still alive and breathing have probably seen the wild stampede and chaos attending the United States military and civilian evacuation from Afghanistan. It rivals and in some ways surpasses the humiliating evacuation from Saigon 30 April 1975.
All presidents from Bush to Biden share responsibility for the ultimate defeat in Afghanistan but only Biden and his incompetent military and intelligence officials can be held responsible for the chaotic and disgraceful evacuation. Generals Meany, Austin along with Sec State Tony Blinkin and CIA chief William Burns should resign or be fired.
This disaster includes an extreme failure of the intelligence community. Why did they not know the fragility of the Afghan regime and their armed forces? Were they depending on the assessments by the US military leadership that kept on repeating the malicious lies that the Afghan forces were improving, and with just a few more years of US occupation all would be well. At some point-and I do not know if it still exists- there was a contracted company doing” sensitivity” assessments of the Afghan people. How did we not know with the thousands of intelligence sources available with contractors, agents, diplomatic circles, military advisors, etc. not know that the Afghan army was a joke…a bad tragic joke?
This intelligence failure rivals and is worse than the well known Iranian National Intelligence Estimate that saw the Shah of Iran in no danger from Islamist revolutionaries. For twenty years our intelligence apparatus had the opportunity to mesh inside the Afghan institutions to understand and anticipate the collapse of the regime.What were they doing? Did the intel community foresee this collapse and their assessments were ignored By whom?
Did our military leadership simply go along with rosy assessments of the situation? Did they make provisions for a worst case scenario? Were their ever any exit plans- other than get on a plane in the dark of night and steal away? If so why were they not executed?
Being involved for a number or years in training troops of allied nations I know how the system works. The battalion advisor submits his report of progress of his unit, usually a bit doctored because after all he has been with the unit for a year and has grown to like many of his trainees, and in his less than impartial eye he sees “problems but improvement” and good things happening. Were he to submit a negative report, his superior is likely to respond, “so what the hell have you been doing for a year?’ So his report, already a bit more rosy than reality would suggest will be made rosier as it progresses up the chain.
So it was with the Afghan army. The old mantra is still there…. “There are challenges but constant improvement.” Some Pentagon major whiz kid probably devised a digital display that will electronically display Afghan units as combat ready, ( Green), needs some training ( yellow), and those not ready( red). He will sell it to his general and voila it will give the briefers charts to show visiting pubahs and you can be sure that this years charts will be better the last and there will be lots of “green” units. The criteria that goes into assessing the readiness will be murky at best.
Bottom line... there must be a special prosecutor appointed acceptable to both side of the aisle to investigate this situation and like the Israeli Agranat commission after the 1973 war, produce a no holds barred truthful report.
Well-written piece and gives truthful context into such a disgusting ending of this war. I’m turning 22 this year – this war has defined my generation (and many others’); it makes me – and many others – beg the question: what was the point? It’s painful.
Thanks Asa. I nor anyone i know can answer your question.i don’t quibble with the premise thar at some point we needed to leave. My point is that is that in every way possible the Biden administration totally and negligently turned our exit into a tragedy. Why? will we ever know? I listened to Biden’s speech and those who followed. None of my questions were answered . Unless there is a full investigation we will never know