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Fri Aug 13, 2021, 07:55 AM

 

"Not Our Tragedy": the Taliban Are Coming Back, and America Is Still Leaving

https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-bidens-washington/not-our-tragedy-the-taliban-are-coming-back-and-america-is-still-leaving

At least Joe Biden is owning it. “I do not regret my decision,” the President said this week, as provincial capital after provincial capital in Afghanistan fell to the Taliban while the Afghan government—propped up by two decades of U.S. support—looked soon to suffer its long-predicted post-American collapse. “Afghan leaders have to come together. We lost thousands—lost to death and injury—thousands of American personnel. They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation,” Biden said on Tuesday, making it as clear as he could that he would not revisit his decision to pull out. America is finally, definitively, done with the war in Afghanistan after two decades, never mind the consequences.

The words from the Biden Administration in the face of this unfolding disaster have been strikingly cold. Biden himself, normally the most empathetic of politicians, did not address the predictable and predicted human tragedy that his April decision to withdraw the roughly thirty-five hundred U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan has now unleashed. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, followed his comments by blaming the Afghan military, which the U.S. funded, trained, equipped, and built over twenty years, for its fate. “They have what they need,” she said. “What they need to determine is if they have the political will to fight back.” The State Department, for its part, put out the word that it was making a last-ditch diplomatic push to convince the Taliban that their government will be an international pariah if they take over the country by force. Does anyone think that will stop them?

snip

“The general sense seems to be, ‘Hey, look, we’ve spent a lot of blood and treasure there for twenty years, we’ve done a lot, there’s a limit to what any country can do,’ ” Richard Fontaine, a former foreign-policy adviser to the late Senator John McCain who now heads the Center for a New American Security, told me. “This is tragic, but it’s not our tragedy.” While Fontaine and I were talking on Thursday, the news came from the Associated Press that Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city and the gateway to the country’s west, had fallen to the Taliban. Hours later, Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city and the birthplace of the Taliban movement, had fallen as well. Kabul, the capital, will soon be encircled by the Taliban, who in a matter of weeks have taken control of twelve of the country’s thirty-four provincial capitals. By the time you read this, that number may well be higher. On Thursday afternoon, the State Department and Pentagon announced that the U.S. military is sending in some three thousand troops to help evacuate much of the U.S. Embassy staff from Kabul. Bitter irony of ironies—that was approximately the number of U.S. troops still deployed in Afghanistan when Biden decided to pull them out and perhaps insure the government falling to the Taliban in the first place.

None of this was a surprise, despite Biden’s embarrassing comment just last month that it was “highly unlikely” the Taliban would soon be “overrunning everything and owning the whole country.” Senior U.S. government officials knew what was coming, even if they hoped for better, or at least for more time until the Taliban onslaught—akin to the “decent interval” Richard Nixon sought between his own withdrawal from Vietnam and the inevitable victory of the North over the South. They were neither “clueless” nor “delusional,” as a person who has recently spoken with Biden’s advisers about Afghanistan put it to me. To those who were paying attention, there was a grim inevitability to the week’s events. The Pentagon has warned every one of the last four Presidents that an abrupt U.S. withdrawal would lead to some version of the Afghan military debacle we are seeing this week.

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Terrible

I hope and pray for the Afghan people. And those poor young women.

36 replies, 1228 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply "Not Our Tragedy": the Taliban Are Coming Back, and America Is Still Leaving (Original post)
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 OP
luv2fly Aug 2021 #1
Tarc Aug 2021 #2
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #3
Demsrule86 Aug 2021 #4
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #8
Demsrule86 Aug 2021 #22
SoonerPride Aug 2021 #6
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #9
SoonerPride Aug 2021 #20
Mz Pip Aug 2021 #36
70sEraVet Aug 2021 #7
JoanofArgh Aug 2021 #25
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #26
NutmegYankee Aug 2021 #27
flotsam2 Aug 2021 #33
luv2fly Aug 2021 #34
flotsam2 Aug 2021 #35
Walleye Aug 2021 #5
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #10
Walleye Aug 2021 #11
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #12
Walleye Aug 2021 #14
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #23
Drunken Irishman Aug 2021 #28
Bettie Aug 2021 #13
Walleye Aug 2021 #16
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #21
Johnny2X2X Aug 2021 #15
Elessar Zappa Aug 2021 #17
Happy Hoosier Aug 2021 #18
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #24
Drunken Irishman Aug 2021 #29
Happy Hoosier Aug 2021 #31
doc03 Aug 2021 #19
GoCubsGo Aug 2021 #30
Rustyeye77 Aug 2021 #32

Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:11 AM

1. People saying it's "not our problem" are annoying as hell

This is a shit show and regardless of the realities, it looks like we're running away with our tail between our legs. It's not good for the innocent people in Afghanistan, it's not a good look for the United States, and it baffles me that some type of peacekeeping force can't be put in place.

Yes I know that atrocities happen all over the world every day, but after 20 years of our involvement the Afghan people deserve more. The Afghan people are suffering in ways that the vast majority of us cannot even imagine.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:19 AM

2. Not our problem

We opposed a near-decade of neocon world-building fantasies for this very reason; it cannot be done.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:19 AM

3. OMG !! Thank you !!

 

We left with less than 5000 troops and the country had some stability.

The Afghan people do deserve more.

The Afghan people are suffering in ways that the vast majority of us cannot even imagine.

Thats the understatement of the year.

Great post. Thank you.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:42 AM

4. Our soldiers were still paying the ultimate price. I dont think there is anything we can do.

It is terrible no doubt. Bush should never have gone there.

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Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:51 AM

8. I think there's a lot we can do.

 

There are/will be 3000 troops on the ground.

We were so damn bent on getting out of there from April to July.

We can provide stability and stop any further atrocities.

I don’t know what the US stands for if not for this.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:20 AM

22. No...no more young men and women sacrificed for this,..20 years is enough.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:45 AM

6. You can't want it more than they do

The Afghan army has the tools and training.

They simply do not want it.

That’s on them.

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Response to SoonerPride (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:58 AM

9. The people want it.

 

Obviously something went horribly wrong with the Afghan army.

That’s on them? Who’s them ?

The poor teenage girls who will become sex slaves ?
The women who will become garbage?
The boys who will be used as sex toys?
The men who are being beheaded ?
The girls who no longer go to school?
The democracy that will no longer be in existace.

Who’s them ?

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:16 AM

20. The Afghan army. That's who

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 02:49 PM

36. 300,000 Afghan soldiers

Trained by us, equipped by us.

We’ve been there for 20 years. I just don’t know what more we can do there.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:46 AM

7. Our troops and their families deserve more

than to continue to have American lives lost, when we KNOW that it is a hopeless cause.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:53 AM

25. We're not running away with our tail between our legs.

The Afghan army is. This is 100% on them. They were trained for 20 years to deal with this and failed. It’s supremely arrogant to try to impose western values on a country that doesn’t want them.

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Response to JoanofArgh (Reply #25)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 10:33 AM

26. I respectfully disagree.

 

The people loved Western values.

They had an elected government
women were elected in the govt
Girls were in school...and loved it
Women had freedom of movement
Boys went to school instead of madrassas
People had rights


I agree the military were useless...obviously.

But dont discount the people. They WANTED western values.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #26)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 10:41 AM

27. But not enough to pick up a rifle and fight for it.

Women have hands and eyes. They can easily shoot back - Kurdish Women do so every day!

If the people wanted it, they could do something.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 01:49 PM

33. Has it occurred to you that our troops deserve better

than a "forever" war?

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Response to flotsam2 (Reply #33)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 01:55 PM

34. Of course, for more years than I care to remember

Maybe it's not our troops, maybe it's an international coalition. I don't have the answer, I just know how it feels.

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Response to luv2fly (Reply #34)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 02:44 PM

35. You're right of course, I feel it too

and my heart hates this. But my logical mind insists on it.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 08:45 AM

5. We went there so terrorists wouldn't have a safe space, now the terrorism is home grown

It seems to me that our militant movement is every bit as violent and tyrannical and immoral as the Taliban. Fortunately they don’t have a lot of power

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Response to Walleye (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:00 AM

10. Wow...just wow

 

If you believe that , then I am speechless.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:01 AM

11. Yes it is an exaggeration.How many fronts are we expected to fight on

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Response to Walleye (Reply #11)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:06 AM

12. Better question

 

What does the US against if not this?

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #12)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:09 AM

14. We can't militarily occupy other countries to make them do the right thing

For one thing it doesn’t work, and for another diplomacy is much cheaper. See how long the Taliban can actually govern this country.I wish we could solve the human rights abuses in every country in the world, but we can’t

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Response to Walleye (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:21 AM

23. Not every country ...this one.

 

And these are more than human rights abuses…these are atrocities .

Again, what does the US stand for if not against this?

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #23)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 10:58 AM

28. The atrocities were still going on with the US there.

 

Over 70,000 Afghan citizens have died as a direct result of US combat operations. Afghanistan still one of the world leaders in human trafficking. That's on top of trillions we've spent in the country over the last 20 years training and building a country that fell within weeks after we left.

If you care that much about the Afghan people, you're free to relocate there and do everything you can to change the hearts and minds of the Taliban.

But it's not the US' responsibility to spend another 20 years fighting a war that won't amount to any changes in a land that refuses to change.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:09 AM

13. So, how long do you propose we stay there?

10 more years? 50? 100?

Forever?

How many more lives should we sacrifice to this losing battle?

The Afghan military we trained just lays down their weapons or changes sides.

So, what's the answer? An eternal occupation?

I just don't see any good answers here.

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Response to Bettie (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:10 AM

16. ☝️

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Response to Bettie (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:16 AM

21. I don't know....and I understand what you are saying.

 

Obviously there has to be a rethinking of the Afghan military.

What I do know is that we told the taliban “we're leaving and go commit some atrocities”

Where the hell is NATO ?

What the hell does the US stand for if not this ?

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:09 AM

15. The plan was to deal with the Taliban

That's been the plan since before Biden took office, cede the country back to the Taliban and deal with them to keep things stable. We gave the Afghans a fighting chance, but I think it was clear that we knew they had little shot, so we're already starting to make diplomatic overtures to the Taliban.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:11 AM

17. Getting out was the correct decision.

I’m with the Biden administration 100%. We aren’t the world’s policemen. It’s up to the citizens of Afghanistan to determine their own fate.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:13 AM

18. It's not a solvable problem.

Not without our constant application of blood and treasure.

The Afghan people needed to step up and for whatever reason, not enough of them did.

At this point, we shouldn't be pouring ever more blood and treasure into that place.

We should, however, be entirely prepared to act in the event it is our strategic interests.... targeted strikes.

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Response to Happy Hoosier (Reply #18)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:46 AM

24. Please tell me.

 

What does the US stand for if not against this ?

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #24)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 11:12 AM

29. This is a bad faith argument.

 

The US clearly stood for something as they spent 20 years trying to bring a level of peace to that country. They clearly tried. That's irrefutable fact.

We've exhausted all we can on trying to solve Afghanistan. We clearly can't. Even with occupation there, Afghans were dying at both the hands of US intervention and the country's horrible dynamics.

At some point, you've got to step back and realize you've done all you can do.

We did. Full stop.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Reply #24)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 11:29 AM

31. Just because we stand against it...

...does not mean we should pour money and our young people into it.

Like I said.... it cannot be solved. The people living there are either unwilling or incapable to of maintaining the changes we can facilitate.

How much is enough? It's been 20 years. ENOUGH.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 09:15 AM

19. If that is all we accomplished after 20 years what would another 20, 30 or

40 years change?

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 11:22 AM

30. "...there was a grim inevitability to the week's events."

Yeah, no shit Many of us warned of this very situation when we went in there 20 fucking years ago. We saw what happened to the Soviets, and the Brits before them, when they went in there. I don't know why anyone thought it would be different for us.

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Response to Rustyeye77 (Original post)

Fri Aug 13, 2021, 11:39 AM

32. OK...I feel differently.

 

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